Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Why name a town Concrete? That was my first thought when we moved the motor home here. But, I guess if you have two massive cement plants, one on each side of the highway, concrete defines your life.
As towns go, it isn't very big or important-its a "has been." The cement plants are long gone. Even so, I'm positive the locals would take umbrage with that statement. Home is where the heart is, and the residents are close and communal. The police station sports a mural with this positive statement: Center Of The Known Universe. Concrete could probably qualify for having the largest town sign in the U.S.?

Jims friend's, Paul and Barbara Parthlow, were once managers of the Leisure Time Resort at Grandy Creek where we are parked. Paul sponsored Jim into the Eagles, so his home airie is Concrete, which was organized and chartered in 1906. He never fails to stop in and have a beer when in the area. The Eagles building is one of the historic buildings in Concrete. Nine other historic buildings are still in use about town.

The Henry Thompson Bridge, when built in 1916, was the longest single span concrete bridge in the world. It was the only bridge across the Skagit River until Highway 20 was rerouted around Concrete. Its graceful arch still stands as a unique jewel today.

The lower Baker dam at 293 feet was at one time the highest hydroelectric dam in the world. It backs up Lake Shannon and is still an imposing structure, long past any records for size.

The northern part of town was once known as Minnehaha, later changed to Baker in 1878. In 1905, a settlement across the Baker River cropped up around the "new" Washington Portland Cement Company and was named "Cement City". After the Superior Portland Cement Company plant was built in Baker in 1908, it was decided to merge the two towns. Inhabitants of the new community settled on the name "Concrete" in 1909, and the town now has an uptown (North) and a downtown (South). Population here is 795 people.

People here like their little town of Concrete even if business isn't exactly booming. The guy who owns the River View Trading Post, doesn't exactly have a river view, but he dominates a major corner at a major intersection in town. There is something to be said for that. He had a great saw blade I wanted to buy, but I couldn't figure out how to get it home.

1 comment:

Sassy said...

I love that guy but wish I could find his phone number. He is my brother Harold Bellisle or Rhino as he likes to be called.