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. Today marks the the 35th anniversary of not only my first memory as a child, but the end of one hell of an era in Youngstown history. The day the four remaining blast furnaces in Youngstown fell.
I vividly remember the day it happened. If you looked out of our front window, across the street you could see the tops of these monolithic structures peeking up over Jimmy Sebena's roof. Jimmy was awesome. His daughter saved my brother's life. Jimmy told me after they landed at Normandy they confiscated all this French money. Said he won so much in the dice games he came home damn near rich, but it was like Monopoly money over there. He called me Pauley and enjoyed sitting on his front porch and spitting. All night in the summer, between the sounds of the Harleys roaring up Hazelwood and the tube rounds clanging around down the former Sheet & Tube Brier Hill works, you would hear Jimmy hawker. But that's neither here nor there.
Back to April 28th, 1982. My mom brought me to our picture window, and opened the front door so we could hear the explosion. I remember looking over the roof of the Sebena's and watching "the smokestacks" as I called them start to lean. You felt the house shake, and then you heard the explosion. It blew my young mind that the sound came later. I didn't know much about physics at just shy of 3 years old. I also didn't know much about the steel industry and how the fact they abandoned my hometown would effect the economy and my life in general either, but that would change.
I attended an old timers reunion at the Youngstown Historical Center of Labor and Industry last year, and got to sit down with one of the last US Steel employees in the Steel Valley. Tom was named Project Engineer, and was tasked with selling off the remaining USS properties, and oversaw the demolition of the Ohio Works. The demo company provided him a stack of photos of the demo, which was meant to be used as a flip book. Below is a video of him flipping through the shots at that event.
Tom was nice enough to give me a copy of a transcript of a speech he had recently given, which details the fate of every damn US Steel property in the Valley. Definitly worth a read if you're into that subject. Which I sure as hell am.
McDonald, O. This is the only video I have personally seen that was taken inside when US Steel still operated the McDonald Works, and a home movie at that! In addition to hot steel being rolled, there are shots of the no. 14 and no. 15 overhead cranes.
The video is courtesy of Chris Kalis, who's late father Michael "Mickey" Kalis, is pictured in the video. In addition to being a craneman at the McDonald Works, he was an Army veteran, published musician, home builder, and owned both Siciliano's Restaurant and the Calabria Lounge on the Westside of Youngstown. Sounds like he lived a full life.
Youngstown, O. -This photo is dated 1947, I am guessing this was a rebuild of the #4 blast furnace. This photo features questionable safety practices and a nice birds eye view of the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Brier Hill works in the background. The caption reads "Sledging shrink link into place on top ring casting at US Steel Ohio Works Youngstown Ohio"
Photo courtesy of the Ohio Memory Project.
Youngstown, O. Installation of a goggle valve (fabricated by the William Pollock Co., of Youngstown, O.) at the US Steel Ohio works in the 1940s.
Goggle valve info:
In a blast furnace there is a need to control flows of high temperature and dirty, dust-laden gases. A goggle valve is a type of large industrial valve designed for this type of use. They are another signature item on a blast furnace.
Goggle valves earned their name because the valve plate has two equal circular areas each defined by a sealing ring on both faces of the plate. One circular area is solid and the other is completely open. These two adjacent circular areas resemble a giant pair of eye-goggles. When the solid area is across the valve passage, it blocks the flow of fluid through the valve, and when the open area is across the valve passage, fluid flows freely through the valve. There is no intermediate position. It is either open or closed.
To actuate the goggle valve is a two-step operation. First, a section of the valve body moves in an axial direction to unclamp the goggle plate. This movement is quite small, on the order of a fraction of an inch or so, just enough clearance to allow the goggle plate to move in its housing. Then the goggle plate moves. In older designs it rotates on an arc. That is the type modeled in this kit. The valves body then moves axially back to clamp the valve and seal the perimeter of the openings.
