Growing up in the Mon Valley

I grew up in the Mon Valley and my father worked in the steel industry for thirty years.

A few years ago I wrote a poem dedicated to my father entitled the "Man of Steel". I believe it reflects the struggle all men and women have gone through over the years as the steel mills have closed.

My father worked at J & L Steel, and then when it became LTV Steel until the last coke plant closed in Hazelwood. Between my own personal experience and the history of the steel industry in our area in general, I composed something that was in
fact for my father and my family, but in reality related something that I am sure a lot of other people have felt through the years.

Even though I am by no means a professional writer, I would like to share it with others - especially the men and women who have worked here in Pittsburgh.

In addition to the poem, I also have something I would like to share that has become very special to me.

I had the opportunity to work at the coke plant in Hazelwood myself during the summers I was in college (about 12 years ago). During my last summer there (1997), there had been talk about the plant shutting down and it was becoming evident that it could actually close within the year.

Being sentimental and wanting to take a part of the great experience I had while I was there with me, as well as the many people I had the opportunity to meet - on my last day, I had everyone I ran into sign my hard hat.

The hard hat itself holds so many memories - the people I met, the opportunity to work with my father - I never want to give it away, but
just like my poem I would like to share it with others.

If for nothing else as a piece of Pittsburgh's relatively recent history - for those who worked at LTV and may have left their nickname or signature on my simple hard hat and their lasting impression on my life.

Thank you very much for your time and your efforts to preserve our history and heritage,

Heather (Penak) Garry


The 45-Inch Mill

The 45-Inch Mill
Constructed in 1942 as part of Homestead's World War II expansion, the 45-inch mill was in operation until the early 1980s.