A Conversation About the Plans

 

I'm standing here on the top floor of the parking garage. This would be one of the highlights of my visit to the Sands Bethworks Casino. This is a photo looking south. The buildings seen were originally part of the Bethlehem Steel complex and today continue their operations in largely the same use as they were intended whether this will continue is a question.

I actually heard the buildings before I saw them. The sound of a massive rush or blower could be heard and this is what attracted my attention. As I was looking at the buildings trying to figure out what was happening I noticed two males to my left surveying the scene. I grabbed this shot and as I was shooting with my digital camera when I overheard the two men discussing the steel mill; from this conversation I assumed they were former Bethlehem steel workers so I went over and introduced myself.

It was quite a conversation.

One of the men had been a fifth generation steel worker and had worked at the mill from right after World War II until the late 1960s; the other had worked there sometime around 1972 when he explained that the "orders just stopped coming in." He later went on to say that by the mid 1980s it was clear that the days of Bethlehem Steel were numbered, but they did hang on until 1995. I asked what was in these buildings. The older one said that when he worked there it was used for the "assembly and fabrication of steel componets." this including supporting machine shops. He explained to me that alot of railroad car couplers were built and assembed here.

As for today, as I understand it. Its a much smaller operation the componets are all imported from places like China and South Korea and similar to the decline and fall of Bethlehem Steel its days are apparantly numbered. "They basically got the machinery, buildings, etc. for free." the former steel workers said.

I didn't ask these individuals if they liked working at Bethlehem Steel or what the environment was. Later I would meet a bartender that worked in the mill also in the 1970s. He told me that it was tough to find a job and though the hours were long, the environment was hard it was still a job that had decent wages. "But some still did quit." he said.