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St. Lawrence Cement opening doors to the public on Aug. 26

August 21, 2006

St. Lawrence Cement is planning an open house for friends and neighbors beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, at its Security Road location.

Guests will have the opportunity to see the company's kiln and quarry, learn about cement production and environmental challenges, and view the company's pictorial history.

"We are extremely pleased to invite the public through our gates," said Gary Batey, plant manager. "SLC is proud of its past in Hagerstown, and we look forward to a future of continued growth and prosperity here. Constant improvement in our operations reinforces our commitment to this community and to our employees."

Updating and modernizing to maintain a competitive edge are ongoing at SLC. Visitors will see and hear about many of these innovations.

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The company is a major employer in the area, and a leading producer and supplier of products and services for the construction industry, including cement, concrete, aggregates and construction. The company operates in Canada and on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

The 110-employee plant yearly manufactures more than 600,000 tons of cement and contributes $6 million in payroll to the local economy. The plant exceeds $25 million in annual operating expenses, much of which is spent with area vendors.

The basis of St. Lawrence Cement is its limestone quarry, which began operations in 1903 in the small community known at that time as Security.

In 1908, that one-kiln plant with a 1,000 barrel-a-day capacity began production at the site. Known as the Maryland Portland Cement Co., which was started by Charles Catlett to serve the flourishing Baltimore and Washington markets, the company merged in 1909 with Berkeley Limestone Co. to become Security Cement and Lime.

Many former and current employees still remember the days when the company grounds included a store and a small community of houses known as Green Row. It was comprised of 14 or 15 double houses and two or three small bungalows. Because of its ethnic mix, the community was dubbed by residents as the League of Nations.

Old-timers also remember the mule teams once so indispensable for the heavy labor of hauling quarry stone. And they recall the dinky, a locomotive that made the rounds on the company railroad.

Through the years, other owners have included North American Cement, Marquette Cement, Gulf & Western and Lone Star Industries. In August 1985, the plant was purchased by Independent Cement Corp., a subsidiary of St. Lawrence Cement headquartered in Montreal. Its name was changed to St. Lawrence Cement in 1998.

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