In today’s column, we continue to remember the Dragon, American Marietta Cement Company, Northampton’s last cement plant.
The century-old plant provided gainful employment for many area residents. It ceased operations in 1983.
Did you know early cement companies packed cement in wooden barrels? A barrel is comprised of four bags and weighs 376 pounds. The barrels were made in cooper shops, but times changed as cloth bags replaced barrels. Today, cement is shipped by trucks and bulk railroad cars and in paper bags. One bag contains 94 pounds of cement, or 1 cubic foot.
Do our older readers remember Frank “Ted” Wieand? Ted was a 6-foot, 2-inch right-hand pitcher for Slatington High School, now Northern Lehigh High School. A hard thrower, he also pitched for Coplay Legion and in the Lehigh Valley Twilight League. This writer had the pleasure of seeing him pitch for Coplay Legion and Egypt in the Twilight League.
In 1951, still in his teens, he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and played for the Allentown Cardinals on the present site of the Lehigh Valley Mall. He played in the minor leagues in Winston-Salem, with the Columbus Cardinals and Houston Buffalos and in the major leagues with Cincinnati.
His father, Roland Wieand, was a substation operator at the Dragon.
In two weeks, we will board the rails at the Dragon. Join us for a ride!