NEWSLETTER - April 2015

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SUNDAY - MAY 17, 10AM to 6PM


Steel Clover - Sue Borowski: Celtic singer, songwriter and recording artist of Homestead, PA 
Come out to the historic Pump House at The Waterfront on May 17th and join in a new series of family-friendly activities, craft demonstrations, performances, and open workshops! From 10AM to 6PM, shop at the new Rivers of Steel Festival for delightful gifts handcrafted by local artisans, enjoy the beautiful Celtic music of Steel Clover and savor the regional foods of Pittsburgh's culinary melting pot. Activities span the outdoor site and the Pump House interior for a festive day highlighting our region's rich ethnic, cultural, and folk traditions - both old and new! 


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Your donation to the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area supports the projects and programs that preserve Southwestern Pennsylvania's rich industrial and cultural heritage for future generations.
  eventsEVENTS with RIVERS of STEEL 


Pump House, Munhall, PA  

Opening Reception - May 1, 6:30PM to 9PM


Presented by Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, Steel City Solidarity is the first installment of the multi-part documentary series Citizens of Industry, which explores labor culture in many of its aspects. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has one of the richest labor histories in this country, and is the perfect place to examine the subjects of worker solidarity, organized labor and community culture. Utilizing in-depth interviews, essays and photo documentation, Steel City Solidarity explores the current state of labor activism and tradition in one of the strongest union towns in the United States. This photo exhibit displays 24 images chosen from the Citizens of Industry archive. 

May Day March for Immigration Reform in Pittsburgh, PA
 Andy Prisbylla, Citizens of Industry
Citizens of Industry is a long-term documentary piece chronicling the working class culture of labor's past, present and future.  Created by social documentary photographer Andy Prisbylla, the project utilizes various multimedia to tell the stories of working class people and the landscapes in which they live and work.  The project seeks to explore labor folklore in all its capacities.

Andy Prisbylla is a writer and documentarian who specializes in photo essays. His fieldwork is inspired by social documentary photography, and covers various topics such as working class culture, community and art. He is an alumnus of Kent State University, and is currently pursuing his Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh - School of Information Science. He is an affiliate of the Society for Photographic Education and the American Folklore Society. 


 Please join us for an Opening Reception of the exhibit and meet artist Andy Prisbylla at the Pump House on May 1, 6:30-9PM.

FORGING FREEDOM: Pittsburgh's Wartime Steel Industry
The Bost Building - Saturday, May 16 from 10AM to 2:30PM 

Rivers of Steel and our partner, the Senator John Heinz History Center, are offering a unique opportunity for educators, curators and area experts to examine steel's impact on the region and in the world. Forging Freedom is a part of the History Center's programming for educators, curators, and local experts to attend workshops and educational sessions designed to connect local educators with a selection of valuable sites and exhibits.  

At the Bost Building, former headquarters for the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers during the Homestead Steel Strike of 1892, participants will explore primary sources that expose the lives of the steelworkers and the perspectives of the steel corporations as Pittsburgh became a steel superpower during the Spanish-American War and both World Wars. Rivers of Steel staff will take guests through the 1906 Carrie Blast Furnaces, highlighting Homestead's steel production and its international impact.


All workshops include a classroom resource guide with lesson plans and a boxed meal. Pre-registration is required and space can be reserved through each workshop's individual listing accessed through this link.


Registration Deadline: May 4, 2015 

Credits: Pennsylvania educators will receive four (4) Act 48 credit hours 



TOURS - May 30, June 13, July 25, August 22, and September 19


Explore the magical mix of immigrants and industry that made Pittsburgh the steel-making capital of the world! The tour includes: An interactive presentation about the history of steel manufacturing in Pittsburgh and what it was like to work in a mill;  guided tour of the awe-inspiring Carrie Blast Furnaces (bring your camera to capture the moment); a visit to the Historic Pump House, site of the 1892 Battle of Homestead and concludes with a delicious lunch featuring regional favorites such as stuffed cabbage rolls, pierogies and the beloved cookie table!


