Cement Plant Dust in 1963

After I ran the aerial photo of dust coming out of the Marquette Cement Plant stack in 1966, Keith Robinson commented, “My dad took photos in 1963 from the top of the 16-silo mass. You could see the dust build-up on top of the buildings and vent louvers.”

Then to go one better, he sent me these two photos. He’s right. The whole place looks like it’s dusted with flour. (Click on any photo to make it larger.)

Dust piled up like snow

The louvers and roofs of the building look like it’s been snowing. Even the piles of coal have a coating of white.

Cement plant in 2010

This photo was taken in the fall of 2010 looking pretty much in the same direction as the photo above it. The conveyor system is used to move the cement to waiting barges. Shipping by water is the most cost-efficient mode of transportation.

Thanks to Keith and his dad for the photos and information.



8 Replies to “Cement Plant Dust in 1963”

  1. Dad would be happy to see how effectively the cement dust has been removed from the operations. We didn’t mention that some time ago the old smoke stack was eliminated. You note it is nowhere to be seen in the latter day photos.
    Your comments about river transportation is true. The plant had two terminals-one in Saint Louis off south Broadway. You can still see the storage silos next to river from I-55. There is a similar terminal in Paducah. I don’t know if they are still part of the current plant operations.

  2. I worked for Schwerman Trucking in 1967. The terminal was next door to the cement plant and they had a large barrel of muratic acid and water to cut the cement dust off the trucks.
    I was living on South Ellis at the time and had to keep the same solution at home to keep the dust off my car.
    The only problem was if you left the solution on the car too long it would remove the chrome.
    My neighbor worked at the plant and drove an older car that was coated with a white crust of cement dust.
    I welcomed a North wind because it would blow the dust South, and away from home.

  3. With dad working at the plant for 40 years, he went through a little of that stuff also. He would also be pleased at how the dust has been controlled. He worked on the packing line all those years. He would fill the bags, close the tops, stack them on two wheeled dollies and rolled them to the train cars where the bags were stacked until the car was full. He loved the work and the exercise kept him healthy enough to live to 95! We always thought his lungs would be concrete, but the doctors were always commenting about how great his lungs sounded – figure that one out!!
    Although we lived on NW End Blvd 1.5 blocks north of Independence, we still had cement dust at our house.
    Thanks for the comparison pictures, Ken. The plant was a big part of my life, so I love the memories.

  4. My husband Don worked at the cement plant the summer of 1969. He has clear memories of those gravel stacks and learning that he was not cut out for nightshift work. He needs very little sleep, but it needs to be at nighttime!!!

  5. I lived on Themis Street, a block and a half from Caruthers, in those cement-dust days. The trick I used for removing the dust from the car was milder than muratic acid but worked as well and didn’t threaten paint or chrome. Acetic acid: plain old kitchen-variety vinegar. Worked like a charm.

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