Bethlehem Steel

The long weekend of President’s Day afforded us the extra time and, therefore, the opportunity to take a day trip. We were a little limited in our space and time scope because our 17 year old was working and we are his transport to and from work. We, therefore, elected to visit a place not too far from home but where we have never been: Bethlehem and its historic steelworks. I had chosen the focus of our last trip (a cemetery, of course) so a bit of industrial history was my husband’s choice.

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The Bethlehem steel works – previously iron works – were around from the mid-19th Century through to its gradual decline and final closure at the turn of this century. The visitor centre was closed to us as it was being used for a ticketed event (areas of the site are now a concert and event venue) so I did not have the same opportunity to learn any of the history of the company but honestly my brain doesn’t really absorb that kind of history anyway. In fact, I was reading information boards during the visit and immediately forgetting what I had just read.

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I do, however, like abandoned structures and all of the textures of rust and flaking paint and grime. As such, I was happy just to walk around the site on the raised gantry-style walkway that mostly followed the old train tracks that would have brought the raw ingredients to the site back in the day.

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7 thoughts on “Bethlehem Steel

  1. In your photos the structures remind me of sculptural assemblages … particularly those by Louise Nevelson… but also just the general Surrealist/Dada genre as related to sculpture. And that’s a wonderful photo of you and your husband!! So glad you had a fun time together!!!

    • I was not familiar with Louise Nevelson so your comment led me to do a lot of googling. Thank you for introducing me to her work. It’s great stuff and I definitely see the visual connection to industrial architecture in her “wall” sculptures.

      • Glad you googled Nevelson! Back when I curated and constructed hands-on art exhibits for an arts center (and a curriculum for the other art teachers on staff) Nevelson was a favorite to teach…
        I loved using her artwork to share with the little ones about looking at shapes and spaces rather than colors. I made a wall of changeable, various sized, shapes all the same color (dark grey) that teachers would switch about and ask the kids to find certain shapes on the wall. It was fun!

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