Catasauqua Press

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
PHOTOS COURTESY OF LARRY OBERLYPenn Dixie Plant 4, 1926-1978 PHOTOS COURTESY OF LARRY OBERLYPenn Dixie Plant 4, 1926-1978
Whitehall Cement Company, 1950 Whitehall Cement Company, 1950

Cement industry has changed

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 by ED PANY, Curator, Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum in Columns

Recently my friend Lee Marsh gave me a 1944 survey of mineral resources in Pennsylvania. The study was compiled by F. M. Swain, assistant professor of mineral resources at The Pennsylvania State College School of Mineral Industries. In 1944, Pennsylvania was a leader in the production of Portland Cement when numerous plants dotted Northampton and Lehigh counties. The industry employed thousands and was an economic force.

Do my old readers recall when Northampton and Lehigh counties were home to 18 cement plants?

In Northampton County, there were the Lawrence Portland Cement Co. and Universal Atlas in Northampton Borough, Lehigh Portland in Bath, Sandts Eddy, Keystone in Bath, Penn Dixie 4-5-6 in Bath and Nazareth, Nazareth Portland, Hercules in Stockertown, Alpha 3 and 4 in Martins Creek, Lone Star in Nazareth and National Brodhead plants.

Over in Lehigh County, there were Whitehall, Giant with Central and Reliance plants, Coplay and Lehigh Portland, with three plants in Ormrod and Fogelsville.

Presently, only four companies with five plants continue the cement heritage in the Lehigh Valley. Because of modern technology, we are still one of the most concentrated cement-producing areas in the United States.

Whitehall today has Lafarge; Lehigh Heidelburg, with plants in Evansville, Berks County, and they also purchased the Essroc facility in Nazareth in 2016; Hercules Buzzi Unicem, Stockertown; and the Keystone plant in Bath is now owned by Mexican investors.

All our local cement plants are now owned by foreign investors. They continue producing quality cement to help build and rebuild infrastructure of America.

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In two weeks, we’ll visit Indian Trail Park.