LAWRENCE CEMENT WORKS AND SUCCESSOR FIRMS
The Lawrence works were located in the southeast quadrant of the district, both north and south of Route 213. In 1828, Watson E. Lawrence built his first commercial cement works approximately 800 feet east of the Snyder canal slip (Sylvester). These works, known as the Lawrence Cement Works, are no longer extant. By 1830, Lawrence moved his cement works to land that he leased from Jacob L. Snyder (in the southeast corner of the district). By 1858, Lawrence re-organized as the Lawrenceville Manufacturing Company. In 1861 this firm failed, Lawrence was ousted from control, and the Lawrenceville Cement Company was organized. Under this name, the site was operated first by William N. Beach (under whose superintendent, John Spaulding, the works were expanded) and then by W.T. Van Tassell, the last company to use the site south of Route 213 for active cement production. Around the turn of the century, the Lawrenceville plant (and everything south of the road) passed into the hands of the Consolidated Rosendale Cement Company (who apparently did not operate it) and by the c1920s, the acreage south of the road had been acquired by the local utility company (predecessor to Central Hudson, which still owns land in this area).
Meanwhile, much of the Lawrenceville company’s property north of the road was eventually acquired by A.J. Snyder II (after 1911). The Lawrence works include a mine, kilns, a tenement house and the remains of a number of industrial features both north and south of Route 213 (see Ruin Inventory).
Tenement House – [Map 1, 13] –
This two-story five-bay frame house is located near the Lawrence cement works site in the southeast corner of the district. The date and builder of this house are unknown; however, the building appears in illustrations published in 1875 and 1880 (Beer’s County Atlas of Ulster. New York and Sylvester’s History of Ulster County). The building faces south and overlooks the Rondout Creek and the D & H Canal. There is a porch with shed roof along the southern elevation and a series of eyebrow windows also facing south. The house was under cement company ownership until 1922, identified on various maps as either a tenement or a dwelling, and was probably used to shelter employees, (one contributing building)
Lawrence Kilns – [Map 1, 14]
These eight draw kilns are believed by some to be the oldest extant kilns in the Rosendale district. Although their exact date of construction has yet to be verified through documentary research, several sources date them to c1830 (Sylvester;O’Connor). This battery is located approximately three hundred feet east of the Snyder house, facing Route 213. Each of these kilns is approximately forty feet high with a diameter of nine or ten feet and a drawing arch eight feet high. The exteriors are constructed of stone and lined with yellow firebrick. The Lawrence kilns were used until cl904.
Watson E. Lawrence developed draw kilns around 1830 to replace the inefficient batch kilns that not only slowed production but wasted fuel. The Lawrence draw kiln was perpetual, and once charged with a mixture of pea-sized anthracite coal and cement rock, it was kept in continuous operation. Usually draw kilns were built into the sides of hills so that they could be charged easily from the top with six to eight inches of stone interspersed with thin layers of coal. Normally, it took four days for the cement rock to be properly calcined and to travel from the top of the kiln to its floor, where it was allowed to cool before grinding. There was once a roofed area in front of the kilns to shelter workers; however, it is no longer extant.
(one contributing structure)
Lawrence Mine – [Map 1, 15]
Locally known as the “Lawrenceville Cave,” this mine, whose entrance is located approximately three hundred feet east of the Lawrence kilns, is believed to date to the opening of Lawrence’s first cement plant in the district in 1830. The first mining operations here went in only as deep as natural light allowed, but in later years, as the demand for Rosendale cement increased, extensive underground mining took place, leaving much of the surrounding area undermined but supported by heavy stone pillars. This mine also shows evidence of dual level mining. This became a relatively common practice in the Rosendale region because the cement rock beds here consist of seventeen different layers divided into three series, not all of which were suitable for quality cement. Usually, the light cement or upper series and dark cement or lower series were processed into cement and the middle series disposed of or left as roof support.
This mine was the source of the cement stone used by the Lawrence cement works until about 1904 and by A.J. Snyder and Sons (in the western section) from 1860 until 1911. In 1911 A.J. Snyder II purchased the land that the Lawrence mine is located on and from that date until 1970 the mine provided the cement stone for a number of companies:
- *A.J. Snyder Lime & Cement Co. (1911-1928) ;
- Interstate Cement Co. 1928-1932);
- Century Cement Co. 1932-1934);
- Century Masonry Cement Co. (1934-1935) and
- *Century Cement Manufacturing Co., Inc. (1935-1970)
[*owned by A.J. Snyder II]. The Lawrence Mine has been unused since 1970.(one contributing structure)