Tours will begin at 10 AM at Station Square (transportation provided). 
Cost:  $85 per person - Tickets available through this link


A RUST BELT Culinary Tour
SATURDAY - May 9, May 23 
In the early 1900s, The Steel Valley of Homestead, Munhall, and Braddock was home to immigrants from around the world. These towns, once dotted with retail shops, bakeries, backdoor gardens and many a beer hall, fell silent in the '80s when the mills closed, but now are a part of the Pittsburgh-area renaissance. The tour was created by Mary Miller, owner of  The Fork and the Road, a regional culinary tour company, with shuttling provided by Pittsburgh Tours & More , a division of the Pittsburgh Transportation Group, in collaboration with the 
Enjoy the first of the year's warm weather while visiting a renovated church hall, a modernized mill bar, and other revamped treasures of the still gritty mill towns to savor culinary delights that reflect the region's rich heritage as well as its now trendy rust belt cuisine! Each 4-hour shuttled culinary tour, scheduled from 10:30AM to 2:30PM, provides more than enough food for a meal plus other surprises.  More information and tickets

 toursTOURS with RIVERS of STEEL    


1st Wednesday of the month  - May through October 


On the first Wednesday of the month during our 2015  tour season, enjoy an evening one-hour tour of the Carrie Furnaces site. Each month's tour explores a different portion of this National Historic Landmark site, where you will learn about the iron-making process and the impact of the industry on the region and the world. 


Tours begin at 6:00PM.  Following the tour, head over to the brewery/pub for a crafted brew by one of our local partners: Blue Dust, The Brew Gentlemen and Voodoo Brewery Homestead


Ticket price is $20 and includes your hour-long Carrie Furnaces Happy Hour Tour plus one beer.


Wednesday May 6 -

Wednesday June 3 -
More details available through this link.
Fridays at 10 AM - June, July and August

Saturdays at 10 and 11 AM - May through October

Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area operates tours of the Carrie Blast Furnaces at the former U. S. Steel Homestead Works. Tours take visitors through the iron-making process and include the famous "Deer Head" crafted entirely of materials found on the site.  
US Steel/American Bridge-Iron Worker's Hard Hat
Tom Franko Collection
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the hard hat, Rivers of Steel is offering a special general admission price of $19.15 on guided tours!

"In 1915, my grandfather began work on a helmet that could protect miners from falling objects. He based it on the doughboy, a helmet he'd worn as a soldier in World War I," said Edward D. Bullard, CEO and president of the E. D. Bullard Company. 
Read the history of the hard hat at this link.

New Workshop Option

2014 Photo Safari Tour - Carrie Furnace Photos on Blogspot
Our 3-hour photo safaris will be led by
Ivette Spradlin, a Cuban-American photographer, video artist, and educator. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia and her Master of Fine Arts in Photography from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has shown her work nationally and internationally, and has taught photography and digital imaging at colleges and universities in and around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

*NEW for 2105* - Rivers of Steel will offer the option to tour the Carrie Furnaces and attend a photography workshop prior to, and participate in, a critique session following several of the Photo Safaris.  

Photos taken at previous tours are available for viewing here.
W. A. Young and Sons Foundry and Machine Shop
Summer Sunday Tours - Noon to 4PM
Owned and operated by the
Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, the W.A. Young and Sons Foundry and Machine Shop is a prime example of America's industrial heritage.


William A. Young, owner and operator of the business built the Machine Shop in 1900 with lumber from the family farm.  In 1908, the shop expanded to include the foundry.  The other major change to the shop occurred in 1928 when  electrical service was installed.  


All of the equipment dates from 1870 to 1920.  An intricate system of belts and pulleys throughout the shop runs 25 pieces of machinery, each independent of the other and fully operational powered by one motor.  The motor was originally a 12-horsepower steam engine, which was followed by a 20-horsepower electric engine, and finally replace by a 20-horsepower gasoline engine.


