Bethlehem Steel, Sparrow’s Point, Baltimore 1889 – 2012.
Like a giant tombstone, its rusting remains remind us of a way of life whose beating heart provided lifeblood to the surrounding communities. Since life support was turned off, the noise of steel against steel and the rumbling of the furnace have given way to the rhythmic thud of the wrecking ball. The once mighty structures are slowly falling to earth before being unceremoniously trucked away to the scrap yard from where, ironically, they will be shipped overseas and melted down in cheaper steel making facilities and turned into new steel.
But despite their purely functional design, there is beauty in the textured skin stretched over the skeletal structure and the geometric shapes they form. For the past couple of weeks I have been taking side trips on my way home from the office to capture the remains and character of this once bustling community. Each trip is short lived though, as the persistent security guards seem to appear out of nowhere. Even photographing from the side of a public road receives threats to be arrested – it isn’t until I point out that the guard is driving on public roads with no tags (license plates to my British friends) that the threat is reciprocated and we are back on even ground. It is unfortunate that this once mighty emblem to the industrial revolution will quietly disappear without the benefit of a decent funeral.