CLARKDALE - It was 50 years ago, in October 1959, when Phoenix Cement began production to supply cement to the Glen Canyon Dam project near Page.
The Salt River Materials Group in Clarkdale will hold an anniversary celebration Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Clarkdale-Jerome athletic field from 9 a.m. to noon. The public is invited.
On hand will be lots of equipment, including a 100-ton haul truck and a 23-ton loader. Guests can stand next to tires 8 feet tall and a bucket 15 feet wide. Also on hand will be displays and historical memorabilia, with photographs and news clippings.
Guests will be taken on bus tours of the Clarkdale plant. Those bus tours will leave from the school.
Refreshments will be provided, and guests will receive a commemorative gift.
Margie Beach, communications director for SRMG, said Phoenix Cement was built to supply cement to the Glen Canyon Dam project. She said the government decided to build the dam during the mid 1950s.
"The American Cement Corporation was formed by three owners of three cement plants," she said.
Those owners drilled and tested in Clarkdale and then came up with their bid. "We won that bid by one-half cent per barrel," Beach said. A barrel equaled three bags at 94 pounds each. "Now cement is measured by the ton," she said.
"The first shipment left here in mid October 1959, and it went to the project," Beach said.
By 1961, other projects in Phoenix and Northern Arizona were needing cement from Clarkdale, so the owners expanded the plant by one-third of its original capacity by adding a third kiln.
In 2002 a major modernization project was competed. "From 2000 through 2008, our owners have spent $180 million," Beach said. All of that has been put into modernization and upgrades. "They have made us one of the most modern cement plants in the world."
For information, call Margie Beach at (928) 639-8060 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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