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.
Struthers, O. - When it opened in 1957 the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Gateway Yard was considered a major milestone in the timeline of the P&LE. The yard was over 5 miles long, stretching from from Center St. to Lowellville, and handling freight for many of the area's heavy industrial concerns. They didn't call this railroad The Little Giant for nothing, the P&LE moved more tonnage than average for such a short railroad. It only operated between Youngstown and Pittsburgh, but think how many steel mills they serviced.
Here are some photos I took down there, mostly from 03/04, so excuse the low resolution/poor quality. I feel fortunate to have taken photos of the footbridge into the yard before it was demolished, and of the rooftop sign before some white rappers from Poland turned it into a billboard for suburban struggle music.
The P&LE's history in the Youngstown area goes back much further than 1957, they actually owned and operated a dining hall and a YMCA on Wilson Avenue, directly across from the Campbell water plant. Check out this Sanborn map from 1928.
The P&LE was completely absorbed into CSX in 1993. The photos below were taken 10 years later when the footbridge from Wilson Avenue into the yard still stood. I was always fascinated by this bridge. Think about how many hardworking people walked to work, or took a bus from Youngstown/Campbell/Struthers/Lowelville, and crossed this bridge every day.
I'm assuming the workers that crossed that bridge walked directly through this man tunnel that went under the hump. There wasn't much light at the end of it when I was down there.
The photo below is one of my favorites I took down there, a long forgotten employee directory. I love seeing the writing that was left on the walls by guys that were laid off years ago. Who are these guys, where are they now? Why did Blackie suck? Were Sam, Frank, Natale and Al the kind of guys you would want to drink a beer with after work on Friday, at the same bar on Wilson Avenue you cashed your check at?
Below - Clockwise from top: Sink - Medical Station - Union sticker - Missing control panel in hump yard tower - locker detail - car barn grease bay
Below - Clockwise from top: Main hump yard tower and the hump - PSA - Demolished - RR propaganda
Below - Clockwise from top: Hump yard tower - Open manhole - Remnants of last crew - Rain lockers - Another yard tower - Locker room
This yard tower was located down in Lowellville at the far end of the yard. It was re-purposed by kids that rode the rails. I wish I had more photos, but you can see some hobo graffiti above the window in the second image. There was a notebook where different freight train riders signed in with where they were from and where they were going. Remarks about the weather and which trains you had to wait on for hours to pull out. There was a track map scrawled on the wall, with arrows pointing to Cleveland, Pittsburgh etc. It was fascinating.
Struthers, O. - Photo taken 5/28/1937, less than a month before the Stop 5 massacre at Republic Steel during the Little Steel Strike. A bunch of bad ass female pickets at Sheet and Tube.
Steel Valley, O. - Let's talk baseball. At one point, company sanctioned or sponsored sports teams were the norm in the Valley.
I started looking into this because my mom knew a friend of mine's mother from playing with her for General Electric's softball team. She played for a team made up of employee's from GE's Youngstown Lamp plant and Austintown Coil. Not sure if the Warren plants, where she worked originally, had their own teams or what.
Warren, O. - I thought my mom's mom was in a Copperweld Steel Co. ladies bowling league for some reason but apparently I was wrong. What I did find out was that my grandpa played for Copperweld's ball club. The 35" mill kittyballers!!! Man I wish I had that shirt. My gramps is second from the right, squatting down. See below. Thanks to Aunt Denise for this photo.
Youngstown, O. - Carnegie-Illinois Steel Co's ball team. This photo is from the 1920s. Carnegie controlled the Ohio Works, the Upper Union Mills (Crescent St area) and the Lower Union Mills (near West Ave on the north side of the river). I wonder if each mill fielded it's own team, or if they all played as the Youngstown district. The "Lower Union Mills" jerseys throw me off. The block C on their hats reminds me of the Indians logo, which reminds me of the phrase "We're underway, at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario!" - Tom Hamilton, best announcer in baseball. Image below courtesy of the Ohio History Collection.
