Imagine for a moment San Antonio is the home to one of the early mini-metropolises in the area. An area consumed and operated under the lights of a twenty-four-hour hill country community. Complete with amenities such as convenient nearby shops, community pool, local clinic, community sports team, nearby schools, and an auditorium where one could hear engaging speeches by renowned speakers. Here some of the most engaging topics of the time would be discussed. These were some of the luxuries available to a select group of early San Antonio residents. Let it be noted that this was not a case of chance, but rather as a result of necessity.
Imagine not even the great depression could collapse this booming community. All right here in our own backyard. Why then are we not the economic purse of this state? How is it that this title has found its place in our sister city by the bayou? Simply put, because this particular community was a community of immigrants, created for the specific purpose of cheap labor.
Welcome to, Cementville, Texas. Founded in 1908 (1924), Cementville found its foundation strategically situated outside of what was then the city limits of San Antonio. Tasked with the responsibility of supplying a vast majority of San Antonio’s cement, it was essential to save on cost wherever an opportunity allowed. It was for this reason that the uninhabited land outside of the growing San Antonio city became the ideal place to cement such a massive workforce.
Consequently, this also isolated the immigrant workers who supplied the labor for this growing workforce, with the nearest transportation hub two miles away. Due to the isolation and the drive for economic profit, the company then known as San Antonio Portland Cement, now Alamo Cement, supplied for its workers everything they would ever need so never to have to leave or shut down.
This was the ideal solution for the progression of the city as well as the profit of the company. Although for the workers it seems to have been somewhat of a situation relative to legal slavery. While Portland Cement provided its workers living accommodations and provisions, both housing and stores were owned and operated by the Portland Cement Company, so that workers were merely recycling wages paid out for labor. Additionally, because a worker typically lived within the community with his family, if he was to get injured while on the job, he and his family were then homeless. Complete with many other amenities needed for day to day life, this tiny community flourished under this minimizing mentality well into the 1980’s before relocating further away from the city, minus their population.
So, what happened to this once thriving company community? Well as time passed and San Antonio’s expanding roads grew, the need to isolate workers became less critical. So, what became of the land that provided so much for Portland cement, San Antonio’s immigrant population, and of San Antonio itself? Today it is simply known as the Quarry Market.