Northampton Press

Friday, May 29, 2020
PHOTOS COURTESY OF LARRY OBERLYCrusher and conveyor at original Keystone Cement Company plant, 1927 PHOTOS COURTESY OF LARRY OBERLYCrusher and conveyor at original Keystone Cement Company plant, 1927
Silos at original Keystone plant, 1928 Silos at original Keystone plant, 1928
Keystone Cement Company today Keystone Cement Company today

Keystone was central to their lives

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 by ED PANY Curator, Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum in Columns

In this second column, we are speaking to members of the Drauch family, who presented a piece of folk art to the Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum in memory of their father and brother, dedicated cement workers at the Keystone Cement Company.

The Drauchs resided in Salisbury Township while their father and brother worked at Keystone. In those days, there was no Salisbury High School, so they attended and graduated from — do you remember? — Fountain Hill High School.

The Drauch ladies recall Fountain Hill and their graduating class of 57 students in 1955. One of their teachers was Charles Dubbs, a history teacher who coached the Hillers, a championship basketball team. A great man, they recall when he would go up to the cemetery at night where some of the boys were necking with their girlfriends. He tapped on the windows and told the boys, “Go home! There is a game tomorrow!”

Their brother William Jr. served in the U.S. Army, drafted in 1970.

He joined his father at the Keystone Cement on his return. Father and son drove to the plant together, never missing a day. William would work at the plant for 35 years as a repairman and help organize the 25-Year Keystone Club, which still meets to honor loyal employees.

The folk art that was donated to the museum, an image of the cement plant, had hung in his living room until his death in 2016. To him, the Keystone and his co-workers were not just a job, but a family, and a big part of his life. He was proud to follow in the footsteps of his father.

Another visitor was Barry Reimert, who spoke very highly about his uncle William. Barry is employed at Hercules, now Buzzi Unicem in Stockertown. He is an experienced electrician who proudly wears a shirt commemorating the company’s 100th anniversary. He works with brother-in-law Tim Budwash at the plant and said they were proud to continue the tradition of a family of cement workers.