Atlas Cement Company

When you’re out of town, why not explore something different in a new place? We recently visited Pittsburgh and while spending time with my child hood best friend, I suggested we do some urban exploring with her. Needless to say, she’s a friend you never have to convince to do something adventurous with you. 

Although I have a list a mile long for the greater Pittsburgh area, I hadn’t heard of the Atlas Cement Company in Penn Hills. After some research, we heard it was easier to access the cement plant from one of its two entry points. We entered off of a culdisac and drove our way right in. We saw several others driving or four wheeling, but were warned that there is several areas with rebar coming up from the ground. You probably could enter the plant from following the railroad tracks in but it will make for a longer walk. 

Originally, we started out toward two smaller outlying buildings, of what they were used for im not quite sure. 

The first photo posted shows a building that we chose not to venture into. It looked as though it had caught fire on the inside at one point and it was covered inside by plastic sheeting. My adventurous man would tell you he doesn’t mess with asbestos. 

The second building pictured in the first set of photos, I would think was used for an employee area at the time. We found locker rooms and what was maybe a lunch area and some office space. 

After this, we ventured down to the cement plant, which has been abandoned since the 80s. 

We found the easiest way down, but the path was a little rocky and dusty. Although finding an entrance wasn’t extradorinarly easy, I think we may have made it harder then we needed to. 

We finally found our entry point and ascended the very long, dusty, spiral staircase. Once at the top, we had a phenomenal view. 

One of my favorite types of adventures are factories that have closed. I think it’s the feeling that at one point in time, these places helped build our cities, states and country and not to mention they provided jobs. 

It seems as though Universal Atlas Cement Plant had an arduous past. After installing different smokestacks, dust collectors, you name it, it still required drastic cutbacks to their employee base in 1979. In 1980, the plant was sold to Lehigh Portland cement company. Eventually, Lehigh sold the land and the company who purchased it failed to pay the taxes, was purchased again by the last and most current owner, Erekson Corporation, also filed for bankruptcy although they had promised to clear the space for single family homes. 

Would I recommend you visit here? It wasn’t my favorite place we have ventured to, but it was something different and unique. There isn’t much to explore and you will work a little hard to explore what there is. It was also an incredibly hot day and the amount of dust that is in this plant doesn’t add to its appeal. 

Either way, never stop adventuring and enjoy your adventure! 


4 thoughts on “Atlas Cement Company

  1. I lived in Universal for 17 years-grew up there and never visited the plant. The town’s original names was Clarksburg but was changed when the plant opened (I think), There were “company houses” built near the plant and there was cement dust and cement trucks rolling through the town. The train station must have moved materials too since it was close to the property. These pictures make me want to go back and take a look at something I took for granted for years-it was part of our life in Universal. Thanks so much for posting them.


  2. If u like urban decay n exploration you gotta check out Motown’s hometown I merely thumbed thru it years ago but just about everything is abandoned n the old Detroit train station is beautiful or you could tell it was…also still in operation the fox theater e is goergous..itwad cool how I could tell how at one time Detroit was a.boomin city and the architecture is pretty fricken nice


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