Exploring St. Joseph’s “Bad Bluff” Car Graveyard
Many people know of the car graveyard that rests on the bluff in St. Joseph, but many may still not be aware of exactly why there are hundreds of cars buried into the cliff overlooking Lake Michigan. The site Motorious recently looked at why people thought this was a good idea, and what they were trying to accomplish by dumping old cars over the bluff:
The natural conclusion is to think some people used the area to dump cars used in crimes or to commit insurance fraud. The true reason for discarding all those cars back in the day is far more interesting than that. While sometimes Lake Michigan is low, back in the late 1960s the lake was at a high point, threatening numerous homes. One man decided to take matters into his own hands, using classic cars to stop the threat. People were throwing all kinds of debris over the side of the bluff to save their homes back in the late 1960s, including home appliances, furniture, and cars.
The sad thing to take away is that people were actually instructed to throw trash over the bluff in order to protect it, which clearly didn't do any good as one person recalled. The fear was serious though, as by the mid 1940's there were over 20 homes that either needed to be moved or were lost to erosion.
A local resident at the time Carl Kuyat, was the one who suggested the cars would help break up waves eating away their town, even suggesting that he didn't know if it would even work, but was willing to do whatever it took to save the area before the government stepped in. Sadly, it didn't do much, but it's still an interesting sight if you're ever able to safely find it.
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