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.