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Concrete is a town in Beaulieu Township about 90 miles north of Grand Forks.

The town was named by the wife of Webster Merrifield, a past UND President who was one of the owners of the area’s clay mines. The name, “Concrete” was a natural, as cement clay is one of the ingredients of concrete.

Earle Babcock, and early UND Professor, discovered clay used in making cement in the Concrete area in 1891. The first post office in the area was established March 20, 1882 at a site called Young. The post office was moved to Concrete June 16, 1915. It was located at the grocery store in Concrete and then at a small house. The post office closed October 15, 1982.

The track to Concrete was later torn up and the railroad equipment was either  scrapped or sold. The depot was moved to a farm, where it was used for a granary  and other storage. The Concrete grain elevator was torn down in the 1930s.

Construction began in October 1909 on First State Bank, a brick building. In  1919, burglars blew open the vault and took $4,000 in War Bonds. John Creiman  was bank cashier.

The bank closed in the 1920s and the building was used later as a post  office, grocery store, service station and bar. In 1986, the structure was  converted into a mechanic's workshop by Eldon Gendron. The old bank burned Jan.  24, 1988, and only the brick walls were left standing. It was the last of the  original buildings in Concrete.

A fire in 1917 destroyed the hotel and stores, which were owned by George  Kihne, Fred Creiman and Fred Fischer. Another fire destroyed the store, bar and  pool hall in the early 1970s.


The E.J. Lander Co. opened up the new town site of Concrete on July 21, 1908.  A dependable supply of cement clay was needed for the Pembina Portland Cement  Co., which had been founded in 1899. The cement mines operated near the source  of the Tongue River, and at the height of production, 500 barrels were turned  out per day.

The cement company was founded by Tom Campbell and Daniel Bull, Grand Forks  investors, who sought help from area farmers to build a railroad through the  area with a terminus at the mill site of the cement company. The two businessmen  impressed on area farmers what such a railroad could do for them in getting  their crops to market and urging them to purchase stock.

The North Dakota Railway Co. was incorporated Oct. 7, 1907, with construction  beginning the following May. The main line of the railroad totaled 20.07 miles;  there were 2.36 miles of branch line. The railroad's rolling stock consisted of  a steam locomotive and tender, two boxcars and a passenger-baggage car.

The locomotive, dubbed "Maude," was purchased from the former Great Northern  Railway and delivered in October 1908. In the summer of 1909, the cement mines  were out of business, with foreign importation blamed for the closure. The  railroad and Concrete struggled to remain alive, but without the cement mines  both faced severe problems.

With the closure of the railroad, the locomotive bell was removed and used as  a school bell for many years. The bell is now on display at the Pembina County  Museum in Cavalier, N.D.

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