Man preserves history of Lehigh Valley's cement industry
Updated On: Oct 07 2013 05:32:21 PM CDT
At one time, close to 60 cement plants dotted the Lehigh Valley landscape.
To preserve the history, one Northampton, Northampton Co., man created what's possibly the world's only cement museum.
"Cement was gigantic. The Lehigh Valley was the largest cement-producing area in the world," said Ed Pany.
For three decades, the former history teacher and son of a cement worker has collected anything and everything to do with local cement.
Three-thousand of his items., all donated, are displayed inside his Atlas Cement Museum inside the Northampton borough building.
"I do it because I love it, and I owe it to my father and other men and women who worked there," Pany said.
This reporter's father-in-law, Jim Olesak, and his friend, Byron Miller, both longtime cement workers and former students of Pany, surprised him with a few donations Monday.
"This came out of the Keystone Cement. This is the plant air gauge from 1923 to 25," Olesak said.
Old pictures and historical records were donated, as well. To say Pany was overjoyed would be an understatement. The men haven't seen each other in years.
"I hate to get away from cement, but he was a hell of a teacher. His favorite saying was, 'Jim, you're writing the dictionary,'" Olesak laughed.
Pany even wrote to Olesak when Olesak served in Vietnam.
"I remember that all the time," Olesak said.
"They were my students, but they became my friends and never forgot me," Pany emotionally said.
Pany's museum will ensure no one forgets the history forged through concrete and the connections cemented in stone.
The museum is open the second and fourth Sundays of the month between May and September. Now through the year, it's by appointment only. You can call the Northampton borough building for more details.
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