Coatesville, Pennsylvania -
"The Pittsburgh of the East"
Here we have what Coatesville might have looked like today, in the 21st century, had the industrial might of the Lukens Steel Company continued unabated from its prosperous years in the early 20th century. In the foreground from a park near Cityview Ave, we can see the size and scope of the steel plant that once employed a good percent of the local population. What began as the Brandywine Iron Works and Nail Factory evolved into the Lukens Steel Company. As Lukens Steel grew so did Coatesville. By the beginning of the 20th century the population had grown to 6,000, peaking at over 14,500 by 1920. In the 1960s Lukens Steel was still the largest employer in Chester County, with over 10,000 workers.
Today, the company is but a shell of its former self. The company that forged steel beams for the former World Trade Centers was purchased by Bethlehem Steel in 1997 which in turn was bought by International Steel Group in 2003. The following year ISG was bought out by Mittal Steel, an Indian owned company. In 2006 Mittal Steel and Arcelor (a German company) merged to make a steel company three times the size of any other steel company. On September 28, 2020, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. entered into an agreement to acquire the United States steel mill interests of ArcelorMittal which included Lukens. Today, the mill employs just over 600 people and produces approximately 900,000 tons of raw steel from scrap annually. The plant also operates ingot teeming facilities, a slab caster, two plate mills and heat-treating facilities.
The smoke - well, that just happened to be from a nearby fire, but it sure made for a fascinating tale! Can you spot the train? In the background, an Amtrak Keystone is seen traversing the "High Bridge" constructed by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1904. The station, seen here lies just to the east.