Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co.

GIrard, O. - A track walk and some photos of a now demolished steel mill in 2005 would lead to my extremely short lived employment in the steel industry and an interesting connection to my father.

We parked near the former Pennsylvania RR coaling tower in Girard and started hiking down the tracks. It is now falling over, but the coal tower still stands - you can see it from Route 80.  Passing under 80 and heading further south we came upon the former Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. Brier Hill works.

The building to the left was in use, occupied by Syro Steel, but there wasn't much going on in the building to the right so we went in to take a look and some photos. Good thing we did because this giant structure is now gone. It was built during WWI and housed an 84 inch and 132 inch plate mill, and later an experimental hot strip mill per Rick Rowlands. The first time I saw the Tod Engine, which he eventually restored and built a museum around, was down here but I seem to have lost those photos. It was stored here prior to moving it to Hubbard Rd.

The photos in the next set got me hired into this same mill. I had the image below as a screen saver on my work computer - it was the most "artistic" looking photo I had ever taken, even though I didn't know what I was doing.

A customer of mine saw that and I wound up showing him the whole series. He says you're a steel man? I say no but my whole family was, why? It turned out he was the owner of the company that had the contract to staff V&M Star Steel and he needed a foreman. For whatever reason he offers me the job. I ran a die line in a plastic extrusion factory for a while, but had no steel experience and was currently selling cell phones for a living. But he needed a foreman and I figured it was my birthright so we started negotiating. He agreed to pay me $18 an hour so I was ready to quit my current job. It was a pay cut but I figured I'd work my way back up.

My employment lasted a shift. I got to ride around and take a tour of the mill with the superintendent and then he took me to my job. They were going to have me cutting tube rounds as my training, which was cool with me (tube rounds meaning solid steel logs that had not been pierced to make seamless pipe).

I just sat in an elevated office, and when the rounds came down the table I would stop them and press a button that made the plasma cutter come down and cut it to length. This took me back to my childhood. I lived 5 minutes from this mill and in the summer with the windows open I would lay in bed and hear steel clanging around all night. When the rounds were cut they dropped from the table to the floor; I think this is the sound I grew up hearing.

The superintendent came back at the end of the day to have me sign the paperwork. He hands it to me and it says $11.00 an hour. I say what's this? I'm making forty some thousand a year to stand in the air conditioning and talk to pretty girls at the cell phone shop, what happened to the $18 an hour? He stuck to the $11 an hour offer, something about policy or some bullshit, I told him to stick it. 

Alright, one more personal story then I'll show yins the rest of the photos. I was showing these images to my pops and he sees this overhead crane that was laying out in the yard. He says wait is that Brier Hill, I say yeah why? Turns out he hauled this crane here from what was J&L Steel Aliquippa works when they were demolishing that mill. 

Ok I lied, one more personal connection. My cousin was an Ironworker on the V&M expansion project. Part of the plans for the expansion, which is right next to where this building was, was to strip the building to the beams and then re-sheet and reuse it. Once they spent the man hours stripping it down, they realized the structure was out of plumb and could not be used. Photo of the skeleton below. They eventually tore the whole thing down and the foundation is now an exterior pipe yard. 

Click to enlarge the photos in the gallery below. 

All images copyright Paul Grilli / The Rust Jungle 2018

Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co.

Campbell, O. - This class photo, dated 1925, shows students from Penhale school. If you look closely you can make out the Sheet & Tube Campbell works through the smoke in the background.  

Photo courtesy of Ohio Memory Collection  

Photo courtesy of Ohio Memory Collection  

Mahoning River Archaeology

Steel Valley, O. - The Mahoning River forms in Columbiana County and merges with the Shenango river just south of New Castle, PA to form the Beaver River.

This river served as the main artery for the miles and miles of steel mills that once lined the Mahoning. The mills used huge amounts of water for various purposes which was pumped in from the river, and eventually returned. Industrial waste and super heated water poured into the river for a century. The river did not freeze, even in the frigid north east Ohio winters, for decades. When the local steel industry began to collapse in the 70s and 80s the Mahoning finally began to freeze again, but even with the mills closed the river still showed the scars from the area's industrial past. The levels of heavy metals, PCBs and other contaminants made the Mahoning one of the most polluted in the United States.

