The demolition of the L Blast Furnace at Bethlehem Steel in Sparrows Point recently brought about the end of an era to a Baltimore County icon. The mill was a place where generations of steel making families worked. During its many years of operation The Baltimore Sun has been there to document the company from industry giant to its final collapse. The Darkroom decided to take a look back at some of the memorable photos over the decades.
The black and white world of workers conquering tasks large and small is the subject of Bodine’s Industry: The Dignity of Work, a recently released book of A. Aubrey Bodine photographs edited by his daughter Jennifer Bodine. It’s also the subject of an exhibit of 70 photographs at the Baltimore Museum of Industry that runs from Oct. 15, 2013 to Feb. 6, 2014.
It has been a year since Sparrows Point steel mill has closed its doors. The sounds of the one-time bustling steel giant has gone silent, still echoing only in the memories of workers and Dundalk residents nearby. At one entrance off I-695 and Route 158, a sign seen from the massive complex reads “America: Strong as Steel!”, which serves as a reminder of the past. In the coming years, the entire facility will be razed and the steel plant will only be a footnote in Baltimore’s history.
Hilco Trading held the first of several auctions at Sparrows Point Steel Mill on Jan. 23, selling off equipment and tools that once helped run the steel mill. Inside the carpenter’s shop, woodworking equipment, machinery, and hand and power tools were arranged to be sold. At the back of the shop stood lockers scattered with uniforms, cans of soup, school photos of kids and posters of playmates from a different time — remnants of a former life. Here’s a look at some of the personal items left behind at Sparrows Point.
The new owners of the Sparrows Point steel mill plan to raze the closed plant, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said today. According to Kamenetz, officials of co-owner Hilco Trading “have indicated that they are going to liquidate every remaining asset and bring the structure down to the ground.”
What’s your reaction to the news? As we look back at images of Sparrows Point over the years, we’re collecting stories about the Baltimore institution and its workers. Share your thoughts, memories and photos of Sparrows Point in the comments.
The Baltimore Sun newspaper has a rich history of photojournalism. Since publishing its first photograph on September 30, 1901 The Sun has employed a long line of award winning photographers. To pay tribute to these photographers, The Darkroom will periodically take a look back at the body of work by some of these photographers whose love of their craft helped document the lives of people from the backstreets of Baltimore to the four corners of the globe.