Past Times: 1930s ad for Alamo Cement shows views of ex-quarry

One of this week’s 150th anniversary stories was how San Antonio has several quarries that have been re-used for civic and commercial projects ranging from the Alamo Quarry Market to the Zoo, reports MySA, a San Antonia, Texas website.

“While trying to date a photo in our print files.., I came across this advertisement for the San Antonio Portland Cement Co in the January 29, 1930, edition of the Express.”

As the text states, “[t]he accompanying illustrations show the present-day appearance of the site upon which, on January 15th, 1880, this company started business.It was herethe English sportsman, William Lloyd, discovered a deposit ideally proportioned in its clay and limestone constituents, to make perfect cement. It was here that we operated from 1880 to 1908.”

The “here” to which they refer is the current site of the Sunken Garden, which would open later that year.

The illustrations are, from top right:

  • 1.”the old kilnshowing a portion of the Alpine Drive that circles the Lily Pond and Japanese Garden”
  • 2. “Sunken Garden and Japanese Lily Pond at Brackenridge Park”
  • 3. “Another view of our old quarry
  • 4. “one section of the old quarry whichnowhouses the cages of [the city’s] zoological exhibit.”

The Handbook of Texas entry on Alamo Cement Company says cement from the plant was used in the construction of the state Capitol, among many others.

According to a 2011 Paula Allen column, Cementville – referenced in the ad – opened in 1908 at the site of what is now the Alamo Quarry Market, and was where the company was then located. Given the date, I assume they moved from the Sunken Gardens site to there.

In 1979, the company was bought by European firms Vigier Cement and Presa, Ltd., who changed the name back to Alamo Cement Company, which had been its name from 1881-1908.
The plant moved out to Green Mountain Road and Loop 1604, where it still exists, in 1986. Its current owner is the Italian firm Buzzi Unicem.


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