Keeping up with Rivers of Steel: New Efforts

It’s been an exciting year for Rivers of Steel with a host of activities and significant events occurring at each of our attractions.

In fact, just days after the new year, the W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop, in Rices Landing, Greene County, PA was recognized by the United States Department of Interior as a National Historic Landmark. National Historic Landmark designations are the highest form of federal recognition that can be awarded to properties and sites in the United States, and the Machine Shop is distinguished as a custom ‘job shop’ with and an exceptionally fine collection of machine tools tied to a line-shaft power system.  A ceremony and plaque unveiling occurred in April at the annual Hammer-In blacksmithing festival, presided over by CEO August Carlino with remarks by Pennsylvania State Senator Camera Bartolotta.

Spring marked the return of the Environment Science on the Three Rivers student program on the Explorer riverboat! This was significant as there were years of hiatus when RiverQuest had stopped operation before Rivers of Steel acquired the organization. Many classroom educators expressed their support that a program they valued as part of their curriculum is available once again.

Each summer the momentum continues at the Carrie Blast Furnaces National Historic Landmark, generating interest from new audiences. In addition to partnering with other nonprofits for events, including Ascender’s Thrival music festival and Tree Pittsburgh’s Arbor Aid & Paw Paw Fest, Rivers of Steel launched its first annual Community Day and had record attendance at its third annual Festival of Combustion.

Also in a year that marked the 125th anniversary of the Homestead Lockout and Strike at the historic Pump House and Water Tower, Rivers of Steel partnered with the Battle of Homestead Foundation for several special events. In late June there was a commemoration event with renowned actor Mark Rylance at the Bost Building, followed by the production of The Homestead Strike of 1892, an original play by Mark Clayton Southers, performed at the Pump House in September. Currently on view at the Bost Building gallery space is the exhibition Working Class Images reflecting the Mon Valley, also presented in partnership with the Battle of Homestead Foundation.

Some of this year’s notable events occurred out in our partner communities. An exhibition of photography entitled Carrie Furnace: Through the Lens was on view for a time at the Braddock Carnegie Library, which included a free reception for Braddock community members that was paired with a Carrie Furnace tour. Additionally, Rivers of Steel was excited to partner with the 2017 Three Rivers Arts Festival, the Fort Pitt Museum, and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, offering two days of family programs highlighting arts and STEM programs. Additional outreach events included an aluminum pour Hot Metal Happening and an Earth Day celebration in Market Square in Downtown Pittsburgh.

While 2017 has opened the door for so many new opportunities for Rivers of Steel to engage with its communities, the work is just getting started. Stay tuned – plans are in the works to make 2018 the most dynamic year yet!

Click here to read about Rivers of Steel’s new staff hired in 2017.


Introduction to the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area

Introduction to Rivers of Steel

From the History to Go DVD, this clip is a brief introduction to the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.