any other entity, the Homestead Steel Works marked western Pennsylvania
Its history is both infamous and celebrated. It was the site of one of the nation’s most dramatic and deadly labor conflicts, and until it shut down in 1986, it was also one of the world’s largest steel mills and the flagship plant for U. S. Steel. With facilities on both sides of the Monongahela River, the Home-stead Works encompassed 430 acres and employed more than 200,000 workers through the years.
Furnaces 6 and 7 were once part of a bank of blast furnaces used to smelt
iron for rolling mills across the river. Today they loom above the Monongahela
like iron dinosaurs. These fossil furnaces are rare artifacts of America’s
industrial history. No complete furnace plants from this period still
exist in the United States, and all other non-operative blast furnaces
in the Pittsburgh area have been long since
Measuring 92 feet tall, the Carrie Furnaces’ shells were constructed of 2.5-inch-thick steel plate, and lined with refractory brick to withstand more than 3,500o F. When a furnace was fired up, it began a “campaign” that con-tinued 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for an average of six to seven years. When the Carrie Furnaces were taken off line in 1978, they were producing approximately 2,500 tons of iron a day.