While travelling north on Highway 95 from Las Vegas to Beaty, I spotted the Elizalde Cement plant from the road. We did not stop on that first passing as I was headed out to Race Track Valley, in Death Valley, CA. However, the memory of this missed destination occupied my mind for the duration of our camping trip.
A couple of quick trips across the “Interwebs” and I had misidentified the ruins I had seen as the remains of the Nevada ghost town of Carrara. Happily, I researched the “marble quarry” town of Carrara. A few months later we stopped at the location and open closer inspection, it didn’t feel “right”. Ghost Towns typically were built as tent cities and have few foundations. This site had a concrete walls, and was not laid out like a city.
Elizalde Cement Plant
Further research and I have found my error. The ruins I had found were of the Elizadle Cemet Plant. The Elizaldo Cement Plant was built in the early 1940’s by the Carrara Portland Cement Company. The nearby Carrara quarries were used to produce crushed marble, which was used in the white cements produced by the plant. Forty five men poured foundations for the plant between April 1941 and July of the same year.
The plant was named for Angel M. Elizalde, who was the President of Elizalde & Co. Ltd and a principal investor of the Cararra Portland Cement Co. Plans were already under-weigh to build a large advanced cement plant when Mr. Elizalde was elected President.
A large “fiesta” was scheduled for the opening on the plant in August, 1941. However, before a single pound of concrete is produced, a fire engulfed the site and the plant was badly burned. The fire claimed the machine shop, field office, blacksmith shop. This set back stopped construction at the site while the company searched for capital and replacement equipment.
Despite plans made for expanded production levels and reinvestment in the plant site, the start of World War 2 and increase in fuel costs doomed the plant. Today, a lot of concrete foundations lie in testimony to the unseen victims of World War 2. The plant is fenced off to curtail access, however, it has fallen prey to those with spray paint cans.
Now, I need to go back and find Carrara and its marble quarry! oh darn….