Local woman uncovers artifacts from Marlborough
BALDWIN — Although the town of Marlborough, once a boom town south of Baldwin, has been abandoned for more than 100 years, it still remains well remembered throughout the county.
The town, which was centered around the Great Northern Portland Cement Company with production of marl, a cement material dug from local lakes, boomed during the turn-of-the-century. However, due to problems such as high energy demands and superior cement products on the market, the town dwindled and the plant was dynamited for scrap iron. Old remnants of buildings and foundations remain a skeleton of the once lively town.
Lonnie Hillard, who is the caretaker of property in Marlborough inherited from her late husband’s family, was thrilled to discover a part of the town’s history, a silver lining for her when she had to tear down a historic cabin on the property.
Her husband’s family built the cabin with hand-hewed logs in 1917, and she always heard talk from the family that the walls were backed with cement bags from the cement plant in Marlborough.
“I wanted to keep the cabin standing for people to use, but a lot of money would have to be put into it, so I decided to demolish it. When the paneling was first taken off, I called a friend to help me see if there really were cement bags in the wall. Under layers of wallpaper, we saw a craft paper, but we did not see any bags,” Hillard said. “We left it at that and the construction crew came to demolish the building.
“When they pulled the first piece of wall down, it was discovered the craft paper was indeed the cement bags, but the logo faced inward, so we only saw the back of the paper.”
The bags have the logo of Great Northern Portland Cement Company in red and black.
“I am so happy we were able to salvage the bags,” she said. “The demo workers were so good about stopping and letting me get the bags and helping to pull them loose — taking the time to salvage the pieces of history.
“The bags have to be at least 110 years old. It is just amazing, because I was sick at heart to take the cabin down, but I found these bags, which haven’t been seen by human eyes in many years.”
Hillard uncovered about a dozen to 16 bags, some which she set aside for family and others who have a great interest in the history.
“Marlborough is such a deep part of our local history. I have always wondered what the town would have been like if it survived and flourished, built up to a city,” she said.