There has always been a stigma around the river, people would say that there were three eyed fish that lived in it and that you would be poisoned if you swam in it. The river is cleaner now, it's safe to eat small amounts of the fish even, but people still made those comments when I told them I was going to 'yak the riv as they say.

Pollution or no pollution, I still wanted to explore the river to see the Steel Valley's industry from a vantage point that most people never have or will. Years ago, my cousin suggested we make a raft from 55 gallon drums and scrap lumber to float down the river, so I started doing a little research. I really wanted to float from Newton Falls, all down through Warren (WCI Steel was still in business then, it would have been something to pass between the blast fce. and BOF sides of the active mill), Niles, McDonald, Girard, Youngstown, Campbell, Struthers, Lowellville and New Castle through the remains of industry. I found a few river maps online, and saw that there were dams and obstructions that seemed like they could kill us all along the river so we tabled that idea.

Earlier this year I was contacted by Chuck Miller from the Mahoning River Paddling & Restoration Group who saw the story WFMJ TV21 did on this site. He was familiar with the river, how to kayak it safely, and offered to loan me a boat and take me from Youngstown to Lowellville. I let him know that hell yes I wanted to go.

We started just south of the abandoned steel truss bridge that was West Avenue when it still crossed the river. We paddled down past the B&O station, under the Peanut bridge and then the Marshall Street bridge. There were stretches of the Mahoning near that point that looked nothing like Youngstown, it was like being out in Cook's Forest. Very quiet, very beautiful. Peaceful. It's a shame the river has never been dredged and the dams have been left behind. If that happened it could be a terrific recreation area. I was there to see the dams though, there is something to be said about all of that industry being overtaken by nature.


The first industrial relic we came across was just past where the William Tod Co. / Wean United stood, south of the Market Street bridge. (No traces of the Tod Co. remained.) The Covelli Centre replaced Republic Steel, but the water intake still exisits. The same intake is pictured on this postcard and appears on this map dated 1884. Built to last in Youngstown.

Compare the postcard above to the modern photo below. The trees along the riverbank have really bounced back, not just here but all along the river; it was amazong kayaking throguh that tree canopy. 

Across from where the Republic mill was I noticed what looked like a boxcar on the hill just down from the active railroad tracks. That is definitely a boxcar, or at least a mangled part of one. A CSX freight train happened to pass by as I was photographing this wreck and wondering how the hell it got there.

The next two photos are the remaining pier for what was Cedar Street when it used to cross the river, and a piece of 2" threaded rod that was growing out of the hillside just before the next Republic Steel mill we came across: the Hazelton works. 

This pipe jutting out of the man made stacked stone retaining wall was the first indication that we were back in an industrial area. A bird was hanging around inside of that pipe, it flew out and startled the hell out of me. I missed the shot.

We were entering what was a a highly industrialized stretch of river, see the image from Youngstown, Ohio: Steel Valley Artifacts below. From this point down to Lowellville we passed places that employed relatives of mine. Youngstown Sheet & Tube (John D. Grilli, Dominick Grilli, Don Meenachan, Bob Grilli, John W. Grilli [via Industrial Mill Service]), J&L Steel/Cold Metal Products (Albert Grilli) who also drew water from the river all the way from the other side of YS&T, but I couldn't find their intake. Further down would have been Sharon Steel's Lowellville works (Mario Grilli and possibly Freddie Retort). These men that spent years here were on my mind the entire time.


Courtesy Youngstown, Ohio: Steel Valley Artifacts

Two monolithic Republic shed buildings, visible in the photo above, peek through the heavy tree cover on the banks of the river.

The bridge piers {L} and abutment {R} below. Per Rick Rowlands of Youngstown Steel Heritage: "Since it would connect the Republic track from Brown Bonnell to the operations at the other side of the river I would say that it was a Republic Steel bridge.  Possibly the route by which hot metal got to the open hearth from the blast furnaces."

Below: A Republic Steel shed and a sand tower that I would say is 100' tall.

Below: Republic Steel Corp. intake. The river was a bit low that day so you were able to see the intake grates exposed at the bottom of this structure.

Below: A section of brick wall that I assume was pushed into the river during the demolition of the Republic Steel Hazelton works.

Below: Another Republic Steel rail bridge which is abandoned, and in the background standes the still active Norfolk Southern (formerly Pennsylvania Railroad) Youngstown line and yard office. 

