Much has changed since April 16, 1912, but an occurrence of the day produced a development here that has remained a constant now for an entire century.
On that date — the day following the tragic sinking of the Titanic luxury ship half a world away — Wallace P. McGeorge Sr. invested a then-whopping $25 as a down payment on a stern-wheel sand-sucker boat that had been given the name “Juliette and Bill.”
The boat would help to give birth to McGeorge’s Pine Bluff Sand and Gravel Company, which will mark its 100th anniversary Thursday night with a Pine Bluff Country Club fest.
McGeorge — who started his firm on Nov. 20, 1913 — may have never imagined that his creation would grow to its present size, but he was definitely a dreamer. Before founding PBS&G, he was a street car conductor. On his route along the Arkansas River, he saw dredges at work and figured that if he could acquire one, he could make a good business for himself.
McGeorge’s vision was not only fulfilled, but continues to deliver dividends. It is now directed by President Scott McGeorge and Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Brian McGeorge, a respective grandson and great-grandson of the founder.
Headquartered since 2009 in a 16,000-square foot facility at 1501 Heartwood St. in White Hall, PBS&G counts a record-high 600-plus employees. In addition to its sand and gravel excavation and delivery, the firm is also now recognized for its concrete and asphalt services and operations of a pair of rock quarries — one in Salem, Ky., that produces limestone and the other on Arkansas’ Lake Dardanelle that provides sandstone.
PBS&G’s service area has expanded beyond Arkansas to include Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.
The company has three operating construction dredges that are generally active on Mississippi River tributaries, including the Red River and Gulf Coast waters. Its fleet features eight line boats, which can each push up to 30 barges.
PBS&G finds pleasure in its longtime role as a Pine Bluff and Jefferson County booster of charitable and civic causes. The Trinity Foundation here was formed with contributions from the McGeorges’ enterprises. Also benefiting from PBS&G’s financial support have been the Arkansas Railroad and Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Historical museums, Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Clean and Beautiful, and Southeast Arkansas Behavioral Health System.
“We’re proud to have been part of the Pine Bluff community for 100 years and appreciate its support and the opportunities to serve the many businesses that have helped us along the way,” BPS&G Secretary Drew Atkinson said.