Recollection of local steel mills


I read with much interest the informative “Black Monday” article published Sept. 17. For me, it was taking a walk back into time of years gone by and many of those unforgettable memories.

I grew up in Campbell, which was a city linked with the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company, Campbell Works. The city of Campbell was a city that sat upon a hill and where I lived, I could look down and clearly see the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company at the bottom of the hill on Wilson Avenue.

My dad worked at the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company. He was a crane operator in the hot strip department, and when he worked the midnight shift, we children had to be quiet so he could get some quiet sleep.

It seemed like everyone in my family knew someone who worked at the Youngstown Sheet and Tube. I have memories of the blast furnaces from the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company that emitted a bright orange color to light up the dark skies at night until the next day at dawn. I remember seeing groups of men who worked there walking up and down the hill, to and from work everyday, carrying their metal lunch boxes. I remember the fine black dust accumulating everywhere and window sills had to be cleaned almost daily to get rid of that “black gold dust” because it was the bread and butter of those who worked at the mill. When I moved away in 1955, the steel mill was still operating and the city was still thriving. It was sad to hear the mill had closed down. Thousands of families relied on their jobs and on their paychecks. Every now and then I visit Campbell, my hometown, and surrounding areas. It’s sad to see the vacant buildings in need of repair as at one time these vacant storefronts and businesses were flourishing.

What a comparison between how things were and how they are now. All that is left of the thriving steel industry is the rusting buildings that once were the bread and butter of those who worked there. The employees who worked at the steel mill had pride and quality built into their jobs and were proud of their product.

It’s a shame we had to sacrifice our good quality steel for cheap substandard steel imports that are coming into this country today.

How times have changes — not for the better.