Located at 116 Water Street, Rices Landing, PA,
For reservations, contact George Blystone at 724-710-4898


View the W.A. Young and Sons Machine Shop and Foundry 
Photo Book at Storehouse.



AmazonSmile eligible purchases donate 0.5% to Rivers of Steel Heritage Corp. in support of our mission to preserve the region's heritage. Select Rivers of Steel as your AmazonSmile charitable donation when ordering the same Amazon services and products you know and trust! Click here for more information on donating to Rivers of Steel through AmazonSmile.

National Park Service to Celebrate 100th Anniversary

"During the next school year, the Every Kid in a Park initiative will allow all fourth-grade students and their families to visit national parks, national monuments, and all other nationally protected lands for free."                                                                          

                                                             United States President, Barack Obama in USA Today 


The National Park Service will celebrate its centennial in 2016 and is using this opportunity to invite a new generation of Americans, and those who already know and love the parks, to discover what national parks and other public lands mean to them through the Find Your Park campaign. 


The Find Your Park campaign is as exciting and diverse as the many variations of heritage sites, iconic natural destinations, urban sites and national parks spanning America. Within western Pennsylvania, it's an easy drive to the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, Johnstown Flood National Memorial, Flight 93 National Memorial, Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Friendship Hill National Historic Site and the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area - just a few of the NPS destinations brimming with opportunities for you to explore history, marvel at natural and historic beauty, and join in countless community activities.  Here are just  few of the resources and opportunities available for the 2016 celebration:

  • Join Bill Nye, Man of Science and National Park Service Centennial Ambassador, as he takes two unsuspecting New Yorkers on an impromptu trip through Manhattan's National Parks in this YouTube video
This 2016 expansive, national, year-long-campaign is an unparalleled opportunity to explore nature, discover history and get involved with communities in new and exciting ways through our National Parks. Get ready for your own journey through our nation's parks, heritage sites and natural wonders - Find Your Park!


VOLUNTEER Opportunities with Rivers of Steel

Sharing our region's powerful industrial heritage and cultural life is made possible by the partnership of our volunteer team members. Their indispensable efforts enable not only the maintaining of the sites, but ensure their irreplaceable stories and personal experiences continue to be a vibrant part of the valuable historic landmarks and the programs of 

Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.


TOUR GUIDES/DOCENTS - Have you or your family members worked in the Pittsburgh Steel mills or shared stories of the days of BIG STEEL?  Do you have a passion for the region's history and want to share it with others?  Share your history, heritage and stories as a Rivers of Steel Tour Guide or Docent. Docents will be asked to share their own steel-related stories as they lead tours and interpret our region's industrial history at the National Historic Landmark Carrie Blast Furnaces, the Bost Building, and the Pump House.


SITE VOLUNTEERS- Interested in working with us behind-the-scenes of these incredible national landmarks? We invite you to join us in ensuring our community's powerful story continues into the future by helping to tackle the work necessary to maintain these priceless links to our heritage. 


Contact Angie Morini at: or
call us at 412-464-4020 ext. 31 for additional information.


ALLOY PITTSBURGH 2015 - Selection of Artists 

Congratulations to the artists selected for Alloy Pittsburgh 2015 at Carrie Furnaces:

Ricardo Robinson - Alyssa Kail - Lenore Thomas - Sharon Massey
Patrick Camut - Rose Clancy - Sarika Goulatia - Scott Turri
John Tronsor - Oreen Cohen - Nick Liadis - Dan Ivec
Alloy Pittsburgh 2014 
The ALLOY PITTSBURGH program is conceived as an incubator where regional artists benefit from peer support and enhanced curatorial assistance. After being selected, artists participate in a laboratory where they initiate parallel conversations with the site during a week-long research residency. Following the residency, artists will finalize their plans and begin work on their respective projects. 

