Rust Belt

WILLIAM B. POLLOCK, Co.

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.

 

The Final Shipment

Here are some images of employees dating back to the early days of the company

1910 -  Cinder Car 

1910 - Fabrication Crew - Could be building Cowper stoves for a blast furnace.

1910 - Showing off new safety goggles.

1940s/50s - Line of Pollock Co. cinder cars with US Steel's Edgar Thompson works in the background.

1960 - Pollock hot metal car at J&L steel Pittsburgh works.

Republic Steel Warren Works - Flyover

Warren, O. 

A sample of the drone footage I commissioned upon hearing of the approved demolition permit for the last blast furnace in the valley. 

I want people to see what an integrated steel mill looked like before they are all scrapped. Unfortunately the basic oxygen furnace side of the mill (where they turned the iron into steel, and then processed it) was already in a scrap heap somewhere at this time. If you look in the background, you see the coke plant, where coal was (and still is) baked into coke. At one time, both plants were part of Republic Steel. They brought raw materials (coal, iron ore, limestone) in one end, and processed steel came out the other. 

Every time I watch this video I think of the "Little Steel Strike" of 1937, when Republic had thousands of scabs that stayed in the mill, who had no food and basic essentials. The decision was made to airdrop supplies to them. They say the strikers tried to shoot down the planes that landed next to the rail yard in this very mill. I don't think anything was ever proven though. Here is an interesting quote from a pilot during the strike, and a link to the Smithsonian article below.

"Pilot Frank Groat, an electrician and part-time pilot hired by Republic, remembered volleys of gunfire as he eased his Waco toward the airstrip. “Every now and then you could hear the bullets whizzing by you as you flew into the mill,” he recalled from his home in Florida. “We never shut off the engines when we came in. We landed, men came out to unload the planes, and we took off. In Niles they used a big net to catch the supplies when we flew over. On those flights we took a second man along, a ‘bomber,’ we called him. He threw the supplies out through the door.”


 http://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-flight/oldies-amp-oddities-the-little-steel-strike-airlift-41977502/?no-ist=&page=1

P&LE Gateway Yard

Youngstown, OH. Today is the 50th anniversary of a milestone for the now defunct Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad. Per the Youngstown Vindicator, "Railroad officials gather at the Gateway Yard in Youngstown for the "humping" of the 5 millionth car (enough to circle the earth). Humping is the act of shoving a line of freight cars over a hill onto multiple tracks, to be divided into a new train. 

The P&LE got it's nickname, The Little Giant, because they moved so much tonnage in relation to the amount of track they controlled. While they did offer passenger service, they primarily moved steel, and the ingredients to make it in its raw form: coal, limestone and iron ore. 

I have photographed what is left of the Gateway Yard many times, but on an occasion such as this anniversary, I wanted to show it in it's prime, not the post industrial wasteland I know it as. Check out the video below from YouTube user Erie1264.

 

 

Republic Steel Warren Works

Warren, O. - I spent Labor Day in a freshly shuttered steel mill where 1,400 people labored until a month ago.

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Mackenzie Muffler/Austintown Tool and Die

Austintown, O. - *Update 12/1/2016* When I originally posted this in 2011, all I knew about this place was that my cousin applied for a job here, but was never hired.  There is far more history here than I knew years ago when I saw they were tearing it down, threw on my hard hat on a Sunday and set out to document it.

A recent post about wartime production at a neighboring plant  http://www.therustjungle.com/rustjungle/2016/11/29/youngstown-steel-door , initialed a discussion on this plant, which was located right across Hendricks Rd. Mackenzie Muffler was a division of Buffalo Pressed Steel, who manufactured mufflers for International Harvester tractors and automobiles for the Big 3. During WWII, Mackenzie also produced fuel tanks, much like their neighbors at Steel Door. Perhaps they worked in conjunction, hopefully someone can shed some light on that. According to the article below they went from 150 employees in 1938 to 3,000 during the war, many of them women.  A family friend of ours' mother worked here during the war as a press operator. 

Below are the images from my original post, taken during the demolition of this plant. There was a decent amount of equipment left here that they were cutting apart. Presses, shears, cranes etc. Stickers on one of the employee lockers reference Youngstown Steel Door day, and USWA local 2310 which represented Steel Door and possibly Austintown Tool and Die, not sure about that.

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