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Whatever happened to the Ideal Cement plant and why did it close?

Cece Nunn
Ideal Cement

Structures from the Ideal Cement plant, which ceased operations in 1982, sit on land currently owned by Titan America LLC along the banks of the Northeast Cape Fear River. (StarNews file photo)

The Ideal Cement plant closed in November 1982, laying off 115 of its 170 workers, according to StarNews articles.

The company blamed the slumping construction industry for a decline in business.

The 1,868-acre Castle Hayne site where Titan America has proposed to build a new cement plant includes the old Ideal Cement plant, which in the past has been used by the film industry to shoot several movies.

View Ideal Cement plant, Castle Hayne, NC in a larger map

User-contributed question by:
Rodney Dowless

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10 Responses to “ Whatever happened to the Ideal Cement plant and why did it close?”

  1. On May 22, 2011 at 10:27 am Larry Bryant wrote:

    When the Ideal Cement Plant Closed, Dixie Cement opened up operations in the back building near the river.Now known as Cemex Inc. All the comments being made about Titan Cement coming to town and destroying the environment,but not once have I heard any comments on the cement plant that has been in operations for approximately 20 years along the banks of the Northeast Cape Fear River and they also have a plant off of Hwy 421 by the truck stop which is on the river visible from the bridge.They just recently idled that plant about three years ago. It is located less than a couple miles from downtown Wilmington. All the pictures showing the proposed Titan Cement Plant location,remember the plant you see in the back of the picture has been up and running long before Titan thought about coming to town.

  2. On May 9, 2012 at 1:54 am Leslie Lemer wrote:

    Has anyone tracked the long term employees from Ideal Cement, if passed away, from what? My concern is not only for the environment, Castle Hayne, but for the humans that are going to be employed there. What are the health risks and what has happened to the employees from 1963 to 1981? Do and did the employees know what the health risks were working at Ideal Cement? Were the employees made of aware of how dangerous the working conditions were at Ideal Cement? If passed away, what were their cause of death, and were the causes of death caused or contributed from the working conditions at Ideal Cement?

    Thank you

    Leslie Lemer

  3. On May 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm Laura wrote:

    My grandfather worked at the plant in Redwood City. He passed away of a brain aneurysm.

  4. On January 22, 2013 at 9:54 pm Andrew Montoya wrote:

    I worked at one of ideals former plants that’s still in operation. In my area it was and still is considered a life long job, with several generations having worked and retired from the plant. From my observations, retirees look to be healthier then the general population probably from having done meaningful work all of there lives. They also seem to be in good shape financially due to the good pay and benefits offered.

  5. On March 26, 2014 at 3:35 pm John wrote:

    If you really dig into this story I think you’ll find that Ideal Basic Industries(Ideal Cement) was driven into the ground by a certain extremely wealthy real estate investor in Denver who was a majority stockholder in Ideal, who made sure he would be able buy up all of the stock for practically nothing and then sell it to Holcim at an obscene profit. He also did the same thing with US West, the midwest AT&T operating company formerly known as Northwestern Bell, renaming it Quest.

  6. On October 30, 2014 at 2:24 pm Rockie Sims wrote:

    I worked for Ideal Cement and now I am retiring after 40 year making cement.I have no sickness related to cement.I have watched many older retires leave the cement industry after many more years of service than me and their are more still working with more years than iI have.I am with Holcim cement now,most all of old retires i know or have known lived good long lives without any problems from cement.I hope it stays that way.

  7. On February 28, 2015 at 7:31 pm Chris Nelson wrote:

    Old thread but I wanted to comment. My dad retired from Ideal Cement after working at two plants, being at Castle Hayne from when it was built until the plant closed. He will be 89 this year and in really good health for his age. No respiratory issues or cancer-related issues. He stated to me that they always under strict guidelines regarding the dust filtration systems that were used. He did not know of any of his former co-workers that have passed away fro occupational-related illness. It would be an interesting study, I’d be curious myself.

  8. On May 16, 2015 at 5:55 pm Vera Walker wrote:

    Dirk Braak worked at Ideal Cement 1960s and died April 8, 2015 of mesothelioma. There may be others that were also unlucky. If you worked with him there, please post any info on his Facebook page – your name and email address would be helpful to his family.

  9. On February 23, 2016 at 12:08 am Ed Weaver wrote:

    I worked at the Castle Haynes plant when it was being built in 1963 as a Field Represent on the clinker cooler. Having worked @ Bethlehem Steel for 17 years then retiring from a cement plant after 21 years service I never heard of anyone dying of a cement plant related illness. Except having a hearing problem. We were cautioned to wear hearing protection in most cases. Sorry to hear Ideal is close.

  10. On December 7, 2016 at 2:52 pm Marcy Boyington wrote:

    Hi. Just wanted to say that my father worked for Ideal for 30 years, was a smoker and died of lung cancer when he was 79. He started out at the plant in Hanover, MT in the 40s, went to college in Boston, came back to Trident, MT; then on to Portland, CO; then to Spokane, WA; then to Redwood City, CA, and back to Trident, MT. I am so sad about the decline of the company, but do have some great memories.

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