The town of Concrete, just off state route 20 in the upper Skagit valley, near where the Baker River merges into the Skagit, has been struggling in various ways for over forty years. The cement factory that once supplied half the cement needed for Grand Coulee Dam, shut down in 1968, and the timber industry dried up as well. The city counsel now tries to deal with public drunkeness that sometimes involves shooting on Main Street. The population is less than the number that once worked on the Baker damn alone, and The Hub is the only real bar in a town that once supported eleven. European Americans were gold prospecting in this area by 1858, and settlements began arising on either side of the Baker River in the 1870s. Peg-leg Everett, the first to discover the large limestone deposits, had a homestead on the east bank, and by 1905 the Washington Portland Cement Co. was operating there, and the community was named "Cement City." Meanwhile, Richard Challenger had named the area on the opposite bank "Minnehaha," though by 1890 it was known as "Baker," and a competing cement company, the Superior Portland Cement Co., was in operation on the west bank by 1908. In 1909, Baker and Cement City merged into "Concrete, Washington."
librarian was a professional dominatrix, when the winner of the mayor's race had to defeat Mercury the dog (ibid), and when a short circuit at the cement factory during Orson Welles' famed "War of the World" broadcast led to some particularly excitable reactions. Similarly, The Hub itself presents a general semblance of (dive bar) normality -- the standard beers and liquors, the pulltabs and pool tables -- but with some old, idiosyncratic touches mixed in. For example, there is the taxidermy bobcat that looks like it's spent a few generations in bobcat hell, and there's the wooden child's coffin adorned with a giant wood housefly (WTF?).
ghost, and the city council's concern over public drunkeness that has culminated in gunshots on Main St. But it was great sitting at the grand old bar, once our knees got accustomed to the short distance between stool and bar, and its the sort of place that one hopes will always be there.
|86 List from The Hub Tavern, Concrete, WA|
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Walking tour of Concrete