The next images are from the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company's Campbell works, beginning with this image of a tree that has grown around several lengths of pipe. There were rail lines at the top of this bank that ran through the Sheet & Tube propoerty, I wonder if pipe spilled off of a train that was moving it around in the mill.

The photo below was taken from underneath of the shiny new Walton Street bridge, with a Sheet & Tube bridge in the background. The remaining bridge is very industrial in it's design, it features an expanded metal deck and large diameter pipes that ran across it. The really interesting item here is the abandoned bridge pier in the foreground. 

This pier supported the original Walton Street bridge, which was the main entrance to Youngstown Sheet & Tube. There is a very Youngstown story behind the reason that bridge had to be replaced, one that involves a shot and a beer bar that steelworkers used to frequent right up Walton St.

I will leave names out of this, but here is the story of the Walton Street bridge and the Bloom Butt Inn as it was told to me: "When they cut the ends of a slab (bloom) off to get the right length for the order , it's called a bloom butt. Three guys on midnight shift pulled a scam where one guy ran a locomotive crane, one drove truck and the third guy did the hooking and unhooking. They would sell the butts as scrap in Pittsburgh. After a while they got lazy and started taking the butts to New Castle to sell as scrap. YS&T would periodically check scrap yards to see if anything came from them. YS&T found about $180,000.00 worth of receipts from just New Castle. They fired the three guys. One eventually bought the Walton bar and named it The Bloom Butt Inn. Don't know about one of the guys, but the locomotive driver got his job back after about a year. One day on day shift he was running late at the end of his shift and was rushing back to the shop in the loco crane and forgot to put the boom down. He hit the bridge that went to Walton street knocking it out of whack. The bridge was never able to be used after that. Men going into the mill from Walton street had to go down steps to ground level and take a round about way to get into the plant." 

Below is a photo of the aformentioned bridge in the 80's when they were tearing down the Campbell works. She looks a little bit out of plumb.

Courtesy Sean Posey


I could not find any information on this Bloom Butt Inn online, but with today being the 40th anniversary of Black Monday (learn more about that here, and the impact it had on my family here and here  ) there has been a lot of talk about Youngstown's steel industry in the media. I was watching a segment on the shutdowns on WKBN and sure as shit they cut from a shot of the mill to interviews of people at "a mill bar" they called it. The Bloom Butt Inn.

Courtesy WFMJ

I don't think stealing all that scrap was an ethical decision, but skimming off the top is as Youngstown as pierogies and homemade cavatels. Anyhow, enough with story time. The next image was the main water intake for Youngstown Sheet & Tube, located just southeast of where the blast furnaces once stood.

The remains of a massive dam that sat between the coke plant and blast furnaces. Per Rick Rowlands: "Dam to create cooling water pool for Campbell Works.  A tramway that hauled coke in self propelled transfer cars ran over a trestle built on top of this dam."

Intake and pump house for the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Struthers works. The water pulled from this location was needed for the 9" and 12" bar mills (where my grandpa was a craneman) as well as the conduit plant and powerhouse.

Below are photos of the former Sharon Steel Corp.'s pump houses that served their Lowellville works. "Sharon Steel Lowellville Works pump house.  Actually there are two pump houses.  This one is the oldest of the two.  It was replaced by the larger one next to it. This one might date back to the Ohio Iron & Steel Co. days"

The newer of the two (but still long forgotten) Sharon Steel pumphouse.

A nine mile trip down the Mahoning River revealed another side of our industrial heritage that needed to be documented, and I feel lucky to have been able to do that. These buildings will likely stand for years and years, there is more concrete than steel scrap, plus you would never know they were down there. Out of sight out of mind. I like to think I changed that.



Unless otherwise noted, all photos copyright Paul Grilli - The Rust Jungle 2017

Youngstown Sheet & Tube Corp.

Campbell, O. - Today is the eve of the 40th anniversary of Black Monday, the day that Youngstown Sheet & Tube announced they would put 5,000 men (including 5 of my relatives, whether laid off immediatley or allowed to retire) out of work by closing the massive Campbell works. 

Frank Castro, who has contributed many memories to this site, sat down with the Youngstown Vindicator to share his story of that infamous day. He has an interesting perspective on the closure, including how he was still installing new machinery right up until the end and lost a finger in the mill just before he lost his livelihood. The video of his interview is below.

