Steel City

Youngstown Sheet and Tube Brier Hill Works

Youngstown, O. - Congratulations to the blast furnace department at Sheet and Tube's Brier Hill works for logging 1,000,000 man hours without a major injury!

Photo circa 1955 - Image courtesy of Ohio History Connection

New Castle Refractories Co.

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New Castle Refractories - New Castle, PA

 

I photographed this 105 year old firebrick factory on Industrial Street about a month before they knocked it down. I didn't know it was slated for demo, just how it worked out. There was quite a bit left behind in the office, some interesting reports and employee data. The production floors were gutted, and the kilns were falling in on themselves. The letter they heartlessly tacked to the message board (fig. 4) to let the employees know their livelihood was gone was still there, next to a calendar that stopped in March 09. I have that letter now, it's right next to the one I liberated from Copperweld Steel, where my grandpa worked. 

 

Coincidentally, the company that shuttered and abandoned this plant also bought the refractories arm of Shenango China, which I photographed the same day. I guess there isn't much of a market for firebrick in a valley that no longer makes steel. These are the ripple effects of Black Monday. Trickle down deindustrialization I guess.

 

http://www.ncnewsonline.com/news/industrial-street-venture-rail-crossings-planned/article_402df67c-e642-11e5-a268-e3365e7eb5ad.html

Republic Steel Warren Works

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Republic Steel Warren Works; Warren, O. My grandpa on my Mom’s side applied here in the 40’s. Part of the hiring process was to weigh you, and they told him to “go home, eat a steak and a bag of potatoes, and try again”. He was skinny like me, so he wound up doing his 30 some years out at Copperweld. They ran me off of the property, so here are some detail shots, and some houses around the mill to show the ripple effect.

They tore down almost all of the BOF side of the mill. It is so strange to me to drive down Pine Ave and be able to see the blast furnace over on Main. Gone are the days of waiting half an hour for a mile long coke train to back into the mill across Pine. The place just looks bombed out. To quote Bruce Springsteen, “My daddy came on the Ohio works when he came home from World War II, now the yards just scrap and rubble.. guess them big boys did what Hitler couldn’t do”


From the Vindicator, regarding the 1937 Little Steel Strike at the Republic Mills: “On June 20, the day after two strikers were killed at Stop 5 on Poland Avenue, and on several other occasions, Republic Steel ran an ad offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone threatening families of employees of the company or destroying property of employees at its Warren or Niles plants. Even the boys in Warren complained that pickets had bought all the baseball bats, according to a story published in The Vindicator on June 15, 1937. Planes were used to drop food to management and steelworkers who stayed inside the plants. One of the planes crashed while attempting to land on Republic Steel property in Warren, an event caught on camera by Vindicator photographer Lloyd Jones.Whether the plane malfunctioned or was shot down by pickets was long debated, too; but Republic Steel offered a $1,000 reward in a Vindicator ad for information leading to the arrest of anyone shooting at their planes.”

St. Mary's Byzantine Rite Church

Youngstown, O.

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 +/-

Copyright Paul Grilli 2017

Copyright Paul Grilli 2017

Copyright Paul Grilli 2017

Copyright Paul Grilli 2017

Copyright Paul Grilli 2017

Copyright Paul Grilli 2017

Copyright Paul Grilli 2017

Copyright Paul Grilli 2017

Copyright Paul Grilli 2017

Copyright Paul Grilli 2017

Copyright Paul Grilli 2017

Copyright Paul Grilli 2017

The night of the fire. Photo and video below courtesy of Nicholas Serra.

Copyright Nicholas Serra. 

Copyright Nicholas Serra.