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Brookline Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
Brookline is one of Pittsburgh's middle class neighborhoods. (Jun. 2014 image by author)

Pittsburgh factory buildings
Old factory buildings along the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh, including Heppenstall Steel, which closed in 1979. (Feb. 2011 image by author)

Pittsburgh steel foundry
This spot in an industrial neighborhoold of Pittsburgh was once home to the Springfield Foundry Co. (Feb. 2011 image by author)

Lawrenceville Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
Neighborhood between the Strip District and Lawrenceville sections of Pittsburgh. (Feb. 2011 image by author)

Fort Pitt Iron and Steel Works Pittsburgh
Former Fort Pitt Iron And Steel Works and 31st Street Bridge in Pittsburgh, PA. (Jul. 2009 image by author)

Armstrong Cork Factory Pittsburgh
Abandoned Armstrong Cork factory in Pittsburgh's strip district. Unbelievably, this facility has been renovated into trendy apartments. (Nov. 2004 image by author)

Pittsburgh Rust Belt
A former brass foundry (Pittsburgh Brass Manufacturing Co.) on Penn Avenue. (Feb. 2011 image by author)


One of the largest steel mills that U.S. Steel operated in the Monongahela River valley was at Homestead, PA. This was the scene of the infamous labor war between striking steelworkers and strikebreaking detectives in 1892. The mill was shut down in the mid 1980s, and today is the site of the Waterfront, a large retail complex. But large smokestacks, a pump house, and this tank remain as a tribute to the workers of U.S. Steel's Homestead Works. (Jan. 2006 image by author)

U.S. Steel Homestead
Overall view of U.S. Steel's Homestead Works as it looked after it was shut down. (1989 mage by Jack Boucher, Historical American Engineering Record).

Homestead Pennsylvania Steel Mill
Another photo of the shuttered Homestead steel mill. (1989 image by Jet Lowe, Historical American Engineering Record).


Rusty rooftops on the idled Homestead works in one more picture from the late 1980's. (1989 image by Martin Stupich, Historical American Engineering Record).


The Carrie Furnaces, on the Monongahela River between Rankin and Swissvale, PA, made the hot iron that went across the still existing "Hot Metal Bridge" to the Homestead Works of U.S. Steel. Fortunately, they have escaped the wrecking ball. (Jan. 2006 image by author)

On October 7, 1982 the Associated Press reported, "The unemployment rate among steelworkers is 50 percent in the four county Pittsburgh labor market the state Office of Employment Security reported Tuesday. The state said only half of the steel workers in Allegheny, Beaver, Washington and Westmoreland Counties have jobs from the peak employment period of July 1979 when 90,000 were working in the mills."


Another view of the Carrie Furnaces, which were constructed around a century ago. On the left is the ore bridge, to the right of that are the furnaces and the draft stack, and on the right is the powerhouse. A portion of the Hot Metal Bridge rises in the foreground. This is not to be confused with the Hot Metal Bridge down the river at the South Side, which served J&L, not USS. (Jan. 2006 image by author)


On the left are Carrie Furnace No. 6 and No. 7 and associated hot blast plant, in front of those sits the coke storage bin, in the lower center is the ore yard, on the right is the ore bridge, and finally the Hot Metal Bridge is in the background. (Sep. 2007 image by author)


Valves and plumbing at Carrie Furnaces. (Sep. 2007 image by author)


This gentleman, standing in the cast house of Carrie Furnace No. 6, explains the furnace operations to a group on a tour of the furnaces arranged by Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. These retired steelworkers (or ironworkers) really added color to the tour, which I enjoyed. He stands next to the hole (arrow) where hot iron flowed into the iron trough. (Sep. 2007 image by author)


Coal being barged up the Mon past the Carrie Furnaces, perhaps going to the Clairton Works. To paraphrase the Boss, "My sweet Carrie I'm sinkin' down, here darlin' in Pittsburgh - when I die I don't want part of Heaven; I would not do Heaven's work well. I pray the Devil comes and takes me to work at the Eliza furnace of J&L." (Sep. 2007 image by author)


Inscription on St. Mary Croation Roman Catholic Church in Rankin, PA. (Jan. 2006 image by author)


Braddock, PA - a declining Pennsylvania steel town. (Jan. 2006 image by author)


Looking out over the industrial section of Braddock, with U.S. steel's Edgar Thompson steel mill in the background. (Jan. 2006 image by author)


U.S. Steel's Edgar Thompson mill, where the hot iron is turned into steel slabs, to be sent up the river to the Irvin Works. (Jan. 2006 image by author)


The Edgar Thompson blast furnaces, the only active blast furnaces remaining in Pennsylvania. (Jan. 2006 image by author)


Braddock and North Braddock, PA. (Jan. 2006 image by author)


U.S. Steel's coke ovens at Clairton, PA - opened in 1918, and the largest coke works in the USA. (Nov. 2003 image by author)


Old coal loadouts across the Monongahela River from USS Clairton Works. (Sep. 2008 image by author)


