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ALAMO CEMENT COMPANY

ALAMO CEMENT COMPANY. The Alamo Cement Company was chartered in 1880 after Englishman William Loyd discovered what he believed to be a natural cement rock near San Antonio. With the help of chemist George H. Kalteyer, who confirmed that the rock's lime and clay could produce Portland cement, Loyd organized a group of investors to form the Alamo Portland and Roman Cement Company, the first Portland cement plant west of the Mississippi and one of the earliest in the United States.The original plant was powered by steam engine and ground ten barrels of cement daily.

The company diversified its enterprise with lime burning and the sale of building stone and entered the sidewalk construction business to help it survive. It obtained the patent rights for the process by which sidewalk blocks were cut into sections to accommodate expansion and contraction in changing temperatures from the original inventor. In 1881 the company changed its name to Alamo Cement Company. Its principal product was known by the brand name Alamo. Construction of the Texas state Capitol and the Driskill Hotel, as well as many other buildings in the state, used cement from this plant, and Kalteyer later organized the Buckeye Portland Cement Company in Ohio to produce what was known as "artificial stone" before use of the term "concrete." After Kalteyer's death in 1897, Charles Baumberger became company president and led the firm's further expansion. In 1908 the company was reorganized under the name San Antonio Portland Cement Company and, after material at its original site was exhausted, the plant was moved to a place that came to be known as Cementville. The area became Baumberger Plaza in 1944, and in 1990 the smokestack and kilns of the original plant remained on the site. The quarry became the Japanese sunken gardens at Brackenridge Park, in San Antonio.

Baumberger was succeeded by his son, C. Baumberger, Jr., who served until 1968. In 1979 Robert Koch of Vigier Cement a Swiss firm, and Sandro Buzzi of Presa, Limited, in Italy purchased the firm and changed its name back to Alamo Cement Company. In 1977 the original plant site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1980 the new owners constructed a modernized plant with updated equipment. In keeping with Charles Baumberger's will, assets of his estate, including the proceeds from the sale of the company (1979), were used to set up a trust fund to provide college scholarships to San Antonio high school students. Between 1979 and 1993 the estate generated over $20 million and sent 1,802 students to college.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Grinstead's Graphic, October 1922. Sid Levine, "One Hundred Years with Alamo Cement," Pit and Quarry, December 1982. San Antonio Express, June 20, 1973. Men of Affairs of San Antonio (San Antonio Newspaper Artists' Association, 1912).

Diana J. Kleiner

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Diana J. Kleiner, "ALAMO CEMENT COMPANY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/dlauy), accessed October 01, 2014. Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.