Woman of Steel: Bettye Ridgley

on August 16, 2021 Bethlehem Steel, Bethlehem Steel Legacy Project, In the Community, Stories, Women of Steel and Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , with 0 comments
Color photo of Black woman in a blue jacket and a baseball cap. Bettye Ridgley at an SEIU protest in the 1990s.

By Clair Volkening Getting her start Bettye Ridgley began her journey at Sparrows Point in 1978 as a mechanical helper in the hot strip mill. “We were what you called ‘go-fors’. You know, we’d go for the tools, go for the coffee.” Four or five months later, Bettye was laid off from the mechanical unit. […]

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Accidents at The Point: 1990 Explosion

on August 9, 2021 Bethlehem Steel, Bethlehem Steel Legacy Project, Contemporary Work Issues, In the Community, Industrial Heritage, Stories and Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , with 0 comments
Black and white photo of blast furnace L, a triangular shaped blast furnace. Blast furnace “L”, or “Big L”, in 1978 after it was finished and ready for work.

By Clair Volkening The Explosion In a previous post, I recounted the story of an explosion at Sparrows Point in 1891 which killed four steelworkers. That explosion was one of countless accidents over the mill’s history that injured or killed steelworkers. Now, we move one-hundred years into the future, to 1990, to tell the story […]

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Family of Steel: The Strasbaughs

on July 30, 2021 Bethlehem Steel, Bethlehem Steel Legacy Project, Stories and Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , with 0 comments
Black and white photograph from the 1800s showing steelworker with lunch pail The first John Benjamin Strasbaugh pictured with his lunch pail.

Editor’s Note: Three generations of the Strasbaugh family worked in the steel mill at Sparrows Point. Gloria Strasbaugh, the wife of the third John Strasbaugh, answered some questions about her family in an email interview. In the edited excerpts* below, she recalls her family’s history and their involvement with the steel mill. Who were the […]

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Accidents At the Point: 1891 Explosion

on July 15, 2021 Bethlehem Steel, Bethlehem Steel Legacy Project, Industrial Heritage, Stories and Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , with 0 comments
A black and white photo of blast furnace "B" from 1890 “Blast Furnace ‘B’ ready for Operation.” The first blast furnace at the Point was constructed in 1890.

By Clair Volkening On Sunday, December 8, 1891, four men were killed and five suffered injuries after an explosion in blast furnace B at Sparrows Point. The night before the explosion, workers had begun “blowing out,” or shutting down, the furnace so that repairs could be made to the firebrick walls and the furnace pipes […]

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Views of Sparrows Point: Early 20th Century

on February 10, 2021 Bethlehem Steel, Bethlehem Steel Legacy Project and Tags: , , , , , with 0 comments
A black & white photo shows a large group of shipyard workers, most of whom are white men, posing in front of a building with scaffolding. Sparrows Point shipyard workers in the mid-1920s. Courtesy of the Historical Society of Baltimore County.

The first post in our “Views of Sparrows Point” series highlighted an 1892 Maryland Steel Company photo album showing the earliest days of steelmaking at Sparrows Point. Today, we turn our attention to the Bethlehem Steel Company collection from Enoch Pratt Free Library and the Historical Society of Baltimore County. These photographs, ranging from approximately […]

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Views of Sparrows Point: Early Steelmaking

on December 21, 2020 Bethlehem Steel, Bethlehem Steel Legacy Project, Industrial Heritage, Stories and Tags: , , , , with 0 comments
A sepia tone photograph shows a few industrial buildings surrounded by fields A ‘General View’ of the Sparrows Point mill in 1892

Bob Crandell—whose management career at Beth Steel and its successors at Sparrows Point spanned 40+ years—recently lent the BMI a spectacular 1892 photo album. These photographs show steelmaking operations at Sparrows Point just five years after the land was acquired by the Pennsylvania Steel Company and only one year after the first steel was made […]

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A Place of Honor in a Legacy Garden

on December 16, 2020 Bethlehem Steel, Bethlehem Steel Legacy Project, Stories and Tags: , , , , , , with 0 comments
This photo shows a row of bricks and a commemorative plaque that reads, "Bethlehem Steel Legacy Garden" Part of the Bethlehem Steel Legacy Garden, near the iconic WWII-era Whirley Crane on the BMI’s campus.

By Claire Mullins Like many men of his generation, Wendell Wesley Doyle proudly joined the military upon graduating from Sparrows Point High School in Dundalk, Maryland, and became a Navy turret gunner on the USS Saratoga during World War II.    When the war ended, he returned to Dundalk, married his sweetheart, and started a […]

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Women of Steel: Rita Hamlet

on December 1, 2020 Bethlehem Steel, Bethlehem Steel Legacy Project, Industrial Heritage, Oral history, Stories, Women of Steel and Tags: , , , , , with 0 comments
A woman with dyed red hair speaks and gestures with her hands. Rita Hamlet pictured in April 2019, courtesy of Bill Barry

Rita Hamlet began working on the ore dock at Bethlehem Steel shortly after the steel industry’s consent decree of 1974 opened more pathways to employment for women and African American workers. At Bethlehem Steel, Rita worked in many different places all while raising her five children. She sat down for an interview with labor historian […]

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Documenting the Fall of Bethlehem Steel

on November 13, 2020 Bethlehem Steel, Community Partnerships with 0 comments

A Zoom conversation with J. M. Giordano The Baltimore Museum of Industry kicked off a virtual road trip for members on July 2: “Documenting the Fall of Bethlehem Steel,” a conversation with Baltimore-based photojournalist J. M. Giordano and BMI Research Historian Joseph Abel. Thursday, July 2, 2020 7:30 pm Zoom Watch the recording on YouTube […]

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From Point to Point

on March 26, 2019 Bethlehem Steel, Contemporary Work Issues, Exhibits, In the Community, Industrial Heritage with 0 comments

  From Point to Point From Point to Point highlights the BMI’s efforts to document the 125-year history of the steelmaking giant and preserve stories of the Sparrows Point community. The BMI recognizes the need to tell the story of Baltimore steelworkers and help carry their legacy forward. The Bethlehem Steel Legacy Project, in partnership […]

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