50th Anniversary of the end of WWII -- Bauxite AR
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 34° 33.309 W 092° 30.624
15S E 544917 N 3823821
Quick Description: A plaque affixed to a bauxite ore boulder in front of the Community Hall in the former Alcoa aluminum company town of Bauxite commemorates the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII
Location: Arkansas, United States
Date Posted: 3/19/2015 5:36:24 PM
Waymark Code: WMNHTM
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 1

Long Description:
The Alcoa corporation built the company town of Bauxite to exploit deep reserves of Bauxite (aluminum) ore deposited here. During WWII, Bauxite supplied vital aluminum for the American war effort.

Fifty years later, little is left of the town. When the economy changed and the need for this company town dissipated, the Alcoa corporation bulldozed most of the buildings. Only the community hall stands. A historic marker and a commemorative plaque preserves the history of this important mining town and close-knit community.

The plaque on the Bauxite boulder reads:

"ON THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE END OF WORLD WAR II

Dedicated to the thousands of Arkansasans who worked here tirelessly to supply the vital aluminum that made possible the successful American campaign, 1941 – 1945, to rid the world of tyranny.

Dedicated By The Alcoa Employee Descendants Association And Alcoa
July 29. 1995"

More on Bauxite (the town) can be found on Wikipedia:

"Bauxite is a town in Saline County, Arkansas, United States. Located within Central Arkansas, the town is named for bauxite, the source ore for aluminum, which was found in abundant quantities in the area and became a source of aluminum refining. The town's population boomed during expanded aluminum production during World War II and shrank rapidly with output of the ore. Bauxite was incorporated as a town in 1973. The population was 487 at the 2010 census.

HistorY

The ore for which the town is named was discovered in the area in the early 1890s and mined by the General Bauxite Company until 1905, when the Pittsburgh Reduction Company, a northeastern aluminum refining company, purchased vast tracts of land in Saline County after learning of the high-quality ore that was being shipped from the area. The company bought out the local producers of the ore, including the General Bauxite Company. Pittsburgh Reduction would go on to incorporate as the Aluminum Company of America, or ALCOA.

Production of the ore rose rapidly, growing from 200,000 short tons (180,000 t) in 1914 during World War I, to 560,000 short tons (510,000 t) by war’s end in 1918. With decreased demand and an expanded source base in South America, Arkansas production levels fluctuated with demand, dropping as low as 60,000 short tons (54,000 t) per annum in the mid-1930s.

World War I provided the greatest surge in growth for Bauxite, with multiple camps developing in and around the present-day city, often segregated by race or ethnicity, with such camp names as Italy Camp, Mexico Camp, Africa Camp, etc. Throughout the Great Depression, ALCOA provided a standard of living for its employees that was generally unmatched during that period of economic turbulence.

When World War II broke out, Bauxite was again called into martial action, with production rapidly increasing with the need for refined aluminum to produce airplanes and other materiel. Donald M. Nelson, the Chairman of the War Production Board, requested that ALCOA president, Arthur V. Davis implement a three-shift, 24-hour production schedule. Davis brought in miners from across the country to keep the mines running continuously. This rapid rise in output led to a 1943 annual production of 6,000,000 short tons (5,400,000 t) of ore.

Production began to slow as the war drew to a close, but the city’s population and infrastructure had swelled to include multiple new communities and a larger school district. ALCOA and Reynolds Metal Company continued to refine Bauxite in the area, with Reynolds finally ceasing operations in 1981. ALCOA still maintains a chemical processing plant between Bauxite and Bryant, and McGeorge Contracting Company continues to mine bauxite for its use in the oil and gas industry."

Ten years before the Community hall building would become a heritage museum, local Bicentennial Commission members chose to erect a historic marker here as part of the county's observance of the 1976 Bicentennial Year.

The marker reads as follows:

"BAUXITE ARKANSAS

Following the discovery of extensive bauxite ore deposits in 1887, an ore drying plant was located here by the Pittsburgh Reduction Co. In 1903 a small village was laid out to house the workers. This village, which included a bank, hospital, theater, and several churches and business houses, became a classic example of the “company-owned town.” During World War II, the community reached a peak of 7000 people when ore from mines located near here supplied the nation with domestic aluminum, which was critical in the production of arms.

Benton – Saline County Bicentennial committee 1976"
Anniversary Year: 1995

Year of Event, Organization or Occurance: 1945

Address:
Bauxite Community Hall
Bauxite, AR


Website: [Web Link]

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