steel valley

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.

Ghost Signs

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.

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