Mr. Stuart Guinther was born in Boston, moving to Kutztown in his youth and graduating from Kutztown High School in 1980.
He recalled, “I enjoyed all the math courses; they were taught by Mr. Gougler, a real perfectionist.”
Stuart pursued his education at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind., earning a degree in chemistry.
Mr. Guinther’s remarkable cement odyssey started as a chemist at Lone Star in Nazareth. He then moved to Michigan and was hired as a process engineer at St. Mary’s Peerless Cement Company.
In this fifth column, I am continuing my visit to the Bath Museum, recalling 200 years of local history.
In our last column, we remember when the cement industry had a great impact on the Lehigh Valley. In 1926, the Penn Allen, Pennsylvania Cement merged with a Tennessee company and changed their name to Penn Dixie Cement. They would now have three plants in the area, Nos. 4, 5 and 6.
In this fourth column, I continue to explore the history of Bath. The historical roots of the borough go back to 1737.
In 1861, the Civil War divided the country. The North responded to President Lincoln’s call and rallied to preserve the union. Fifty-six men from Bath served in the Grand Army of the Republic.
They served in the Pennsylvania 153 Regiment. The men saw action at the Battle of Chancellorsville and the monumental Battle of Gettysburg.
Today, I continue my visit to the new Bath Museum, 121 S. Walnut St., and recall the history of a neighboring community, whose roots go back to 1737.
As I wrote in the last column, many of the first settlers were of Scotch-Irish heritage. With the end of the Revolutionary War, many of the early Penn land deeds were in dispute, resulting in many of the early settlers moving to western Pennsylvania.
Mr. Barry Schlosser was raised in Stiles, graduating from Whitehall High School in 1993. He started his cement career at Lafarge in 2000, working on the tire dock. On each shift, a tractor-trailer load of tires is unloaded and used to fuel the plant kilns, thus removing them from the environment.
Barry was promoted to work as a packer in the packhouse.
He recalls, “I worked with Jerome Nederostek and Robert Taniser, who helped me learn the job.”
In 2008, he became the packhouse supervisor.
Nazareth has been the home to many local cement companies, which provided employment for numerous area residents. A neighbor to the old Nazareth and Lone Star cement companies was the Nazareth Fairgrounds, site of the former Nazareth Speedway.
The old track was purchased by Mr. David Jaindl, who intends to develop the site. This writer and many Lehigh Valley race fans attended many of the races. Years ago, I researched the site and actually purchased tickets to view the races. Guess it’s hard for some of my readers to believe!
Old-timers still recall when cement dust was common in the “cement belt.” I wrote about this issue 18 years ago.
In 1999, two Northampton residents “remembered” dust in the Northampton, Coplay, Cementon and Egypt areas with letters to the editor.
They recalled when dust from the plants had to be swept from the sidewalks on a daily basis — sometimes, twice a day. The old Atlas plant’s 74 kilns had a squeaking sound, putting the residents of 10th, 11th and 12th streets in Northampton to sleep at night.
Mr. Bruce Keim was raised in Bethlehem, graduating in 1972 from Liberty High School, where he was a member of the track and field team. One of his favorite teachers was Mr. George Pavlinski, who taught math and motivated the students.
Upon graduating, he enrolled at Virginia Tech and graduated with a degree in civil engineering. During the summer, he was employed at Bethlehem Steel, where his father and relatives were employed.
Today, I am reading a new publication of the Northampton Press — the year, 1999.
Some things change; some do not. The Coplay-Northampton Bridge was a feature story. After years of pleading by motorists and residents, the bridge was closed to traffic in order to have the bridge milled and the deck resurfaced with a fresh coat of blacktop. It was to be closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic for four to six weeks. The bridge has detour signs on both sides in Northampton and Coplay.
In this concluding railroad history column, my friend Mike Bednar, railroad historian and Darktown resident, shares his memories in a special Konkrete Kid Town feature, which appeared in The Railroad Press in 2011.
Northampton had all the elements for a cement company to thrive: raw materials, a railroad system and dedicated workers. The world’s largest cement complex was constructed in 1895.
Mike writes, “The small town of Northampton got to become the global capital of cement production.”