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The former town of Times Beach, in Missouri, United States, about 27 km southwest of St. Louis, was founded as part of a strange marketing program. In 1925, a newspaper called the St. Louis Star-Times secured this large tract of land along the Meremec River, and started selling off plots measuring 20 foot by 100 foot in size. For just $67.50, which is about $900 today accounting for inflation, a purchaser could secure a plot along with a 6-month subscription to the newspaper. The plots sold off alright, but the town never became the booming resort the newspaper had hoped for. The Great Depression followed by gasoline rationing during World War II instead turned Times Beach into a community of lower-middle-class families. Around 2,000 people lived here until their forced evacuation in 1985.

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Photo credit: NPR.org

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