On blast furnaces the valve body is usually exposed to the atmosphere, since small leaks during opening and closing are generally not a problem. This makes the mechanism highly visible. However, in chemical plants, goggle valves are encased in a bonnet to capture any leakage during the actuation.
Goggle valves have two main advantages. First they tend to be compact and can fit in tight confines, though on a blast furnace this is not normally an issue. Secondly, when open, the valve presents a smooth surface to the gas flow. Other valve designs, such as a gate valve, tend to have a valve seat. In a high volume flow with hot dirty gases, the valve seat can cause cavitation, a kind of a bubbling turbulence, which wears away the valve seat and requires expensive maintenance. On the other hand, goggle valves tend to be more expensive to initially install than other types.
Industrial themed sculptures in the Steel Valley.
I really wish I had a photo of the sculpture of the two guys in hardhats carrying a length of pipe that stood in front of what is now the LB Foster plant on Salt Springs in Mineral Ridge. It is gone now, why they tore it out is beyond me. The sculpture used to scare the hell out of me as a kid as we drove from Youngstown to my grandparents in Warren. I remember thinking they were going to throw the pipe into the car as we drove by. We would drive past there to Main Avenue, under the three ancient stone railroad trestles (gotta beep under each one!) and then ride up Main between the hot and cold ends of the former Republic Steel Warren Works, which was running at that time. The sights/sounds/smells you would experience on that ride were fascinating for a little kid. To an adult too if were being honest.
Warren, O. - Steelworker sculpted from steel in front of the United Steel Workers Local 1375 union hall. I don't know much about this one except it stands in front of the local that represented the former Republic Steel Warren Works. The sculpture has a a strange texture to it, almost like it is rusting away.
Detail of the sculpture's feet. He is standing on scattered expanded metal, which is all that remains of portions of the mill where the men who were represented by this local used to work.
Niles, O. - "STEELWORKER"
The 20' sculpture of a steelworker that stands in front of Niles Iron and Metal, which is a scrapyard. This piece was crafted by Sidney Rackoff.
Youngstown, O. "THE STEEL MAKERS"
This sculpture of two steelworkers stands in front of the Youngstown Historical Center of Labor and Industry. The men stand in front of what I am told is an actual portion of an Open Hearth furnace from US Steel's Ohio Works. The men depicted were part of the USWA Local 1462, which may have been a Youngstown Sheet and Tube local, but I have not found confirmation on that. Inscription text below.
*UPDATE* Per Rick Rowlands, of www.todengine.org, "The sculpture in front of the YHCIL is made of components from Brier Hill's open hearth and the two workers are actual YS&T steelworkers. An interesting note. Originally both had bronzed hard hats. A few years ago someone pried one of the bronze hardhats off, so I grabbed a real hardhat out of my collection and glued it on the guy's head."
THE STEEL MAKERS (1980)
By George Segal (1924 - 2000)
By United Steelworkers of America, District 1
Peter Kolby, Jr. (right) - Wayman Paramore (left)
Members of Local 1462
Youngstown, O. - A relief detailing an industrial scene on the wall of Saint Anthony's Church, in Brier Hill. Saint Joe is helping a steelworker sample hot metal, to the left of a detail of a Blast Furnace and what looks like Open Hearths. This church, which still has a congregation of mostly Italians, was located right up the hill from the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Brier Hill works.
Youngstown, O. - The Peanut Bridge, as it is locally known. They say the Ironworkers that built this bridge welded a steel sculpture of Mr. Peanut up on the struts. Took this some years ago when the bridge was green and rusty. They have since refinished the bridge, and painted Mr. Peanut in his familiar yellow and black.
Youngstown, O. - Almost forgot this guy, out front of Youngstown Bolt. I'm sure it is a sculpture of a dapper screw, but it looks like a piece of pizza to me. Maybe that's my Youngstown talking. This place had an awesome shop dog. I would go there and pick up materials when I was a helper/gopher for a mechanical contractor in Youngstown, and the dog would just be lounging by the counter. I think all shops like this should have a chill dog that lays around in the shop all day.