Sharon Steel Corp.

Farrell, PA. - I was contacted by Jason W. in response to the video posted showing the Norman Rockwell series he painted of steelworkers at Sharon Steel. His great grandfather Bob Addicott was one of the men featured in the paintings, working in vacuum degassing.

Here is a YouTube video that discusses the paintings, and features an interview with two of the men Rockwell painted, one being Mr. Addicott. 

Jason also included the photo below of his grandfather working in the same mill. Pictured is his grandfather at the top of the steps, watching the pouring a heat at the electric furnace.

The mill still runs, but the electric furnace is long gone. Below is a video of the failed attempts at demolishing this building. Per the video author: "This was the Sharon Steel Corp. electric furnace. Not enough explosives to bring this down. There was a second attempt about a week later, which also didn't have enough explosives. They then tried to pull this down manually with a cable and a bulldozer, which also didn't work. The building actually blew down with some high winds a few days later.".

Republic Steel Corp.

Youngstown, O. - These photos were submitted to the site by Eugene K., of Hermitage PA. Gene was kind enough to mail me actual prints of the decommissioned blast furnaces at Republic Steel's Hazelton furnaces that he developed in the 80's. These were taken sometime between shut down and demolition. I have not seen photos from these angles before and couldn't be more pleased to share them with you all. Posterity baby. 

Here is a bit more about Gene's connection to the steel industry in his words: "I grew up in Boardman in the late seventies/early eighties. My father was a steelworker. He worked for a short time at the Edgar Thompson USS works in Braddock, PA out of high school, then he moved to Youngstown after WWII and worked at GF (General Fireproofing) for 42 years. I sort of grew up around the mills since my maternal Grandmother lived in Strudders and my paternal Grandmother lived on Campbell. I do remember the smells of quenching coke, watching slag trucks go down Lowellville Rd with red hot loads or crossing Center St. bridge at night and seeing the molten iron flowing out of the blast furnace and the workers dressed in their fire suits!"

What great photos, and a quintessential Steel Valley story to go along with them. Thanks again for submitting Gene! 

Republic Steel Corp. Sign Shop

Warren, O. - In the days before vinyl graphics and digital printers, sign makers used a brush, One Shot sign paint, and a steady hand. Republic Steel had a sign shop in their Warren works that hand lettered safety signs, trucks and locomotives among other things. Their work could be seen at the Warren plant, as well as the Youngstown mills, Niles works and Newton Falls plant. The photo below was taken by Rick Rowlands of Youngstown Steel Heritage Foundation during an auction of former Republic/WCI/RG Steel equipment as the new owner was preparing to scrap the mill. I wish that sign shop sign could have been preserved damn it, it is a testament to the dying art form of hand lettered signs. And basic steelmaking. 

By night I am a guerrilla historian, but day I am a mild mannered project manager for a commercial sign company. I enjoy the work, it pays the bills and lets me travel, but the projects that really excite me are the ones that involve a real live sign painter. It is truly an art form that is dying before my eyes. These people (wall dogs and letterheads they call themselves) are incredibly difficult to find. I am up to the challenge of finding a painter when a customer requests it, I feel like I am doing something to preserve the craft. Some of the work can be emulated with a vinyl plotter and a decent graphic designer but it is just not the same. 

Case in point: the hard hats below. I had been looking for the man that lettered the 35 or 40 years of service anniversary hard hats that were given to Republic Steel employees in the Youngstown district.

Thanks to this website, and the power of the internet, I was able to locate the man who is not only still alive, but still practicing his craft!! I was excited just to talk to him for a moment, but when he agreed to letter a hard hat for me like the ones he used to do down the mill I was ecstatic. This is now one of my prize possessions, one that I will keep for the rest of my life. Hand lettered and signed by the man himself, Jack Tolson. Below are photos of my new hat next to the one he wore in the mill for years. 

Since my time working in the steel industry consisted of a half a shift cutting tube rounds down the former Youngstown Sheet & Tube Brier Hill works, I didn't think it would be right to ask him to put 30 years of service on the hat. Instead, he included The Rust Jungle logo, which is a tribute to the YST hook and bucket logo. He was also kind enough to put on some origioanl Republic Steel, WCI Steel, and RG Steel stickers on it that he still had from his time down there. Jack worked there that long, starting in the 50's in the galvanized department. He's a great guy with great stories to tell. I must have been at his house for an hour and a half shooting the shit with him.

