(An American Tragedy)

Donald K. Muschany



     I am Don K. Muschany, nephew of Karl and Vera Muschany around whom so much of this history is centered. Four generations of Muschanys grew up in the Howell-Hamburg area. I spent my boyhood there and describe those memorable days in this book. Much of what I am as a person comes from my boyhood and my absorption of the mores, sense of values, and the habits of friendliness and love of country which living in Howell engendered.
     The book centers on my aunt and uncle because at issue was the acquiring of their land by the Federal Government, which was resolved in the U.S. Supreme Court after a four-year delay. The book could have been about any of a number of other people if the Government had chosen to sue them instead of my aunt and uncle.
     Every citizen should know what happened to these two tiny towns during World War II and the shameful way the inhabitants were treated by the Federal Government. It is in this vein that I write of the events as an American tragedy.
     The book is in four parts. The first documents the events in taking the Howell-Hamburg area to be part of the Weldon Springs Ordnance Plant during World War II, and how shabbily and inconsiderately the property owners were treated. The second part seeks to recreate the milieu and feel of the community I grew up in, and the third part recounts the continuing indignities (or rape) still being visited on the area at the time of this printing in 1978. The third is a backward look at the two communities which vanished as a contribution to the war effort, and the fourth is photographs of the community, some by family friends, and some from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat archives.
     To have permitted this record, so necessary for proper interpretation of the history of St. Charles County, to disappear into oblivion is unthinkable. This record is of value not only to the people of these vanished communities but to their descendants and to countless others throughout the country. I have endeavored to preserve for future generations a vivid account of an American tragedy.
     In presenting the various personal accounts, newspaper articles, documents, and court records which comprise my story in Parts One and Two, I have occasionally added underscoring to draw attention to points I consider of great importance.