Work on the model began in 1943 by Italian and German prisoners of war, who had been shipped over from North Africa. Though projected to be completed by 1948, the model took much longer than expected to build. It wasn't truly finished until 1966, a full 23 years after it was started. Six years later, it was flooded for the last time.
By the early 1970s, the push toward computer modeling had begun, and by the 1980s, the model had become a burden for the Army Corps. In 1990, the site was transferred to the city of Jackson but was too expensive for it to maintain, so the city simply abandoned it.
The river basin now sits surrounded and hidden by overgrown woods in Buddy Butts Park. It is open to the public to visit, but the tiny concrete banks of the rivers are now overgrown with comparatively giant foliage.