delawareonline ¦ The News Journal, Wilmington, Del
BETHLEHEM, Pa. — History buffs practically salivate at the thought of being able to explore the massive ruins of Bethlehem Steel, the industrial behemoth that armed hundreds of U.S. warships, provided the raw material for the Golden Gate Bridge and transformed the New York City skyline.
Thanks to an $800 million casino complex rising on the site, the dream that has eluded preservationists for more than a decade is now within reach: the ability to tell the story of America’s industrial history through the prism of one of its most important companies.
These visitors could help provide the economic shot in the arm necessary to stabilize and maintain many of the historic buildings, making them suitable for public display.
No one knows how much it will cost to preserve the Bethlehem Steel story, or who will agree to pay for what. But Sands has already saved 20 buildings from the wrecking ball, and those who are passionate about “the Steel” say that some kind of public access is a certainty.
Here’s another article that goes into more detail about what machines were preserved that might go into the museum.
Martin, Bethlehem Steel’s chief engineer from 1962 to 2002, is a consultant to the National Museum of Industrial History. The nonprofit museum is planned to house the tools among myriad parts of the United States’ industrial past.
Among the items sharing storage with them are a locomotive for moving ore and two Mack fire trucks from the 1960s.
The machine tools represent a small portion of the artifacts saved from Bethlehem Steel’s namesake plant.
“The National Museum of Industrial History is very interested in having a working machine shop. The reason being there’s not an industry of significance that doesn’t have a machine shop,” Martin said. “Everybody’s got a machine shop.”
Salvaged were 10-foot-long lathes, boring mills, band saws, swing drill presses, cast-iron structural columns and an overhead crane operated by hand with ropes.
A dozen or so volunteers spent two weekends using forklifts to ferry the tools from the South Side plant’s Weldment Shop, which was subsequently demolished, to the machine shop, which is slated for preservation.
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