Concrete has rich history to celebrate
Special to the Concrete Herald
One hundred years ago, William Howard Taft was the president of the United States, Wilbur and Orville Wright were flying demonstrations of their Model A flyer, the Ford Model T car had been introduced only a few months earlier at a price of $825, and the World's Fair Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition was under way in Seattle. It was also 100 years ago, on May 9, 1909, that the town of Concrete was officially incorporated.
Concrete was actually formed from two communities. Originally known as Minnehaha, the first community was created at the junction of the Baker and Skagit rivers, later to become the town of Baker. When the Washington Portland Cement Company located across the river, another community sprang up, which was called Cement City. The Superior Portland Cement Company built its plant in Baker.
Local clay deposits, plus a nearby limestone quarry, made these communities the perfect place to manufacture concrete. That became the basis for the local economy. So when the two communities decided to merge in 1909, residents decided to name their town “Concrete.”
Most of the buildings in the early days of Concrete were built of wood. However, after a series of fires on Main Street, the town rebuilt its downtown structures using its most plentiful resource — concrete.
Concrete was also used to construct the town's famous Henry Thompson Bridge. At one time, this was the longest single-span cement bridge in the western United States.
Concrete's resources and its local workers were also instrumental in the construction of the lower Baker River Dam, which was the tallest dam in the world when it was built in 1925.
While many smaller villages of its day have come and gone, Concrete is still standing proudly as a community. It has endured many challenges throughout its rich history, including several fires, an infamous bank robbery, and the closure some 40 years ago of the local cement operations. Even though much has changed over the past 100 years, the residents of Concrete — hard-working, dedicated, salt-of-the-earth people and their families — have remained as strong and durable as their town's namesake.
Throughout many of those years, the town's history was documented by the Concrete Herald. The recent rebirth of the town's newspaper on its 100th anniversary provides optimism that there's much in Concrete's future to once again be documented for the annals of history.
I am proud of your community and offer my congratulations during your centennial celebration. May you celebrate many more birthdays to come!
EDITOR'S NOTE: State Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, represents the 39th Legislative District, and also serves as chairman of the Washington House Republican Caucus. He can be contacted at (360) 786-7967 or from his Web site at: houserepublicans.wa.gov/Kristiansen.