Barges full of coal moored at the Clairton coke plant. (Sep. 2008 image by author)


Despite the good paying jobs at the Clairton Works the city's economy is distressed. (Sep. 2008 image by author)


Citizens of Clairton, PA coexisting with the coke plant. (Feb. 2007 image courtesy Katrencik Photo Archives)


Ruins of U.S. Steel's Dorothy Six blast furnace, part of the Duquesne Works, at Duquesne, PA. U.S. Steel had several blast furnaces with in a few miles of each other in the Monongahela Valley: Carrie, Edgar Thompson, National Tube, and Duquesne. Only the Edgar Thompson furnaces are still in use. Charlie Hein writes, "I was born in 1963 and remember driving amongst all of those behemoth steel mills, thinking they would be there forever - everybody did. I remember sitting on the steps of a Catholic church across from the Duquense Works watching and listening to the nonstop work there while my father went to confession. My dad worked for Koppers Corp. and I remember the late 1970's and 80's being difficult times for my parents and their friends. I really still can't believe it's all gone. So, I live in California now but I still drive American!" (Jan. 2006 image by author)


The Cowper stoves for the demolished furnaces at Duquesne. These are gone now as well. On May 25, 1984 the Associated Press reported, "Wearing black arm bands, humming 'Taps' and fighting back tears, grizzled steelworkers toiled their final shift at Dorothy Six, an award-winning blast furnace whose fires fell victim to the industry's hard times ... 'This arm band symbolizes the death of a blast furnace, the death of the plant, the death of my job. It's a shame,' said Bob Macey, 35. On his final shift, the 16-year veteran played 'Taps' over the plant's public address system as his colleagues hummed along. 'My great-grandfather, my grandfather and my father worked in there. That's four generations. It's like losing everything, like losing your family tree,' said Macey, the contents of his work locker packed into two paper bags he carried home to McKeesport." (Jan. 2006 image by author)


This old slag car is still sitting around the ruins of the Duquesne works. I think Century III Mall is sitting on part of the old slag pile. Where is U.S. Steel is dumping their slag today? (Jan. 2006 image by author)


Part of a concrete plant in West Elizabeth, with Consolidation Coal Company's Marine Ways (for repairing barges of their river fleet) across the river in Elizabeth in the background. Consol has maintained a dock in Elizabeth as far back as 1869. (Sep. 2008 image by author)


Mitchell coal fired power plant at Courtney, PA was opened from 1949 until 2013. (Sep. 2008 image by author)


Neville Island, in the Ohio River, is an industrial district of Pittsburgh. This is the Kosmos Cement plant at one end of the island. (Feb. 2007 image by author)


Shenango, Inc. operates the coke ovens on Neville Island. (Feb. 2007 image by author)


Operations of Shenango, Sunoco Chemicals, and Calgon Carbon are intertwined in this huge industrial complex. (Feb. 2007 image by author)


USW Local 5032 picket line in response to lockout at Calgon Carbon. The history of the Rust Belt and of organized labor are intertwined. (2008 image courtesy of Pittsburgh Independent Media Center)


The other side of Neville Island is lined with active and abandoned industrial vendors, warehouses, and bulk material storage yards. The economy of the Ohio River seems to have evolved from heavy manufacturing to the handling of large commodities like aggregates and scrap for recycling. (Feb. 2007 image by author)


Although Neville Island is primarily an industrial district, there is a small residential and commercial section, a portion of which is pictured here. (Feb. 2007 image by author)


Abandoned National Electric Products factory in Ambridge, PA. (Feb. 2007 image by author)


Ambridge, Pennsylvania in the Upper Ohio Valley was named for the American Bridge subsidiary of U.S. Steel. American Bridge closed their Ambridge shops in 1983. (Feb. 2007 image by author)


A.M. Byers Company used to manufacture wrought iron and tools in this large old plant in Ambridge. (Feb. 2007 image by author)


The huge J&L steel mill in Aliqiuppa, PA was still standing when this photo was taken of part of it in 1989. Now this is all gone except for the residences. And the population of Aliquippa has fallen from 27,000 to approximately 12,000. (Image courtesy of Dorsett Studios)


These houses in Aliquippa were probably J&L-built for their employees. (2013 image by Nick Markowitz)


J&L Specialty Steel - Midland, PA. Part of the operation was once Crucible Steel Co. (Feb. 2007 image by author)


Canonsburg, PA in Washington County. (Feb. 2007 image by author)


Joel Garreau, in his 1981 book "The Nine Nations of North America", called the Industrial Heartland "The Foundry." He wrote, "The theory goes, then, that the Foundry has priced itself out of the market, with high- priced unionized labor, high land costs, high energy costs, high pollution-control costs, and so forth.

"...Are we really going to do this? Are we really going to walk away from these Foundry cities? Are we really going to try to build them all over again in MexAmerica and Dixie? Do you have any idea of what that's going to cost?"

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