Sparrows Point – Baltimore

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.

 

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11 comments

  1. I wish you could have seen it when it was in it’s prime. My dad work there for 30 years. I think about 20000 to 30000 men were there making steel at it’s height. You could see the glow from the mills for ever. Add in the other mills like Eastern stainless, GM, the shipyards,the port and all the other heavy industry in and around Baltimore and you understand what being a blue collar city was all about. In DC they drink cocktails & white wine, in Baltimore we drank beer. Missing are all the breweries that were in Baltimore, started by Germans because we had really good water. All these industries let people have a good life, send their kids to college and retire after long years of hard work. The men in the mills could just look at the steel and tell if it was ready, they did not need a computer to tell them. It is too bad we have not only lost these jobs but lost the skills these people had. They knew how to work, build and invent things.

  2. I think you’re website is down.

  3. Thanks Chuck – its back up now….

  4. Two blog entries in a short period of time, you can tell the World Cup is finally over. 😉

  5. Less is more..nice summary..i worked in the mill when i was in collage..was a great job!!

  6. Trying to get back into the swing of things Steve.

  7. What I really need Roger is an opportunity to wander around inside for a day or two or three or etc. etc….

  8. Lewis and I tried, they did not want anyone near the place with a camera.

  9. I know – they dont even like you shooting from a public road… I had one of their security guards follow me around Bethlehem Blvd threatening to call the cop on me – I told him to go ahead and when they arrived hope he could explain to them why he was driving on a public road wit no tags o his car… He didnt say much after that 🙂

  10. I live in Edgemere/Sparrows Point and have lived here all my life.
    I had worked there for a while,my father worked there and so has my grandfather.
    I’ve been chased around by their idiot security guards while taking photos too.I just tell
    them where to go and remind them that i’m standing on a state road.They act like
    it’s a top secret operation and no photography allowed and blah,blah,blah.Clowns they
    all are including the new owners also.The morons that run the show here think that
    they’re going to restore this area to it’s once former glory.Yea,right! we’re all stupid!
    Duh!

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