"Sign Painter - Paint Shop"

When I heard they were tearing down the blast furnace, I frantically starting calling the demo company in an effort to purchase the remaining signage in the mill. I had seen the hand painted signs on the exterior, assumed the same guy that lettered the hats painted them, and was on a mission to see them preserved. 

As I was offering cash, the contractor allowed me access to the entire blast fce. side of the mill. My requests since that day requesting a quote to purchase the signs have gone unanswered. I am only looking to buy a small amount of scrap metal, not tons, so the sons of bitches don't have time to reply. To hell with em. 

I planned on donating most of the signs to the Youngstown Steel Heritage Foundation to be displayed, but to no avail. I did photograph them, and they can't sell that to the Chinese as scrap. See below for some examples of Jack's handiwork. 



"DANGER - DO NOT STAND IN FRONT OF CANNON" This safety sign was referencing an air cannon that would keep migratory birds out of some holding pond. It also did a great job of keeping residents of Warren awake. It was some EPA regulation. The pond is gone, the cannon is gone, the BOF side of the mill is gone, but this sign Jack painted remians. 

Copyright Paul Grilli - The Rust Jungle 2017

"TRUCKS OVER 5 TON - STOP - STAY ON R.R. TRACK" -  This sign was just before the hot metal bridge that ran over Main Ave. that would take molten iron from the blast fce. side over to basic oxygen furnace to be converted to steel. The bridge is to the right, the cold blast furnace peeks up to the left. 

Copyright Paul Grilli - The Rust Jungle 2017

"MAHONING VALLEY DISTRICT - FIRE BRIGADE COMPETITION" - I found this years ago inside a boxcar across Pine Ave. from Republic. Apparently it referred to a competition between the fire departments in different Republic mills in the Steel Valley. 

Copyright Paul Grilli - The Rust Jungle 2017

Another example of Jack's work. 

Copyright Rick Rowlands

So that's it. Even if the demolition company wouldn't sell me the signs and is content to let them go to the scrap heap, I still have a piece of our history. 

Carnegie Steel Co.

Youngstown, O. - This photo appears to show the dedication of the new company owned playground near Carnegie's Upper and Lower Union Mills. I am not sure of the location, but with the mill so close in the background I'll guess it was in the Crescent Street/West Federal area somewhere. 


Youngstown, O. - John D. Grilli was so much more than a Sheet & Tube retiree. He was my grandpa. He was a loving husband to my grandma. He was the person that raised my dad right. He was the guy that tanned my hide, so to speak, when I stepped out of line. He was a kind man of few words. He worked 35 years down the mill after he saw unspeakable things in the Philippines during the war. He grew grapes and made wine on North Bon Air behind the house he built from that steel mill money. He had enough time in to retire after Black Monday and bought a truck, and put my dad to work hauling steel with his pension. He was a fucking man's man. He is the man I strive to be. 


Sharon Steel Corp.

Farrell, Penna - The still standing Cowper stoves that held the super heated hot blast, or wind as it was called, for the long demolished blast furnaces at the former Sharon Steel works in Farrell, PA. This mill is now owned by NLMK, a Russian outfit. They still operate finishing mills here, but there's no need for a blast fce. when your basic steel is shipped in as slabs from mother Russia.

This photo was taken in 2008, the furnaces fell in 1995. See below for a heart breaking article from the Sharon Herald.

Copyright Paul Grilli 2017

At 6 p.m. Friday, “Judy” died.

Cause of death: Nobody wanted to pay to keep her alive.

Standing nearly 110 feet tall and dressed in blackened steel, she was hardly the most attractive gal in town. Yet, when she belched out smoke, she was beloved.

Sharon Steel Corp.'s No 2 blast furnace, nicknamed Judy, met its fate with explosives and crashed to the earth with a “kathump.” The No.3 furnace, which stood next to No. 2, was felled at the same time. An old No. 1 furnace housed at the mill was dismantled about 70 years ago.

Accompanied by a flash of yellow light, the explosion could be heard for miles around the Farrell steel mill.

Steel from both furnaces will be picked apart and sold for scarp.

The Schoonover Co. paid $1.65 million for the right to scrap parts of the Farrell mill. The Ecorse, Mich., company began its estimated 10-month project in December. Sharon Steel owns land on the section of the mill Schoonover is scrapping.

