Love Canal was originally created to supply water to hydroelectric generators. Later the area was purchased by Hooker Electrochemical Company, which became Hooker Chemicals and Plastics Company later still. In 1942 Hooker began using Love Canal to dispose of wastes.
In 1946 the Niagara Falls Board of Education told Hooker Chemical it was interested in purchasing the Love Canal parcel of land so it could build an elementary school there. Apparently Hooker said it was not interested.
In 1952 the Board of Education once again asked Hooker if it would sell the parcel. In addition, the Board indicated that it would use condemnation proceedings against the site if Hooker refused to sell voluntarily. Interesting, eh? Now it gets even more interesting:
"Hooker documented the waste stored in the canal and sold the parcel to the city for one dollar. The deed of transfer indemnified Hooker for all potential future liabilities and claims. The transfer also called for continued testing of the chemical waste site. With the passage of time, the Board of Education built a grammar school in the vicinity of the canal and sold the unused land to a residential developer. Documentation of the chemical wastes disappeared in the transaction.
Twenty-four years after Hooker had sold the land and following heavy highway construction and an unusually wet winter, residents of the Love Canal community began to experience problems with soil upheavals, chemical burns and contaminated groundwater. Homes were invaded by chemical wastes; grass and other vegetation died. Panic swept the residential community. In 1978 , Love Canal was declared a national disaster area, the elementary school was closed, 800 families were evacuated, and Hooker Chemical Company was targeted as the villian." (p. 78-79)