Miss McKellar Lake 1974

Being voted “Miss McKellar Lake” was a really big deal years ago.

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McKellar Lake was polluted, sorry to burst your bubbble...

In the 50s, 60s, and early 70s, all of Memphis' untreated sewage was dumped into Nonconnah Creek and emptied directly into McKellar Lake. You could smell it all the way to the Mississippi River if the wind was right. There were millions of jars and glass bottles and other garbage lining the beaches at McKellar Lake at the high water mark. I used to spend hours shooting bottles along the beaches with my Daisy BB gun. The lake was was highly polluted and very toxic. My family used to boat on that lake starting in the early 1950s onward, and as a small child I remember the stench very well. It finally ended with the completion of the Maxon Waste Treatment Plant near the Allen Steam Plant.

Bill Anderson 98 days ago

Vance Lauderdale

Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and Inside Memphis Business. Vance is the author of three books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine’s History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine’s History Expert (2011) and Vance Lauderdale’s Lost Memphis (2013). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards, the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den.

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