Youngstown, O. - Found this in a General Fireproofing company bulletin I acquired. Looks like they had a pretty mean softball team. Lots of familiar last names in this one. Maloney's, Palermo's, Tyndall's, Russo's, Zarlenga's. I posted something on FB about GF, and people were telling me they had a beautiful ball field down off Logan Avenue. Image below.
Youngstown, O. - Labor Day, 1939. Two years after the deadly Stop 5 riot during the Little Steel Strike. The boys from the Youngstown Sheet and Tube ball club posing for a photo at Idora Park. Image below courtesy of the Ohio History Collection.
Struthers, O. - An iconic image of a Youngstown Sheet and Tube ballgame at Campbell Park dated 1926. The blast furnaces at the Campbell works, and all of their beautiful soot, across Poland Avenue in the background. Image below courtesy of the Ohio History Collection.
Steel Valley, O. - I was in Youngstown a couple weekends back, and went ghost sign hunting. Found some gems I want people to see so here you go.
Youngstown, O. - The William B. Pollock Company.
Never thought I would find something this historically significant. I came across this on accident, was down the bottom of Himrod Avenue looking for this company, but was looking at the wrong building. Gave up and went next door to photgraph the old 10/90 warehouse (a dress factory converted to a semi legal skate park in the 90s), looked up and saw something painted on the wall of the building across the street. Sure and begorrah it was the logo for the William B. Pollock Co. You can barely make out the logo on the wall, but check out the Pollock ad below and compare the two. Founded in 1863, this company built America. They engineered and built blast furnaces and hot metal cars. This plant right at the end of Federal St. had a hand in revolutionizing the steel industry. They were responsible for engineering and building the Trumbull Cliffs furnace, which I believe at that time was the largest blast furnace in the world. This furnace was owned by Republic Steel, WCI Steel, Severstal and RG Steel. She is the last blast furnace in the Steel Valley, and is in the midst of demolition.
Girard, O. - Youngstown Sheet and Tube Brier Hill Works.
This is a two for one bonus. Behind the fading "Syro Steel Brier Hill Div" ghost sign, you can see the yellow and black sign they painted over peeking through. The original sign proudly read "Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company". I know this because there was an identical Sheet and Tube sign on the side of the Struthers works that faced the river/Wilson Ave. That building is gone, but I photographed it 15 years ago or so, see bottom photo (old photo, excuse poor quality). If you zoom in on the current photo, you will see the "Syro Steel Entrance" sign on the sloped building that is dwarfed by that roof vent that is sitting on the ground. This was an underground entrance into the mill, and man I want to go down there.
Niles, O. - Republic Steel
I took this photo just over 10 years ago. I went back recently to photograph it again with a better camera, only to find they painted it over. Glad I got this when I did.
Youngstown, O. - The Snyder-Bentley Co.
I don't know much about this company, except they are located across the street from what was Carnegie Steel's Upper Union Mills. The were an industrial distributor of some sort formed in the 20's, and they have a cool looking sign.
Youngstown, O.- Brier Hill Slag Co.
This isn't a ghost sign in the traditional sense I suppose, but it's gone so it applies to me. Damn I wish I would have preserved this thing. This sat in front of what was Sheet and Tube Brier Hill works. I took this as they were tearing down the YST office building in the background. I think Youngstown Steel Heritage ( http://www.todengine.org/ ) has the engraved stone sign that was at the top of the building that read "Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company".
Warren, O. - Copperweld Steel Co.
This isn't a ghost sign either, but my grandpa worked here 33 years so you're going to have to deal with looking at it. Did you know during WWII Copperweld rolled and stretched uranium for the war effort? My grandpa was away fighting ze Germans, but when he came home he worked a rolling mill out there. Wonder if it was one that rolled the radioactive material for the Manhattan Project.