Alpha Portland Cement Company - Abandoned by Sherman Cahal

Alpha Portland Cement Company

Alpha Portland Cement Company is a former cement manufacturing plant in Ironton, Ohio. Abandoned for decades, the complex was demolished in 2010.

The Ironton Portland Cement Company was founded in the late 1800’s and later acquired by the Ironton Cement Company, with limestone quarried from open pits.In 1910, the company discovered a 100-foot thick vein of limestone 575 feet under the plant property while drilling for natural gas and an underground mine was started.8 Ironton Cement Company was purchased by the Alpha Portland Cement Company in 1920.

In May of 1924, two concrete stock houses were constructed by the Macdonald Engineering Company. The structures were built with a moveable form so that the concrete could be poured continuously. An average of eight feet per day in height was constructed. The stockhouses, consisting of eight bins 33-feet wide by 80-feet high, had a storage capacity of 170,000 barrels of cement.

The finished cement at the storage plants was carried by screw conveyors and bucket elevators from the finish mill to the stockhouse for storing. When it was ready to ship to customers, the cement was drawn from the bottom of the silos into screw conveyors, carrying the cement to bucket elevators which elevated the cement to screens above the packing bins. Each packing bin held approximately 350 barrels of cement. The screens contained perforated housings to catch spray material or heavy lumps of cement from going to the packers. From there, the fine cement was carried via belt conveyors to hand trucks for busing into waiting railroad cars.

The last tax appraisal of Alpha Portland Cement was completed in 1968. The factory closed on August 20, 1970 due to its negative profitability, leaving 175 employees out of work; it’s most profitable years were in the mid-1950’s. The aging facility was also not competitive with more modern and nimble facilities.

The cement plant was also not compliant with newly instituted environmental regulations that curtailed particulate pollution. Alpha Portland was a major contributor to pollution in the region and the cost to modernize the factory and install pollution control devices was prohibitively expensive.

Post-closure, the cement company continued to own the property and pay taxes for ten years, which amounted to $57,000 annually. The mines beneath the plant, some of which went down as far as 571 feet, became flooded as the water pumps were disabled and later removed. By the late 1990’s, the abandoned site drew increased scrutiny from the county.

In 2003, a small shed was constructed on-site to shred metal objects for scrap but it was not until 2010 that the Alpha Portland Cement plant was demolished.



  1. ive been there actually i live about 10 mins from it its really creepy at night i think we should get some type of Taps, or Ghost team out here and look at it!!!!!! it really creepy inside of it

  2. Would you happen to know the owners of this company?

    best regards,


  3. I lived in Ironton during the 50's through the mid 60's. You can't believe the amount of junk that was in the air because of this plant. I remember when the first pollution control came in. The company could only release the particles one day a week – so instead of sending stuff every day, it all came blowing out on, I think, it was Saturday night.

    To give you an idea of how the particulate pollution was. A friend was driving over the Ashland bridge while they were painting it. Some paint hit the car but because there was so much dust on the car, it never soaked through! This was a car owned by an individual who washed his car every week!

  4. Just came across this site and this Intron info. Very interesting, but not totally accurate.
    I was involved in an investigation of this plant and mine to see if the mine could be used for the Stratigic Oil Reserve Program. This was in the mid 70's. We reopened the mine shafts, set up a large crane for a mine hoist, and traveled into the mine to do a detailed geologic survey. I believe we spent about a month or more exploring the mine. The mine was not flooded, although one section which is at a lower elevation had filled to a depth of around 20' with water. This was only a very small portion of the entire mine workings. The rest of the mine was dry, and in good shape. All the mining equipment was left underground when the operation closed, and it was all still setting there, waiting for operators, if they ever came back to work.
    A former mine supervisor named Charles Turvey, went underground with us every day as a guide and helped us interpret the mine maps we had. He was also sort of a caretaker for the site for Alpha Portland, who still owned the property at that time.

  5. I worked at the Alpha Portland Cement Plant At Ironton Oh. From 1965 Till It,s closure in 1970 Most of the time in the mines. I worked under Cliff Butler and
    Charles (Boo) Turvey And I must Say It was the best place I ever worked. We had the best Contract of any of the plants in the aria. And all the bosses were our neighbors Safety in the mines was foremost I was a roof bolter with Bill Boyd. and made top wages I think $3.65 per hr. John Davis was the plant manager then.
    The plant on the top side was Old ,Most all parts had to be made in the machine shop Run by Andy Shope and I,m sure it was expensive ,and time consuming.
    But you always wanted to go to work there you just couldn,t wait to get there . And we made a perfect salable product You can still see it in the Greenup Dam.
    I,m sure a lot of things contributed to its closing..But REMEMBER there weren,t any houses in that part of town at the time the plant was built so dust was not a

    • Do you know if you ever worked with a Charles E. Cornell at the Alpha Portland Co.? He is my husbands dad that I have been trying to find for years.

  6. I drove thru ironton this past summer-2013-visiting where my mom grew up. There were workers in the act of tearing down what was left of the old plant at the time. A waitress in a local restaurant told us that the word was that the entire plant was being demolished. the people doing the work didn’t look to be very well equipped but were slowly breaking up the silos and the rest of the buildings. most of it was already gone.

  7. I live very close to this property. Big hazard to ornre high schoolers. I’m guilty myself! Lol
    It’s gone. Flattened. I was kinda sad to see it go 🙁
    History lost*

  8. Hey Sherman!

    Do you know anything about who currently owns the property where the cement plant formerly stood? I believe there are lots for sale now that are on that site. I was looking at property over there and am glad I stumbled across your website. I wonder if the mines or anything left behind from the cement factory would cause issues with building on the land there. They are selling lots in larger parcels of 5-20 acres, I think. Let me know if you have any insight. Hope you are doing well! 🙂

  9. My dad who passed away May 8th 2015, William (BILL) E. Ellis was the plant manager at ALPHA PORTLAND, as a kid it was exciting to walk around the facility while in operation and see the workings of how they made cement. I used to fish in the quarries and there were some whopper bass and crappie. My dad worked through out the change of hands, from Ideal to Holman, to the end when they were just loading train cars and trucks. He was hired straight out of college as plant manager in the mid 50’s and stayed there up until the mid nineties. I sure miss my dad.

    • I am talking about the plant ALPHA had in Powderly Alabama.

  10. To whoever said this place has been torn down it hasn’t. Most of it is still up I go all the time it’s very fascinating to me and my friends and a great place to take awesome pictures !!!

  11. I haven’t lived in Ironton for 34 years. ( Austin, TX. now) I woke up the other night and had had dreamed about this plant, remembered the name and everything, weird huh? I remember Cement Solvay and not Alpha though. I googled it and found this site. Very cool. The Ironton that I remember as a small boy is very different than now. Lots of great memories of places gone for a long time. Can’t go back, I guess. Thanks for the preservation and great pics!

  12. I got a bag from ALPHA PORTLAND CEMENT CO. 94 LBS.NET 7 B. Is it worth keeping?

  13. A few friends and i just recently went over there to check it out and we got some weird things on footage/recording it definitely something we want to do further research and investigations

  14. my dad Raymond Harbolt worked at the plant from about 1946 to when it closed he worked in the mine fro a number of years I remember dad going in the the machine shop and matinance room to use the welders and saws on his day off I went with him many times I remember what they call the bath house cicil lees who left a comment went to school with me we were friends



Submit a comment