Corpus Christi: 1948-1949. Two contemporary "Fotofolio" flip-style photograph albums, illustrated with 385 black-and-white photographs, all measuring about 4 x 5 inches, all hinged along the top edge and mostly arranged sequentially. Most of the images are annotated with the date in ink or with a printed date in the margin, and sometimes carry a letter-number code printed in the margin, as well. Some chipping to album spines, some splits along the joints, moderate rubbing and edge wear. A few photos creased, three leaves in second album detached. Very good. Item #3661
A large collection of photographs documenting a large-scale construction project along the Texas Gulf Coast in the mid-20th century by one of the state's most notable companies. The photographs date from October 11, 1948 to July 29, 1949, and picture the construction of the Tex-Mex Cement Company Plant in Corpus Christi. The photos were likely made for a architect, contractor, or construction supervisor building the plant. The Tex-Mex Cement Company was a subsidiary of the Erle P. Halliburton Company, today one of the most well-known multinational corporations in the energy industry. The company's plant in Corpus Christi began construction in the summer of 1948 and was designed to make "Portland cement" from oyster shells and clay dredged from Nueces Bay. The plant was estimated to cost $6 million, and included its own power plant, shipping facilities, sales offices, and more. Following construction of the plant, the Tex-Mex Cement Company's franchise was transferred to the Halliburton Portland Cement Company. By March 1950, the company's new Corpus Christi plant was at full production capacity, churning out 4,000 barrels of Portland cement per day. Interestingly, Halliburton began as an oil well cementing company and still makes Portland cement for the oil and fracking industry, among its many products and services.
The present collection of photographs document almost two years of the construction of the Tex-Mex Company Cement Plant. Four of the earliest photographs are annotated in ink on the verso, identifying the project and providing some general observations on the content of those specific images. These annotated images, all taken from the roof of the west end shop on the grounds of the project, picture the "Piling Cutoff - 175' Slurry Thickener & Tank Farm," "Clinker Silos...Power House & Raw Grind," "Kiln Piers, Kiln Feed End, Slurry Tanks," and "Forms for Clinker Silos...Piling for Finish Grind...Nearly complete Piling in Cement, storage...[and] left side ready for excavation & cutoff." Ranging over the next nineteen months, the photographs capture the plant as construction moves along apace, showing human workers in the field, construction of pilings and the smokestacks of the power plant, truck beds full of supplies, several shots of crane work, closeups of the plant's machinery and infrastructure, the setting in place of drainage pipes, buildings being constructed, some of the railway lines and rail cars to be employed at the plant, and numerous other aspects of the massive project. In one shot, a truck from the South Texas Materials Company is clearly visible. Some of the photographs are back-stamped from the studio of John F. Maxwell, while others were developed by Culli's Custom Prints, both Corpus Christi-area photography shops during this time.
A healthy collection of photographs memorializing construction of a major cement plant on the Gulf Coast of Texas by one of the state's and the nation's most visible and successful energy companies.