In our years of cement research, we met Mr. Daniel Fritz when he was senior vice president for Lehigh Heidelberg, now Lehigh Hanson. He had just returned from San Ramon, Calif., where he was president of the west region. Dan managed 75 aggregate and cement facilities. A University of Massachusetts and Harvard University graduate, he earned civil engineering and business degrees.
His cement and construction journey of 40 years has taken him to Asia, Florida, South Carolina and Georgia, with leadership positions at Cimentos, N.A., Polysius, Lehigh Heidelberg and Willis & Paul Group.
He called us when he found a framed treasure of local cement history at Lehigh Heidelberg. The framed memories of employees who fought in World War I returns us to a war that, for the first time in our history, the United States would send our military to fight in Europe. The treasure was probably from the old Lehigh Portland Cement Company office in Allentown.
Mr. Fritz wanted this chapter of history preserved in the Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum, the only cement museum in the United States. The last owner of the former Universal Atlas plant in Northampton was Lehigh Portland Cement, where they produced white cement. In need of major improvements, the plant sadly closed in 1982. The plant sign is preserved in the museum.
The Lehigh plaque honors 451 employees who served in the war. Dozens of employees from the offices are listed. Many were officers in the U.S. Army.
The Ormrod plant listed 24 veterans; Fogelsville, 15; and West Coplay, three. I wonder how many of our readers know where the West Coplay plant was located.
In 1920, Lehigh Portland operated 16 plants in the United States. Today, Lehigh Hanson, successor to Lehigh Cement, has the following plants: Evansville; Nazareth; Glen Falls, N.Y.; Cementon, N.Y.; Union Bridge, Md.; Speed, Ind.; Mitchell, Ind.; Mason City, Iowa; Leeds, Ala.; Picton, Ontario, Canada; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Delta, British Columbia, Canada; Camden, N.J. (slag grinding); and Middle Branch, Ohio (grinding).
Mr. Fritz also donated a plaque listing 72 early U.S. cement plants. We thank him for sending us this chapter of local cement history to the Atlas museum. These exhibits can be viewed at the museum, located at 1401 Laubach Ave., Northampton.
Please visit and enjoy a page of our history.
More in two weeks.