New Castle, PA - Sculpture of a ladle pouring metal in front of the former Pennsylvania Engineering Corporation (PECor) on Moravia Street in south New Castle. I took this photo a decade ago. The sculpture is gone, the rollers behind it are gone, the entire plant is gone. This company built hot metal carrying equipment: ladles, hot metal rail cars, the Bessemer converter that still stands at Station Square in Pittsburgh.
Youngstown, O. - "The End of a Long and Proud History" This is a sad one. This company built blast furnaces and hot metal transportation equipment that was not only used in the Steel Valley, but all over the world. They lasted 120 years. The tombstone in the bottom right of the photo reads "Pollock Company 1863 - 1983 Laid to Rest by GATX" Present in this photo: Front, left to right: Barry Shultz, Bill Kasmer, Tom Hull, Jim Roper, Emily, Joan, Ray, Bob, Bill Hill, John Titak, Bill Deak, Jim Slifka, Mike Kohl, unknown, and Joe Bunosky. To right side of grave marker: Sam Muscatell, unknown, and Dwayne Schonce. Back row: Laddie Bodnor, Roger Powell, and Chester Queen. Images courtesy of Ohio History Connection.
Here are some images of employees dating back to the early days of the company
This Greek Catholic church was located in the heart of Youngstown's Steelton neighborhood, and was literally across the street from where U.S. Steel’s Ohio Works once stood. I wonder what mass was like with the sounds of an integrated steel mill playing back up to the organ? Bang clang bang woosh clang (Amen) train whistle clang clang bang maybe?
Below is an interior photo of the church in it's early years. When I documented the building in 2010 or 11, the beautiful mosaic floor was carpeted, and the ornate ceiling was dry walled over. A few years after I took these photos an arsonist burned the church down to the brick walls.
Images below circa 2010 +/-
The night of the fire. Photo and video below courtesy of Nicholas Serra.
YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO: The top photo looks like an old dock on a beach somewhere, but its whats left of conveyor belts (middle row) and the flooded basement left over from tearing down US Steel’s Ohio Works (bottom row). I took these so long ago man, the photos from the roof of the mill have to be at least 5 years old. Actually that was the time me and my cousin Matt got caught by the security guard. The guy was hostile at first because people had been mercilessly scrapping the place, plus he didn't believe that somebody wanted to photograph the ruins before they tore it down. I tell him my whole family was steelworkers, i grew up on Hazelwood and could see the smoke stacks from my house etc etc. It turns out he was some big shot at the mill when it was running, and the head of security after it was abandoned. Guy offered us a tour of the place when he found out i knew his granddaughter, but we didn't take him up on it. That's a big regret of mine. they tore everything down like 6 months later. Don't mind me though I'm just thinking out loud.
Youngstown, O. - My cousin Chris was telling me about this tunnel on the West Side that went under Midwest Steel & Alloy from Salt Springs so we decided to check it out. When I went to his house in the Steelton neighborhood he crawled out the coal chute to greet me. Photos below. We walked down to the mouth of the tunnel with my new $600 camera and started into the tunnel. At first the water was ankle or knee deep but towards the end it was up to our nipples.
Before the company above was Midwest Steel it was Carnegie Illinois Steel's skull cracker yard. I wonder if this tunnel was built by ol Andy Carnegie; it certainly looked like old enough construction to be the case.
At the other end of the tunnel was the Mahoning River, where we skipped rocks with the former Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co.'s Brier Hill works in the background. We then climbed up the steep bank to check out the long abandoned pump house that was on the scrapyard's property. I can't seem to find those photos but it was very interesting also, take my word for it. We walked down to Cherol's market from there, like so many USS employees before us, bought a couple Stewart's lime pops and officially called the start of summer.