From “America’s first female industrialist” to the few locally made “pieces of the World Trade Center left standing after the terrorist attacks on 9/11,” the 206-year history of Coatesville steel still stands tall. And a Chester County institution pays tribute to that rich history by measuring out its centuries-long legacy, according to a recent Daily Local News feature by Bill Rettew Jr.
From the Brandywine Iron Works to Lukens Steel and now ArcelorMittal, the “oldest continuously running steel mill in the United States” is the focus of the National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum in Coatesville, and while the still-busy mill itself is not open to the public, the museum offers guided and self-guided tours of many of its support buildings.
In its early years, the Coatesville steel mill stood tall because of its pioneering leader and Quaker single mom, Rebecca Lukens.
“With some fear but more courage, I began to struggle for a livelihood. … Now I look back and wonder at my daring,” Lukens is quoted as saying in the article.
And that steel mill in Coatesville went on to produce products for some other very daring endeavors over the centuries, including “the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and submersibles to the Battleship USS New Jersey,” the article explained. “Parts used in the aerospace industry, the Seattle Space Needle, St. Louis Arch and Veteran’s Stadium were all made with Chester County steel.”
And, of course, there were the tridents made to support the base of the World Trade Center.
“We’re very proud,” historical advisor Eugene DiOrio said in the article. “It’s a very visible use of our steel.”
Read more about the history and legacy of the Coatesville steel mill in the Daily Local News here.