What do the furnaces have to do with the cement industry?!?
Many of the furnace men (and women!) played a huge role in keeping the industry of Lawrence County alive and buzzing. Some of the same materials used to make iron (limestone especially) were of exceptional quality and perfect for making quality cement. If you read about Center Furnace, you already know that Superior Portland Cement bought the furnace and surrounding property to build a massive cement factory in 1906. By that time, Ironton Portland Cement had been running for a few years (on property purchased from Hecla Furnace).
Speaking of exceptional materials, the Maxville Limestone was found by our very own Caleb Briggs. Dr. Briggs was one of the members of the Ohio Iron & Coal Company and Briggs Library’s namesake.
Source: “A Standard History of the Hanging Rock Iron Region” by Eugene Willard
Geology aside, here are some of the people involved:
Silver Gloss Gilfillan
Ironton Portland Cement later became Alpha Portland Cement. There’s S.G. Gilfillan again as one of the directors.
Here was Ironton Portland Cement shortly after it was renamed Alpha Portland. Most of this was demolished years ago with the last few pieces coming down last year….for pictures of the plant and the demolition, click HERE.
Samuel Brady Steece
S.B. Steece was a Civil War veteran (buried in Woodland Cemetery), one of the first graduates of Ironton Schools, and founder of the Ironton Portland Cement Company. He married Ella Willard (daughter of James Willard – proprietor of Buckhorn Furnace).
A 1902 letterhead showing officers of Ironton Portland Cement. S.B. Steece is the president….Henry Marting is the Vice President. [H.A. Marting owned Big Etna/Marting Iron and Steel…click HERE].
S.B. Steece’s son is Albert Campbell (AC) Steece…the secretary and treasurer listed above.
Nannie Kelly Wright
My favorite historical figure can be seen in just about everything related to Lawrence County…including the cement plants.
She subscribed $50,000 toward building Superior Cement
Source: “Ohio Law Bulletin” Volume 62, 1917.