Bethlehem Steel

Looking through an old sketchbook, I found drawings I'd made on a trip to Bethlehem Steel in 2003 with artist friends. I paired the drawings with photos of a smoking furnace I took from a train window last year. Maybe this is what the blackened, rusted, cob web-covered structures of Bethlehem Steel looked liked once, I thought. Alive with fiery ore, smoking furnaces, and men hammering and shouting.

Even on that sunny, winter day we visited, the light felt hesitant to enter the dim and empty buildings. I, like the sunlight, walked timidly through the remains: soot, burnt wood, bits of steel. A lone trolley stood in the middle of one space, as if abandoned in mid-use. Like time standing still, like walking through a ghost town.

There was a smoke stack ablaze outside the train window. A beautiful and disturbing sight. Smoke flowing among the tree branches and electric wires. And from the stack's orifice, a red-orange flame...


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