carrie furnace | pittsburgh steel industry heritage & history

carrie furnace

located in the industrial town of rankin in pittsburgh, the carrie furnace is the only remaining pre-world war ii iron making technology in the u.s. / it was built in 1907 & produced iron for homestead works until 1978 \ we took a tour of the furnace today & it was simply amazing to be standing inside a relic of steel industry history / even my favorite young people could appreciate its historical significance

our guide tom worked summers at the steel mill in mckeesport / he brought the carrie furnace to life with his animated narration & personal stories about his fellow steel workers which included his father \ even better, he spoke with an authentic & distinct yinzer accent / though we were all locals in the tour, tom started off by calling attention to his pittsburgh accent \ after all, he would be saying “iron” many times <“arn” in pittsburghese> / tom recalled the time when he had some fellows from google of bakery square in his tour \ they asked him whom “larry cars” was named for & he did not know the answer / he suggested that  they google it 🙂 & the answer was that in britain, they are actually called “lorry cars” / but since this is pittsburgh, “lorry” became “larry” \ so tom sounds like this:  we take larry cars of arn ore aht and dahn to the furnace / really nice guy!

our friend local artist tim kaulen < > told us about today’s event which included a “mobile sculpture workshop” / since the ’90s tim has been involved in transforming aspects of steel industry history into public art \ in 2012, 20-feet sculptures of steelworkers made from scrap steel & i-beams from a previous renovation of the hot metal bridge, found permanent home at the south shore riverfront park

redevelopment plans are underway for the carrie furnace \ this means preserving the remaining industrial structure while at the same time utilizing the site for economic development / a worthwhile project | carrie furnace will always remind us that pittsburgh was built on steel

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