The Bethlehem Steel Admin Building controversy: a quick primer
blog by Sarah Burke • November 17, 2012 @ 10:38am
The Bethlehem Steel Administration building continues to remain firmly in the ground despite ongoing attempts by Lackawanna city officials to rid the city of the historic site that serves as a tangible tie to the company that once employed thousands of Western New Yorkers throughout the 20th century .
Vacant since the mid-1980s, local leaders in the Steel City have been fighting for the demolition of the building on the basis that it is unsafe, threatened by collapsed ceilings and unstable floors, and is “ready to implode at any minute.”
The Lackawanna Industrial Heritage Group, however, disagrees these claims.
“This building should remain an element of our waterfront economic development plan, repurposed for generations to come, and therefore should not be demolished. There are many ways to adaptively re-use the structure, and the building was declared structurally sound by the State Historic Preservation office this summer. It is out of the way of residential neighborhoods, fenced off and posted with “No Trespassing” signs; it is not a danger to the citizens of Lackawanna.”
The building was originally scheduled for demolition this past May but was delayed for 90 days to determine the fate of the building.
When the new date arrived in August, protestors won another 90-day court order for the National Register of Historic Places-qualifying structure.
With the next decision-making date soon approaching at the end of November, local preservation groups—including the Lackawanna Industrial Heritage Group and Dedicated 2 Buffalo —are gearing back up to save the 1901 Beaux Arts structure for good.
Organized groups and local advocates alike are coming together at 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Bethlehem Steel Administration buildingsite (1966 Fuhrmann Blvd., Lackawanna) for I’m Steel Standing, an event set to honor and celebrate the company that caused Lackawanna to thrive.
According to the event’s Facebook page, here’s what you can expect:
- Historic tours (exterior)
- Musical performances
- Interviews with former employees and relatives
- Historic pictures and Re-use ideas
- Draw, paint, or photograph an image of the building!
- Petition drive to save the building
- Food and drink!
Guests are encouraged to carpool due to limited parking.
More information and the most recent updates on the Bethlehem Steel Administration building can be found on the I’m Steel Standing blog. Other sites of interest include a Facebook group for relatives of former Bethlehem Steel employees, the Save the Bethlehem Steel Administration Building Facebook group and the Lackawanna Industrial Heritage Facebook page.
Photo from Facebook.