The Doomed Legions of Ottawa. . .At the turn of the 20th Century radium became a miracle cure for almost any ailment and was advertised in several European nations. When radium was introduced into the United States it achieved a similar popularity. After World War I several companies decided to use radium to paint watch dials, a fad that resulted in the manufacture of luminous dials, and successful sales of wrist watches, pocket watches and alarm clocks. When a luminous dial processing company opened in Ottawa, Illinois, it offered great employment opportunities to many young girls who were paid very well for their work. Little did they know that the radium paint they used proved to be dangerous. Many of the girls became ill and died after using lip pointing techniques to paint the dial numerals and hands. The company denied there was such an illness as radium poisoning and did whatever it could to cover up its failure to determine what made their employees become sick and die. It took legal action and governmental intervention to end the death toll and to force the companies to take responsibility. Nearly a century later, the scar that stretched across the peaceful history of this small Illinois town continues to be exposed, as more areas of contaminated soil are being excavated. The community has come to terms with what happened and recognized those girls and their families that suffered through this dark time by erecting a statue to a radium dial girl, paying tribute to those dial painters and their work with radium.