Alpha Portland Cement Company

Alpha Portland Cement Company

Alpha Portland Cement Company is a former cement manufacturing plant in Ironton, Ohio and was demolished circa 2010.






The Ironton Portland Cement Company was founded in the late 1800s and later acquired by the Ironton Cement Company. 8 It featured large open pits where limestone was quarried. In 1910, a 100-foot thick vein of limestone 575 feet under the plant was discovered while drilling for natural gas and an underground mine was begun.

Ironton Cement was purchased by the Alpha Portland Cement Company in 1920. 8

Two concrete stockhouses were constructed by the Macdonald Engineering Company in May 1924. Each stockhouse had eight bins 33-feet wide by 80-feet high with a storage capacity of 170,000 barrels of cement.

After being quarried and processed, the cement from the finishing mill was ferried by screw conveyors and bucket elevators to the stockhouse for storage. When it was ready to ship to customers, the cement was drawn from the bottom of the silos into conveyors, where it was elevated via buckets to varying screens above the packing bins. The filters contained perforated housings to catch spray material or heavy lumps of cement. Each packing bin held 350 barrels of fine cement. The material was then carried via belt conveyors to hand trucks for busing into railroad cars.

Owing to a lack of profitability and an outdated facility that could not meet environmental regulations, Alpha Portland closed the Ironton facility on August 20, 1970, leaving 175 out of work. The company maintained the facility until circa 1980 when the water pumps were disabled. In 2010, work began to demolish the long-abandoned cement plant.

Map

The map of the Alpha Portland Cement Company is bordered by Hog Run Road (CR 181) to the east and Lorain Street to the south. The map is oriented with the top being north. An abandoned railroad served the property but was taken out of service in the early-1980’s.

Alpha Portland Cement Company
  • Structure #1 is immediately above the packhouse and is a group of three interconnecting silos. Structure #2 is another group of three interconnecting silos. Strucure #3 is the last of the three interconnecting silos.
  • Structure #4 is the Packhouse, and the adjacent Structure #5 is the railcar loader. Structure #8 is immediately jadacent to the railcar loader and acts as a railcar shed.
  • Structure #9 is the safety memorial that is similar to the Mesquite Cement Company in Superior, Ohio. Structure #10 are ruins of buildings that once existed, and the grayed boxes indicate destroyed buildings.
  • Structure #6 is a circular building that may have been a pump house. It is located on the banks of Hog Run. Area #7 is a deserted property that once housed several buildings; today it houses a small green shed that scraps metal for a small business located on the east side of Hog Run Road.

Historic






Further Reading


Sources

  1. Lindquist, A. J. “Alpha Portland Cement Co. Completes Two Stockhouses.” Concrete May 1924.
  2. Bauer, David C. L. “Abandoned site draws increased wrath of county.” Ironton Tribune.
  3. “It was the year of 1985.” N.p.: Alpha Portland Cement Company, 1970.
  4. “Alpha Portland Cement is Closing.” Ironton Tribune 20 Aug. 1970.
  5. “Alpha’s Closing County’s Loss.” Ironton Tribune 25 Aug. 1970.
  6. Ferguson, Leigh. “Alpha Closing Threat to Economy.” Ironton Tribune 24 Aug. 1969.
  7. Caldwell, Michael. “Old cement factory spooky link to Ironton’s past.” Ironton Tribune 5 Jan. 2004.
  8. “Limestone Mine in 1910.” Story of the Glorious Past, One Hundred Years. N.p.: n.p., 1949. 27.

22 Comments

  1. I ONCE HAD MY VOLKSWAGEN STOLEN WHILE I WAS VISITING A LOCAL WELL-KNOWN ‘BAR’ TYPE ESTABLISHMENT LOCATED ON RT #93 & ROAD THAT TURNS OFF TO GO TO LAKE VESUVIUS (SP). THIEVES HOT-WIRED THE VEHICLE IN MAKING THEIR GETAWAY. THE POLICE FOUND THE BURNED OUT HULK THE NEXT MORNING ON THE PROPERTY. THIS WAS 1973-4, I THINK!

    I’VE HAD EIGHT ‘BUGS’ THROUGH THE YEARS AND—THAT ONE WAS.MY FAVORITE!!

  2. 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

    1. i lived 400 yards from the plant for the first 18 years of my life. My daughters job was transferred to Pennsylvania, Ironton Pennsylvania and she lives about 500 yards from an Alpha Portland cement plant just like this one.

  3. 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

  4. 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!

    1. Mark, It was actually Semet Solvay and the produced Coke from coal. That was located on 3rd St. past Lorain St. Alpha Portland was the name since 1920. Agree that Ironton has long gone but what a wonderful place to grow up in the 60’s/ 70’s

  5. 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 !!!

  6. 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.

  7. 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! 🙂

  8. 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*

  9. 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.

  10. 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
    problem

    1. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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

Leave your comment!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.