Thursday, November 22, 2012

Hudson in 1905: Part 87

The following is an excerpt from the booklet, Illustrated Hudson, N.Y., published in 1905.

HUDSON PORTLAND CEMENT COMPANY--Manufacturers of Cement and Cement Products, Consisting of Cornices, Window Caps, Capitols, and Architectural Ornamentations of all Kinds--No industry in modern times has ever created a greater demand for its products than that of the HUDSON PORTLAND CEMENT COMPANY, which is not only the largest industry in the city but one of the largest of its kind in the world, with a plant valued at over a million dollars, it being capitalized at $6,000,000, of which $3,000,000 is preferred and $3,000,000 common stock. The buildings of this vast industry, of which there are twelve, cover an area of over three acres. It is entirely equipped with all the most modern ponderous machines connected with the business. The entire plant is operated by electricity, and is almost automatic in its operation. Each machine is controlled by an individual motor, so in case of any breakdown it does not retard the progress of the entire plant. The company operates its own railroad to the its quarries, which are located one and a half miles from the site of the mill. The mill is so located that it has shipping facilities either by rail or water to any point in the United States or the world in general, being at tidewater on the Hudson River and along the tracks of the main lines of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad and a branch line of the Boston and Albany. In their product this company uses a mixture of shale rock with their lime rock that is superior to any used for the manufacture of cement in this country, and is consistent in its uniformity, strength, and color. They own over 1,700 acres of land, most of which is productive of the ingredients used in the manufacture of cement. In the day and night shifts combined there are employed 300 men, 80 0f which are in the quarries and 20 in the shale beds. The output of the plant is 2,000 barrels of cement a day.

The Hudson Portland Cement Company has been organized for four years, and has been in active operation for the past two years, and in this short space of time the business of the firm has grown to such proportions that their present facilities are overtaxed to meet the demands made upon them for the project, which has proven its superiority in every test to which it has been applied. The accumulation of orders has been so rapid as to render their present facilities inadequate to supply the demands made upon them, and which has necessitated the contemplation of erecting a still larger plant than that now in operation. The gentlemen who form this company are too well known in the financial world to require any exhaustive review here other than that they are men who have won prominence through their exceptionable executive ability. Mr. L. C. Smith, its president, was formerly president of the Smith Premier Typewriter Company, and is now president of the L. C. Smith & Bros. Typewriter Company, president of the National Bank of Syracuse, the United States Transportation Company, and treasurer of the Globe Navigation Company. Mr. F. B. Scott, its vice-president, it also president of the Syracuse Supply Company, and vice-president of the Syracuse Arms Company, Star Lake Land Company, and the Palisades Land Company. Mr. M. Lyman Smith, secretary and treasurer, is also identified with his father in many large enterprises. Mr. E. Bravender, superintendent and general manger, is a pioneer in the manufacture of Portland Cement, and has been connected with many of the largest plants of this kind in the United States and Canada, which he has been instrumental in constructing, having not only the knowledge which comes with experience but the faculty which makes a successful manager and inventor of new methods.

A Group of Views of the Cement Plant and Quarries from Illustrated Hudson [upper left] A View of the Plant from the North; [upper right] The Shale Beds; [lower left] The Rock Quarry; [lower right] A View of the Plant from the South

Hudson Portland Cement Company's Plant--View from the River


  1. Happy Thanksgiving Gossips!
    Thanks for giving us all of your wonderful storytelling,knowledge and love of history and architecture,your spot on reporting and so much of your time and hard work.
    And thank you for creating this most needed forum for our little City ,to communicate and share stories ,thoughts, news and ideas.

  2. Amazing photos!

    The gabled house in top left photo is listed as the "Office and Laboratory" on the 1903 Sanborn map.

    The vantage of the same photo is looking down the tracks from Broad Street. You can see the elevated trestle which is still there today, the "trestle to nowhere."

    In Peter Stott's "Looking for Work," there's a 1910 photo of the same trestle from midway down the causeway. It shows a mid-sized building that would be just out of shot in the above photo.

    The trestle building does not show up on any Sanborn map from any year, and that's because the maps covered less and less the further south you went into the increasingly filled-in "bay."

    The poor mapping effort in South Bay is the main reason the LWRP - and now the BOA program which is based on the LWRP, and which we created as a community - supposes there was no industrial footprint down there.

    I would have thought that "out of sight out of mind" is antithetical to a proper historical perspective.

    1. Proper historical perspective? If that was a consideration for the city government, then why was a proposed ice cream parlor in the old Washington Hose building blocked even though the 1851 city directory lists one in the same area?

  3. Weren't the Sanborn maps created foremost for fire insurance purposes? Would mean less to cover non-property areas.

    1. Great thought Chad. Why would the maps cover areas that didn't add anything to the assessments?

      In relation to the Sanborn maps of Hudson, this quotation from Wikipedia recapitulates what we're seeing today in the LWRP and BOA programs:

      "Originally created solely for insurance assessment purposes, it was said that at one time, insurance companies and their agents, 'relied upon them with almost blind faith'."

      In some cases though, our BOA (brownfields) program didn't rely on those maps enough. That's where we could have used some extra eyes on what the BOA Steering Committee up to, if the public had only been told that there was such a Steering Committee. (Nothing to see here folks - move along!)

      By the way, does anyone know what happened to the 1928 Sanborn map in our history room? It has disappeared since I photographed portions of it in 2010.