Homestead Steel Works was a large steel works located on the Monongahela River at Homestead, Pennsylvania in the United States. The company developed in the nineteenth century as an extensive plant served by tributary coal and iron fields, a railway 425 miles (684 km) long, and a line of lake steamships. The works was also the site of one of the more serious labor disputes in U.S. history, which became known as the Homestead strike of 1892.

Steel workers gaze on as molten steel is poured from ladle to casts at Homestead Steel Works.
The water tower of the pumphouse is one of the few structures remaining from the 1800s. Now, it provides restrooms within for visitors and cyclists traveling on the Great Allegheny Passage trail.

History edit

The steel works were first constructed in 1881. Andrew Carnegie, (a Scottish emigrant), bought the 2 year old Homestead Steel Works in 1883, and integrated it into his Carnegie Steel Company.[1] For many years, the Homestead Works was the largest steel mill in the world and the most productive of the Mon Valley's many mills.

A series of industrial disputes over wages, working hours and contracts occurred in the early years of the works, leading to the Homestead strike, an industrial lockout and strike which began on June 30, 1892, culminating in a battle between strikers and private security agents on July 6, 1892.[2] The battle was one of the most violent disputes in U.S. labor history and the final result was a major defeat for the union and a setback for their efforts to unionize steelworkers.

In 1896, Carnegie built the Carnegie Library of Homestead in nearby Munhall as part of concessions to the striking workers.[citation needed] (This however has never been validated. Carnegie had the plans drawn up in the late 1880s, and run-ins with the Union bosses kept him from actually building it.)

Barge and The Waterfront shopping center

In 1901, Carnegie sold his operations to U.S. Steel. On January 6, 1906 it was announced that the company would undergo upgrades and expansions worth seven million dollars ($228 million today.[when?]) The workforce peaked at 15,000 during World War II.[3] William J. Gaughan was a Senior Designer of Operations Planning and Control at the company who developed computer systems to aid in automation of various operations. Throughout his management career, Gaughan had developed an interest in the history of Homestead Steel Works and began to collect photos and pamphlets regarding the company.[4] The plant closed in 1986 because of a severe downturn in the domestic steel industry, from which the industry still[when?] hasn't recovered.

Carrie Furnace, a blast furnace across the Monongahela River from the main site
Gantry crane on the Monongahela riverbank, used for loading barges with steel

A few remnants of the steel works were not destroyed, including twelve smokestacks in the middle of the Waterfront development.[5] As of its opening in 1999, the land is partially occupied by The Waterfront, an outdoor shopping center.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Rivers of Steel - Homestead Works". Archived from the original on 2016-03-09. Retrieved 2016-07-25.
  2. ^ "American Experience: Strike at Homestead Mill". Public Broadcasting System. Retrieved December 30, 2014.
  3. ^ Article about the Homestead Works on the 20th anniversary of its closing (includes audio), Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (
  4. ^ Rosenberg, David. "William J. Gaughan Collection Finding Aid". Retrieved 18 February 2013.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Battle of Homestead Foundation

External links edit

  Media related to Homestead Steel Works at Wikimedia Commons

40°24′40″N 79°53′50″W / 40.41111°N 79.89722°W / 40.41111; -79.89722