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A Fallen Giant!

Posted by
Denny Jump (Bellevue, WA, United States) on 28 February 2012 in Business & Industry.

This is a "side" view (from the North) of The Old Bethlehem Steel Plant of Bethlehem, PA.

Bethlehem Steel (1857–2003) was once the second-largest steel producer in the United States, after the Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel company.
For many years, trains delivered raw material in and carried out the finished products. Once loaded with steel, the trains rolled to projects in all corners of North America and around the world. Now, those trains just roll by, pulling auto carrier cars, grain hoppers, tank cars, flat cars, and box cars.

A general decline in the U.S. steel industry, and management problems lead to a 2001 bankruptcy at Bethlehem Steel. It was dissolved with remaining assets being sold to ISG (International Steel Group) in 2003. Then, In 2005, ISG merged with Mittal Steel thereby ending any remaining U.S. ownership of the assets of Bethlehem Steel.

Bethlehem Steel was one of the largest shipbuilding companies in the world and it was one of the most powerful symbols of American industrial strength for many years. The company was responsible for supplying the steel for numerous New York City and other city skyscrapers, as well as bridges (including the Golden Gate Bridge), dams, and countless other construction projects.

Bethlehem Steel's demise is often cited as one of the most prominent examples of the U.S. economy's shift away from industrial manufacturing, its inability to compete with cheap foreign labor, and practices of business management that valued short-term benefit over long-term strategy.

Now, the main plant that you see here, stands unused and quiet. The plant property to the south (just out of view to the right) is home to an arts and entertainment district called "SteelStacks." The plant's 5 blast furnaces, it is planned, shall remain standing. They serve as a rather unsettling backdrop for the new campus, which includes a contemporary performing arts center, called the "Arts Quest Center" and a "Sands Casino Resort" to the east of the site. The disturbing aspect, to me, is the fact that money is being gambled away in the casino, and spent on other forms of entertainment, while the lives and livlihoods of workers went by the wayside.

Environmental factors were, of course major, and there is no getting around the fact that pollution in the late 19th century, and 20th century right on into even the 1960's and 1970's, when environmental legislation finaly began to take hold. But for the lives and families of the general employees, it is hard not to feel badly about the loss of jobs for wage earners.

The steam you see beyond is coming from a plant that is still in operation and is, to the best of my knowledge, not associated with Bethlehem Steel,

I hope to capture a "frontal" view of the stacks and plant sometime in the near future and I will share it with you when I do, of course.

OLYMPUS E-510 1/250 second F/4.2 ISO 100 108 mm

** Staples Singers - "Respect Yourself"

- " We do not move forward from a middle opinion, which is undemocratic but mediocratic.
We advance from a creative passion "- (Edgar Morin)

- "To photograph is to hold one's breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It's at
that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy."
- Henri Cartier-Bresson.

::Words from Denny:
- My beliefs, and values, have always been strongly tied-to music, especially Jazz, and Blues.
- The following artists and lyrics seem to "sum-up" where my spirit resides:
EARTH WIND AND FIRE;
"HOLD ON TO YOUR SPIRIT,
ALWAYS FEEL YOUR SOUL....
HONOR THE MAGIC IN YOUR HEART"
; Earth Wind and Fire

OLYMPUS E-510
1/250 second
F/4.2
ISO 100
108 mm

bethlehem
steel
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