Steel Stacks

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THE STEEL STACKS SIT SILENT ALONG THE LEHIGH

RIVER VALLEY,

AWASH IN GLOOMY GRAY CLOUDS THAT RENDER IT

MORE EERIE.

FIVE ANITIQUATED BLAST FURNACES AT THE FORMER BETHLEHEM STEEL MILL,

ARE BRIGHTLY LIT, NOT WITH THE FIERY GLOW OF MOLTEN IRON

BUT WITH THE PURPLES, BLUES AND GREENS OF FOUR HUNDRED SPOTLIGHTS

SHINING ON THEM.

THE ROAR, DIN AND ACRID ODOR OF THESE BLAST FURNACES WITH ITS BRIGHT

FLASHES OF LIQUID IRON ORE, COAL AND LIMESTONE BEING SMELTED,

NO LONGER BANG OUT.

STANDING IN THEIR SHADOWS OF THE STILNESS ON THIS FROSTY DECEMBER

NIGHT, THESE TUBE LIKE STRUCTURES, IDLE NOW, CRY A CLARION

CALL, BEGGING TO BE REMEMBERED.

RISING LIKE BEASTS OF THE INDUSTRIAL AGE, THEY’RE NOW DIMINISHED TO

NOTHING MORE THAN RELICS OF A BYGONE ERA.

FOR ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SEVEN YEARS, THIS PLANT STOOD PROUD AS THE

SECOND LARGEST STEELMAKER IN THE UNITED STATES, HAVING MADE

EIGHTY PER CENT OF MANHATTAN’S SKYLINE AND WITHOUT WHICH, WORLD WAR TWO

MAY NOT HAVE BEEN WON.

THE ECHOS OF THE LAST CAST OF IRON BEING MOLDED IN NOVEMBER 1995, STILL CLAP

AND BLARE OUT, IF ONLY FAINTLY, ON THIS COLD NIGHT.

THE SAGA OF THE STEELMAKERS, LIKE THOSE OF MY UNCLES WALLY AND GEZA,

THIRTEEN THOUSAND STRONG, WILL FOREVER RING, JUST AS THE

HYDRAULIC HAMMERS, THAT SHAPED AMERICA’S STEEL.

 

 

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