Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Remembering the Clout of Bethlehem Steel

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Remembering the Clout of Bethlehem Steel

Article excerpt

When the Martin Tower, the former headquarters building of the Bethlehem Steel Corp. in Bethlehem, Pa., came crashing down last week, (May 20, "Bethlehem Steel's HQ Imploded"), it created a cloud of dust and memories with an ironic and historic twist for Pittsburghers.

Pittsburgh's role as the center of American steel-making, with U.S. Steel as the No. 1 producer, was constantly challenged by No. 2, Bethlehem Steel in the American skyscraper-building race of the 1920s and '30s. Bethlehem, while headquartered in Pennsylvania, had major facilities in Sparrows Point, Md.; Gary, Ind.; and Buffalo , N.Y.

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My father was an executive at the Bethlehem plant near Buffalo and a superintendent of the division which produced the innovative "Bethlehem beam," or I-beam, which became an industry standard for skyscraper construction of the time.

From 1910 until 1970, Bethlehem produced the structural steel framework for 85% of New York City's skyscrapers, including the Waldorf Astoria, Chrysler Building, Time Life Building, Madison Square Garden and numerous lower Manhattan and Wall Street skyscrapers. …

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