Ray Schoonover, owner of the company, estimated that both furnaces combined will yield 15, 000 tons of steel.

One hundred pounds of plastic explosive was needed to blow up the furnaces, said Doug Loizeaux, vice president of Controlled Demolition Inc. Schoonover hired the Phoenix. Md., company to demolish both furnaces.

An hour before pushing the button that set off the explosive, Loizaaux briefly explained that each furnace was supported by eight cast steel legs. Schoonover tore out two legs in each furnace before Friday. CDI thought the legs were made of cast iron, which is more brittle and easier to explode than cast steel.

“We had to use twice as much explosive than we thought, ” Loizeaux said.

Success or failure in a demolition project is immediately known.

“It's fun,” he said of his work. “You get to meet a lot of people. ”

Judy received much attention during the 1960's when the aging No. 1 furnace needed to be replaced. At the time, Sharon Steel said it needed No. 2 repaired to survive.

When the repaired No. 2 furnace was dedicated in 1968, it was named after then-Farrell resident Judy Nath. She and her husband, Charles, had owned a consulting firm that helped secure a $5.2 million federal Urban Development Action Grant for the project. Nath, who died in 1987, had been city manager and redevelopment director in Farrell.

His widow has since remarried and now lives in Pullman, Wash.

A blast furnace produces molten iron ore that is used to make steel. When operating, the No. 2 furnace could produce about 60,000 tons of iron ore a month. Sharon Steel idled the furnace when it closed the mill in November 1992. Later that month, Sharon Steel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company is now selling all its assets to pay its creditors.

Caparo Inc., which bought much of the mill from Sharon Steel in December, didn't want the blast furnaces. Instead, Caparo will use the two electric furnaces at the mill to produce steel.

Immediately after the blast and the crash of the furnaces, an excited Schoonover employee could be heard congratulating Loizeaux over two-way radio.

“Great job. You're the best in the world,” the worker said.

Loizeaux tried to calm him down.

“Don't tell me what a great job I did, just give me my paycheck,” Loizeaux joked.


Here are some thoughts on the demise of “Judy” from those who were involved with Sharon Steel Corp:

  • Judith Breedlove,for whom the No. 2 furnace was named. She and her husband, the late Charles Nath, operated a consulting firm that helped secure federal funding for the No. 2 furnace that resulted in the furnace being repaired for reuse in 1988. She's now a teacher in Pullman, Wash. What I'll remember the most about the furnace is the hours we spent on the phone with Sharon Steel officials about what was needed to get the funding. We tried to take the middle-or-the-road approach to make everyone happy and get the project approved. ”
  • Henry Evans,former vice chairman at Sharon Steel who worked at the mill since 1933. He now is a consultant with Caparo Steel Co., which bought much of the Farrell mill. “If they would have gotten a continuous caster, Sharon Steel would still be there with the blast furnace producing steel. If there was a caster in there now, that place would be booming.”
  • Phillip A. Smalley,former senior vice president of human resources at Sharon Steel, He now is a managed health care and employment relations consultant. “I don't look at it with a sense of saddness. It signals the plant has changed from an integrated mill to a mini-mill, and that's long overdue. The man who uses yesterday's methods in today's work won't be in busninss tomorrow. ”
  • Eugene C. Pacsi, mayor of Farrell, “ I think when Caparo (Steel) came in, we knew at the time they weren't going to use the blast furnace. Time goes by, and there's a different way to run a steel mill. In a way, I'm glad we'll still have a steel mill … but there are a lot of memories there though. ”
  • Howard Clark, former president of United Steelworkers Local 1197, which represented 2,200 production and maintenance workers at Sharon Steel. Clark is now retired. “It's a sad day, and it's a sad situation - but that's the way it is. I know one thing, it's sure a shame that all those people who worked there all those years lost their retirement health care benefits. ”

Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co.

No location given - A Bessemer Converter blow lighting up the mill at Youngstown Sheet & Tube. Not to be confused with Bessemer Street on the Westside, or Bessemer, PA., this was the method for turning iron to steel prior to the open hearth process. They would blow oxygen through the hot iron and the impurities would puke out of the top and rain down like hell fire and brimstone. That's what you're seeing here. 

