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.
Campbell, O. - The boys in the Open Hearth department receiving their award for 1,000,000 man hours without a major injury.
My pops made his living, until shortly after Black Monday, hauling hot slag out of the Open Hearth in Campbell. I wonder if he knew these guys. He drove a slag truck for Industrial Mill Service until they shut down the Campbell works. He was working night turn, and after his last shift running to the slag dump he and his coworkers went for a drink to drown their sorrows. He said they went to a "social club" in Struthers called Saint Anthony's that served liquor at 7am on a Sunday, which I'm assuming was against Ohio liquor laws haha.
A story he told me when I was younger still sticks with me. Apparently a ladle accidentally spilled hot metal on the floor in the mill, and they needed to get it cleaned up in a hurry. They loaded the molten metal into the open top dump trucks they used to haul the slag. It was so hot that the sides of the trailer were glowing red. The Christmas decorations were up in downtown Strudders, you know the wreaths and what not they hang from the streetlights. The decorations were melting off of the poles when he stopped under them, and the people walking down the street were taking cover from the heat radiating from the trailer.
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
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.
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.”
Weirton Steel. Weirton WV. These are pretty old, took them while they were tearing down the blooming mill building. I was one of, if not the, last person to photograph the engine that drove the blooming mill (last photo). That TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND HORSEPOWER monster I was standing on was built by the William Tod Company. It was built in the big grey mill building under the Market Street bridge in beautiful Youngstown, Ohio. You know the historic building the downtown gentrifiers want torn down to build a dog park or something. There are 2 Tod engines left in the world, one of them is preserved on Hubbard road if you wanted to see how insanely massive they are. http://www.todengine.org/
I got the chance to go to the Carrie blast furnaces, which are pretty much all thats left of US Steel’s Homestead works in Pittsburgh. Same mill my dad hauled his second load of steel out of. I went with the guys from http://acousticarchives.com/ They documented the acoustics in different parts of the mill, and let me do the same with my camera. This video shows the same beat which changes from room to room as if it was recorded in the cast house, in a hot metal rail car or under the highline etc etc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vw2N1tKJGKA pretty damn cool plus historically significant. If the mill wasnt deafeningly loud when it ran thats how the guys voices would have echoed. Glad I got to be a part of this.
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.
Bunch of detail shots from the old Avanti plant on Albert Street they tore down recently. A lot of car parts, signs and the old moulds for the fiberglass car bodies. This was a Republic Steel plant, the Truscon division, where they made steel trusses. The Avanti was a Studebaker they built in the 60s that other companies built when the company folded. The Cafaro’s bought the company, moved the production to the old Republic mill in Youngstown. The whole mill complex is demolished and they make the Avantis in Mexico now.
Warren, O. - I spent Labor Day in a freshly shuttered steel mill where 1,400 people labored until a month ago.