There are few things as fun as exploring abandoned buildings. Something about nature retaking what belongs to it is fascinating to watch.
I’ve driven past the Old Cement Factory, as we call it, probably a hundred times while winding through the canyon coming out of the Blue Mountains in eastern Oregon.
Growing up in Seattle with grandparents in Nampa, Idaho, made it so we traveled down I-84 at least once a year. I also went to college in Nampa – at Northwest Nazarene – so made the trek several times during those years as well.
But not once did I stop at the Old Cement Factory. I mean, why would you? It’s a falling down old cement factory.
Plus, you are either at the end of a very long drive to Nampa or just getting started on a very long drive to Seattle.
On a recent trip, however, we were only going to drive halfway and had time to kill – so I decided what better thing to do than visit the old plant that I’d seen whip past me all those times as a kid.
We pulled over in the aptly named Lime, Oregon, and parked next to six giant silos. With only the sounds of semi brakes whining as they wound down the canyon, Veronica, Catarina and myself explored the factory.
Much of it is falling apart and covered in graffiti. Based on other blog posts, the site has gone downhill in the last 10 years.
Lime was established in 1899 and the post office closed in 1964, per Wikipedia. The plant sits near the confluence of Marble Creek and the Burnt River and is on the Oregon Trail. The area had large deposits of limestone, which were manufactured for large parts of eastern Oregon and western Idaho. The Acme Cement Plaster Company built a plant at Lime in 1916 to produce plaster. The Sun Portland Cement Company bought the plant in 1921 and built another facility for producing Portland cement. At its peak it produced 1.2 million barrels a year, before eventually closing in 1980.
On the lookout for rattlesnakes, I didn’t have the time to go in many of the structures – plus they didn’t look necessarily all that safe, but I was able to wander a bit. While it’s not exactly a scenic picnic spot, it is still an interesting place to pull over and explore.
There are lots of stairwells, holes in the ground, dark entrances to buildings and other passageways that the braver of heart might enter – I chose to just take a few photos, however and be on my way.
I don’t go to Nampa as much these days so who knows what the old plant will look like next time, but hopefully nature continues its assault on the factory.
– Craig Craker