By Chet Greason, Staff reporter
The St. Marys Museum will open its special exhibit celebrating the St. Marys Cement Company’s 100th year anniversary on June 1.
“We had an opportunity to go to the original office building...(and) go through all the original meeting minutes and ledgers from 1909 onwards,” says curator and archives assistant Amy Cubberley. “Some of the things we’ve received will be on display, including original meeting books, a giant model of the plant, as well as quite a few of the Cement Company artifacts we already have in the collection.”
Cubberley says the preparation for the exhibit has been a learning experience for her. “What surprised me was how big the company has grown. The St. Marys name is everywhere in terms of ready-mix trucks.” She adds that St. Marys was also the first to produce cement using what’s called “wet process” technology, which became an industry standard. “They were pioneers,” says Cubberley.
Pictures will be a huge aspect of the new exhibit as well. “We had a lot of pictures to choose from — from inside the quarries, to old equipment,” says Cubberley. One such photo can be seen as part of Mary Smith’s Historic St. Marys column.
“(St. Marys Cement) has been a huge employer for 100 years,” says Cubberley. “During times when St. Marys had a smaller workforce, they had a lot to do with immigration. A lot of people moved here to work there.”
Cubberley notes the company’s community involvement as well, with such initiatives as company bands, sponsored hockey teams, and its substantial financial commitment to the Pyramid Recreation Centre.
“It’s huge. It takes up a huge portion of St. Marys; but so many people don’t know what it looks like inside!” says Cubberley.
Foundation in Stone: 100 Years of St. Marys Cement opens on the evening of Friday, June 1 with an open house from 7-9 p.m. All are welcome and refreshments will be served. The special exhibit will run until Thanksgiving.