Address: 48 Henry Avenue, Memphis
Architectural Style: Nine-story poured-concrete silos
Original Function/Purpose: Manufacturing; powdered cement manufacturing facility and warehouse
The Missouri Portland Cement Terminal was placed on the National Register on April 9, 2021.
History: The Memphis Portland Cement Co. terminal’s nine silos, 131 feet or roughly 9 stories high, were built to hold over 90,000 barrels of dry Portland cement, and to process it. Barges loaded with bulk cement powder (from crushed rock, sand or gravel) would moor at an adjacent dock and the load would be pumped to the silos through a 1,000-foot pipeline. The bottom four stories of the silos (46 feet) contained offices and facilities for handling cement powder and the top 85 feet held the powder. The first floor or basement was used for storage and dust screening. The second floor, at ground level, contains former offices and employee service areas – locker rooms, showers and the like, as well as a scale used to weigh the cement bags before distribution. The third floor was the packing floor where 300 barrels of cement could be packed per hour, and where returned cloth sacks could be cleaned of dust. The fourth floor was the feeder floor that had access to the steel conical bottoms of the silos above, allowing them to be emptied into the packing bins below. The MPC Co. was drawn to construct this facility in response “to increased national demand for cement during the post-World War II building boom . . . [together with] this strategic location on the Mississippi River near multiple rail lines in the center of the country.” The building was constructed by the Jones-Hettelsater Co. which specialized in facilities for the grain and milling trades and was used to efficiently arranging equipment and storage spaces. While much of Memphis’ industrial riverfront shifted to President’s Island, the MPC Co. continued operations on the Wolf River Harbor until 1991, and its building was then owned and used successively by Lafarge North America and by Continental Concrete until 2018. The site is now owned by Snuff District developers headed by Billy Orgel and may be incorporated into that adjacent redevelopment.
City Council District: 7
Super District: 8
County Commission District: 8