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The site of the huge Portland Cement Company Plant, the products of which were used in all major construction work in the state. The skeleton of the overhead conveyor system from the Concrete Limestone Quarry, more than a mile west of the city limits, dominated the town; along an endless cable, suspended 100 feet above the highway, large buckets of limestone were sent to the plant, where they automatically emptied their contents. The three stacks of the plant rise against billowing clouds of cement dust and smoke, and in the dry season the powder-gray dust covered houses, trees, and shrubbery for miles around.

Concrete was founded by Magnus Miller, who settled here in 1890 and named the settlement Baker, for the river which enters the Skagit at this point. Miller’s home served as hotel, store, and community center, and in 1892 became the Baker post office. In 1901, the Baker River Lumber Company erected a shingle mill, company store, and other buildings, and the place began to boom. Later, when the lime quarry and cement plant were established, the town was renamed Cement City and later Concrete. Cascade Days, is a carnival celebration that began in order to publicize the projected Cascade Cross-State Highway; it continues to be held today, with the usual fun festival fare, the third weekend in August. There are a number of wood-frame and other structures that remain here and are in use.

After a series of fires during the 1920s that destroyed much of the town, local business chose to rebuild in concrete; a readily available and cheaper fire-resistant solution than brick. Some of the oldest surviving wood-frame structures include the Baker Street Grill, the Assembly of God Church, the Main Yard in the business district, and the Town Hall and Library. The first grade school, completed in 1910 and expanded in 1938, sits on a hill overlooking Main Street. It is now privately owned and is currently being remodeled. The high school (1923) is immediately to the left. The site of Concrete’s second cement plant, Superior Portland Cement Co. (1908), is now known as Silo Park; the plant closed in 1967. Remaining structures include the silos (visible from highway), office building, power generator building, and safety sculpture.


Ca. 1910 image of the Washington Portland Cement Co. plant at Concrete.

Source: Washington State Historical Society

Ca. 1926 view along the NRHP listed Henry Thompson Bridge in Concrete.

Source: Washington State Historical Society

Points of Interest Points of Interest icon

Henry Thompson Bridge

Built in 1916–1918, the bridge was named for the Skagit County Commissioner who promoted its construction. At the time, it was the longest single-span cement bridge in the world, and is currently listed on the National Historic Register. From the bridge, visitors can see the Lower Baker River Hydroelectric Power Plant and quarry cables that conveyed raw limestone to the cement plants below.