Abandoned Lehigh Portland Cement Company in Oglesby Illinois

The massive ruins of an abandoned cement factory and quarry lie near the confluence of the Illinois and Vermilion Rivers.


After exploring an abandoned asphalt plant in LaSalle, Illinois, I headed to the city of Oglesby to check out the ruins of a much larger concrete manufacturing facility: Lehigh Portland Cement Company.

Separated from the road by a broad stretch of lawn, the massive factory compound serves as a silent reminder of what was once the city's most important industry.

The sign at the top of the towering silos is rusted with age and barely legible.


The grounds of the old factory aren't fenced off and are surprisingly free of No Trespassing signs.


A mowed path leads between two rows of buildings.


The rest of the land has grown wild with dense brush and young trees.


Many of the doors to the old structures remain sealed.


But you can glimpse of the hollow interiors through broken window panes.



Most of the equipment has been removed in the decades since the factory closed. The buildings now stand as empty shells.




I was hesitant to venture too deep into the grounds of the old compound. I'd read that there are pits and steep drops throughout the property, especially hazardous because they are well obscured by thick vegetation. If that wasn't enough to deter me, the swarms of mosquitoes certainly were.


Cement has been a major industry in Oglesby since the 1890s and actually predates the city. The Chicago Cement Company was was founded in 1898, but the town was not officially established until 1902.

The city of Oglesby was originally called Portland because the cement produced there was similar to Portland Cement, a popular type of concrete developed in England. In 1913 the city changed its name to honor Richard Oglesby, a former governor of Illinois and US Senator.

Photo by Leo Muhlach, courtesy of http://guitarjourney.tripod.com/rayslasallecountyonlinemuseum

In 1916 the Chicago Cement Company was sold to Lehigh Portland Cement Company, a conglomerate based in Pennsylvania with facilities across the US.


In 1963 the company decided that the cost of modernizing the aging Oglesby plant would be too great, and the factory was shuttered.


The quarries were sold to Marquette Cement, which had been its major competitor since the time the plant first opened.

The new owners added a conveyor line (pictured below) to transport materials from the quarry to the Marquette Cement facilities. The conveyor was dismantled and removed several years prior to my visit.

Photo courtesy of http://www.oglesby.il.us

The future of the old cement factory remains uncertain. At this time, there do not seem to be any plans for redevelopment of the property.

From Oglesby, I continued east toward Joliet, Illinois, the westernmost city of great Rust Belt region and home of the ruins of the legendary Joliet Ironworks. I'll tell you all about it next week. In the meantime, check out my social media for more photos from the abandoned Lehigh Portland Cement Company.

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Rusted Ruins: An Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

North of Peru, Illinois, on a patch of land surrounded by farm fields, sit the rusting remains of an asphalt plant.

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

The sun rose on the 8th day of the Epic Rust Belt Road Trip. The previous night, after exploring the ruins of a few beautiful abandoned schools in rural Iowa, I'd crossed from the wide open spaces of the Corn Belt into Illinois.

In a few hours I would arrive at the Rust Belt, home of the mighty ruins of America's industrial titans. But first there were a few more stops I had to make along the way.

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

Along a rural highway north of Peru Township in Northern Illinois, the central structure of an abandoned asphalt plant towered above the surrounding farm fields. The gate to the property hung open and inviting. The place was clearly abandoned and there were no signs forbidding entry, so I stopped to have a quick look.

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

Plants had grown up among a row of tanks near the entrance.

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

Off to one side, a rusty crane stood frozen in time.

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

A row of disused trailers and tankers remained in the back of the property.

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

A patina of rust covered every piece of equipment.

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois


Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

Black rubber conveyor belts on rusty rollers baked in the sun, still positioned to move material from the processing equipment to the massive storage bins...

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

and from the storage bins to transport vehicles.

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

One conveyor had been colonized by plants.

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

A small structure that once served as an office and control room still contained an assortment of control panels,

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

office equipment,

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

and books.

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

Another structure contained junction boxes and power switches.

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

I was glad to find this place untouched by vandals. As always, I was careful not to disturb anything during my visit.

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

I got back on the road and headed south toward Oglesby to check out an abandoned cement factory, which was gigantic compared to this little asphalt plant. I'll tell you all about it next week. 

Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois

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Abandoned Asphalt Plant in LaSalle Illinois