I have often listened to Pete Seeger sing about the bloody strike at the Homestead, Pennsylvania Steel works in 1892 when the owners called in Pinkertons to put down the strikers, but I never knew all the details. Andrew Carnegie left everything up to  director Henry Clay Frick who ordered Pinkertons to come up the Monongahela river in barges and forcibly disburse the strikers. Nine workers and 7 Pinkertons were killed when both sides opened fire.

Henry Clay Frick

Henry Clay Frick

This history tells the story from the building of the town of Homestead to the dissolution of the Homestead steel works in 1986. Production was at a peak during WWII when U.S. Steel made armored plate for battleships and tanks, at which time the company employed over 15,000 people. Steel girders made there were used in the Empire State Building, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the Sears Tower in Chicago.

Workers at HOmestead around 1892

Workers at HOmestead around 1892

William Serrin, a journalist for New York TImes, visited Homestead during many turning points and met many of the people who still remember the steel works in its heyday. He has written a very engrossing history of the plant, the men who started it and the workers who are really the main players! errin gives the story a personal touch by delving into the home life of several workers and tells us how they coped when the works were shut down without notice. A great read!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s