Pacific Product Had Brief Role in Housing Industry – Calsi-Crete

By on May 23, 2019

From eMissourian:  A product that had a short-lived role in the U.S. housing industry and was manufactured in Pacific was the topic of the Meramec Valley Historical Museum and Genealogical Society (MVHMGS) May 16 meeting.

Clipping from the Chicago Tribune on June 13, 1959

Mickey Trost, with the St. Louis Architectural Historical Society, was researching how concrete played a role in housing construction when she came across a product called Calsi-Crete.

A little research revealed its background and she came to Pacific to share her research and learn more about the unique product.

Starting with the A.D. 118 concrete dome of the Pantheon in Rome, which is still in perfect condition, Trost noted that the Romans mastered the manufacture of concrete. They used it in buildings, aqueducts and roads, but the secret was then lost for more than 1,800 years before modern builders began to use it.

Portland cement didn’t come along until 1824. Thomas Edison toyed with building homes of concrete and a handful of the concrete houses built with his metal forms are still occupied.

But it was not a widely accepted method of housing construction.

It was after World War II, when homes were needed for the returning soldiers, that the housing market we know today, subdivisions, pre-fab homes and mobile homes, evolved.

A builder named Don McKee discovered the wonders of Calsi-Crete, a product that weighed one-third as much as concrete. He built 24 homes with the miracle product in the community of Winston Park. Some are still there.

Trost, who lives in the neighborhood, turned her research to Calsi-Crete. She learned it was manufactured in Pacific and contacted the historical society. She said she was looking for historical information about the business, its products, including owners, operators and photographs.

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About Dede Hance