A Day in the Life: Woman of Steel

on November 24, 2020 Exhibits, Industrial Heritage, Oral history, Stories and Tags: , , , , , with 0 comments
A black and white photo shows five women meeting to discuss union issues. Meeting of the Women of Steel, 2005. Left to right: Kathy Garrison, Deb Watnoski, Sharon Pritchard, Kathy Hamilton, Gail Fleming. Courtesy of Kathy Garrison.

Interview by Deb Weiner Kathy Garrison started working at Bethlehem Steel in 1976, not long after a consent decree required the company to stop discriminating against women and minorities. She chaired the Women of Steel group from 2004 to 2012, when the plant shut down. Here are edited excerpts from her recent interview with BSLP […]

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Voices of Sparrows Point

on September 8, 2020 Behind the Scenes, Oral history, Stories and Tags: , , , , , , , , , , with 0 comments
A word cloud showing recurring themes from BMI interviews with steelworkers and their families

By Deb Weiner and Auni Gelles Since we launched the Bethlehem Steel Legacy Project in January 2019, BMI staff have sought first-person accounts from individuals who worked at Bethlehem Steel, lived in or around Sparrows Point, or were related to employees. We’ve attended community meetings at Tradepoint Atlantic and around the Dundalk area; held story […]

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Sparrows Point Building Basin is Back in Business

on June 10, 2020 Updates and Tags: , , , , with 0 comments
The Titan entering the Sparrows Point dry dock

By Ken Jones In a previous post I shared the story of the Sparrows Point Shipyard. One of the significant features of the yard was the large 1,200’ x 200’ flexible building basin (dry dock) that went into operation in 1971. At the time of its construction it was one of the largest dry docks […]

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Kindergarten in the Company Town

on June 10, 2020 Stories and Tags: , , , , , , , with 0 comments

by Joel Miller “If you want to see all we recommend in the ideal public school, go to Sparrows Point.”   –M. Bates Stephens, Maryland State Schools Superintendent, 1906 [1] A company town might seem an odd place to find innovative public schooling, but Sparrows Point’s history provides exactly that. Before Bethlehem Steel occupied the […]

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Sparrows Point Shipyard: 100 years of shipbuilding

on May 8, 2020 Behind the Scenes, Stories and Tags: , , , , , , , with 0 comments
This c. 1949 aerial photo illustrates the shipyard’s proximity to the steel plant.

By Ken Jones As mentioned in my previous posts on the Baltimore Yards and Fairfield Yard, I have been helping process and catalogue the BMI’s Bethlehem Steel collection. As I do my work, I find myself reading the materials or closely looking at the photos I am processing. I’ve become fascinated by this collection of […]

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Building a Community Collection

on April 20, 2020 Behind the Scenes, Oral history and Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , with 0 comments
The BMI’s Executive Director, Anita Kassof, shared this image of the museum’s Bethlehem Steel Whirley crane that was used at the Fairfield shipyard during WWII to build Liberty and Victory ships: “This was one of the last photos I took of the BMI’s campus before we closed for the coronavirus. I miss seeing the crane on the skyline each morning as I round the bend of Key Highway on my way to work.”

By Beth Maloney and Auni Gelles The Covid-19 pandemic has changed not only the nature of work for so many across our city but also the ways we are connecting, communicating, and staying close to one another. Even though the BMI is closed, we are working remotely and thinking about how to adapt our existing […]

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The Bethlehem Baltimore Shipyards: Varied Origins, Histories, and Missions

on March 30, 2020 Behind the Scenes, Stories and Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , with 0 comments
The Liberty Ship S. S. Charles Carroll being released from way #2 at Bethlehem Steel Fairfield Shipyard during World War II.

by Ken Jones Being a mid-century born native Baltimorean I was always well aware of “The Point.” I had an uncle that worked there, and a neighbor or two as well. As a kid I knew that they worked there because of the orange dust on their cars or because they had more vacation days […]

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A Day in the Life: Working the Ovens

on February 6, 2020 Oral history, Stories and Tags: , , , , , , , , , , with 0 comments
The ‘A’ Coke Oven Battery at Sparrows Point, c. 1982, from the BMI’s Bethlehem Steel Collection.

by Joseph Abel “You had to dance with the fire a little bit.” In our last post, Deb Weiner recalled highlights from her interview with Roy Hoover, a longtime crane operator in the Bethlehem Steel shipyards. This week, we get a view from the ground with the reminiscences of Gordon Davis, a jack-of-all-trades who worked […]

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