If you want to see one of these beasts in person they have preserved one at Station Square in Pittsburgh. That converter was built by the Pennsylvania Engineering Corp. on the south side of New Castle which was demolished recently. The converter is cold now, but it originally worked at Ambridge, PA. 

Ambridge is an odd name right? It was a company town, full of employees of the US Steel subsidiary American Bridge Co. Get it, Am Bridge?  

Stop 5 Riot

Youngstown, O. - Today, 6/19/2017, marks the 80 year anniversary of the Stop 5 Riot at the gates of Republic Steel on Poland Avenue. This event is one that should never be forgotten. 

Below is an eyewitness account of the bloodshed that took place that day, which was called ladies day where the picket lines were manned by wives of the striking workers. There are other accounts out there, from the police and the chairman of the board of Repbulic at that time, but we should start here. 

Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

The most important passage from this account, in my opinion, is this: "Soon thereafter, the sky was lit up with flares fired from the plant and was followed with a fusillade of machine gun fire from the overhead cranes in the old tube mill". Jesus Criminelli. 

The Vindicator reported that over 160,000 rounds of ammunition were purchased for the strike between Youngstown Sheet & Tube and Republic Steel. Let that sink in. 

The photos of National Guard machine gunners below were taken in Warren not long after the Stop 5 incident. 

Machine gunners on hot metal bridge in Warren. Trumbull Cliffs furnace in background. Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Machine gunners on hot metal bridge in Warren. Trumbull Cliffs furnace in background. Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Machine gunners on Pine Avenue in Warren. Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Machine gunners on Pine Avenue in Warren. Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

The strikers were not innocent in all of this, at least some of them were waging warfare against the company. I'm not saying this should have given the company a license to kill, but they used it as justification. Photos of sabotage below.

Derailed box cars on Pine Avenue in Warren. Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Derailed box cars on Pine Avenue in Warren. Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Pennsylvania Rail Road cars with hoppers opened up. Looks like they were hauling in limestone for the Blast Fce. Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Pennsylvania Rail Road cars with hoppers opened up. Looks like they were hauling in limestone for the Blast Fce. Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

There was so much tension at the Republic mills becuase they refused to close them, and still had employees working inside that didn't support the union. See below for telegraphs that were sent to holdouts in the Warren works.

Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Segregated religious services were held for the holdouts in the mills, who were forced to live in the plants for fear of reprisal as they left the gates. 

Employee housing near the stainless mill. Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Employee housing near the stainless mill. Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Images below show how strong the tensions were between both sides. The holdouts in the mill hung an effigy of a CIO striker at the No. 1 hot strip mill, the strikers prepared a gate ramming car to breach the line.

Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

All of this fighting and bloodshed was all for naught. The union still was unable to organize, and after the murders at Stop 5 the National Guard was deployed and put the strike down for good. The union may have gained some ground, but 80 years later these mills are either demolished, in the process of being demo'd, or sitting there rusting. The photo below was taken days after the killings in Youngstown. They repealed the beer ban that was in place during the strike, and it was back to business as usual. 

Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Courtesy of Ohio Memory Connection. 

Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co.

Youngstown, O. - Photos of "Americanization Classes" at a community hall owned and operated by the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. There is not a date or location called out, but I am guessing this was from the early 1900's and located somewhere along Wilson Avenue. The location is a guess, but an educated one, based on the tin ceilings shown in the photos that are similar to one's I have seen at buildings down there that sat across from the Campbell works. I'm assuming this would have been located near the mill so the employees could walk to it. 

In the full size version of the image above, you can make out the lettering on the window, that states "Free Night School and Reading Room For Foreign Speaking Men and Women - Community Hall - Reading Writing Spelling". Sheet & Tube didn't have a problem hiring immigrants, or segregating them by department, but you better get your ass assimilated pronto. This may have been in response to the riots during the steel strike in 1919, when the company decided to do more for the employees to ensure that East Youngstown (later renamed Campbell for the president of the company) was not burned again. 

I've seen the framed photos on the wall before, I'm pretty sure some images from this series hang in my Westside breakfast spot The Donut Oven, I mean Landmark. 

The William B. Pollock Co.

Youngstown, O. - A ladle ready to ship out from the William B. Pollock Co. in the 1970s, destined for the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co.'s Indiana Harbor works. Although Pollock and Sheet & Tube are out of business, the Indiana Harbor mill still makes steel, operated by Arcelor Mittal.