Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Gateway Clipper - Lords of the Mon

Took a 2.5 hour river tour, with the presentation of "Lords of the Mon". We traveled north on the Monongahela River while the presenters discussed the coke, iron and steel mills and the industry. The first photo is of a bridge, called a "Hot Metal Bridge". The hot metal was transported from one factory to the other across the river, and the bridge was reinforced to prevent disasters. Mom told us that her father had been driven some of the trains that did this type of work.
This is at the Carnegie Steel works in Homestead. The mill is now a shopping center, but the pump house remains. It is the scene of the great "Battle at Homestead" in July of 1892, complete with locked-out steelworkers, and 300 Pinkerton agents. The link has this summary:

"This event was the culmination of failed contract bargaining between the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers led by Hugh O’Donnell and Homestead Burgess John McLuckie, and Carnegie Steel led by Henry Clay Frick while Andrew Carnegie vacationed at his castle in Scotland."

Look closely at the photo. You can see the intake pipes, as well as the return. The Pittsburgh rivers were terribly polluted during these industrial ages, and the river was eventually declared dead. It has been brought back to life and is now a thriving recreational and industrial river.

Decommissioned barges are stacked as reinforcement along the river bank. They are filled with dirt and planted.

This is one of the few working plants that we saw.
We took the Monongahela all the way to the first set of locks. Locks, another one of those river technology things that amaze me. But that is saved for another trip.

As we were returning to the station, we passed a barge. This is three barges wide and four barges deep. It was huge. Of course, we were coming into a bend in the river and so was he, coming in the opposite direction. I was a little nervous because we were on the left, but it made sense that he needed a lot of room to keep it all headed in the correct direction.
We returned to "Station Square", a shopping and eating area that now stands where the P&LERR used to be. Mom worked here many years ago.
This was a great trip and gives you a chance to see Pittsburgh from a totally different perspective.

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