The completed artworks will be simultaneously presented in a one of a kind art event to be held at the Carrie Furnaces National Historic Landmark in the fall of 2015. The public will be able to view the work on select days during a 2-3 week time period. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Rivers of Steel and Alloy Pittsburgh.

Available online for iPad and Android tablets

Trail Traveler is the "Insider Guide to America's Greenways"; a new digital magazine that brings you unique and vivid trail experiences, expert advice with local recommendations and travel tips. RAILS to TRAILS CONSERVANCY transforms unused rail corridors into vibrant public places-ensuring a better future for America made possible by trails and the connections they inspire. *Trial sample article available now.
RIVERS of STEEL ARCHIVES - Bost Building, Homestead, PA

Open for research appointments Monday-Friday 9:30AM to 4:00PM

Research materials are available in the form of books, articles, audiovisual recordings, and archival material covering the steel and related industries, labor unions, capitalists, industrialists , ethnic traditions, and cultural groups in southwestern Pennsylvania as well as resources from across the nation.  

To make a research appointment, please call the Archives at 412-464-4020 Ext. 21, or search the collection online.

This month's archival photo:  

1999:03"Pittsburgh - The Industrial City" - This booklet of portraits of noteworthy sites in the city of Pittsburgh. Published by J.R. Welden Co. - Pittsburgh, PA


Available online and at our gift shop

Searching for an interesting book to read, steel industry memorabilia or a special gift? Our gift shop offers a wide selection of historic, cultural, literary and artistic gifts with the added bonus of supporting the Rivers of Steel mission to preserve our regional heritage.

Meet You in Hell: by Les Standiford. The author tells the riveting story of Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the events that transformed their fabled partnership into a furious rivalry. Paperback - 319 p. 



Goat-grazing business fills environmental niche in Western PA 


 Pavlik said she is receiving a lot of interest from potential clients and is in the process of securing a contract with Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area for her company's goats to clear bushes and weeds, and some grass, from about a quarter of an acre at the Carrie Furnaces site.


Walk Across Pennsylvania  



"This year we will be exploring our State Parks. Each week will bring us to five parks where we will virtually walk 10 miles, for a total of 50 miles per week, per team as a goal. The weekly visits will follow a theme and will include parks in the five regions of the state."


National Preservation Awards 


The 2015 National Preservation Awards Nomination Forms are now available. Visit the National Trust for Historic Preservation website for a complete list and links to applications.

 AWARD links and lists


PA Modern Architecture Juried Photo Exhibit


As part of The State Museum and Archives' 50th anniversary commemoration, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission is hosting a juried photo exhibit at The State Museum focusing on Pennsylvania's wide variety of modern architecture. Featured will be submissions of photographs that display examples of mid-20th century architecture constructed in Pennsylvania between 1930 and 1980. 


  Entry applications at THE STATE MUSEUM 


DCNR's acting secretary Cindy Adams Dunn honored as 'Conservation Champion'


In honor of Women's History Month, the National Wildlife Federation recognized top female environmental leaders across the country that have played critical roles in the conservation movement.  


Preservation Pennsylvania invites your applications for the 2015 Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards 



Pennsylvania's Historic Preservation Awards continue a tradition started in 1979 to honor excellence in preservation. The annual awards recognize significant contributions in the field of historic preservation made by both individuals and organizations. The awards are presented annually by Preservation Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth's only statewide not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving Pennsylvania's historic places through creative partnerships, targeted educational and advocacy programs, and advisory assistance.


READ MORE at Preservation Pennsylvania 


As a MEMBER of  Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, you can make a difference in preserving our cultural heritage, natural resources, recreational amenities and assist in economic development of our region. Membership benefits also include: 

*   10% discount in the gift shop 

*   FREE exhibit admission

*    INVITATIONS to members-only events and programming

*   2 COMPLIMENTARY TICKETS  to our Carrie Furnaces Tour!

      for Supporting Members and above


Thank you for supporting the efforts of Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area!