Long ago in a place not very far away, the Mon Valley, just southeast of downtown Pittsburgh, PA, was bustling with industrial might and strength. Huge steel mills lined both sides of the river with several railroads, the PRR, B&O, P&LE, and Union all crammed in what room was left. Then you had tough steel towns using what land was left, Braddock, Homestead, Duquesne, Mckeesport, and Clairton, that housed the thousands of mill workers that gave their life to produce the steel that made everything we used.
Here we see three of those railroads, a Union railroad switcher working the mill at Mckeesport, a mighty 2-8-4 powering a P&LE freight, and to the right, a B&O 4-8-2 T3 with another freight. All while the mill, one of many, works endlessly. This was America in its prime. The greatest generation.
But alas, in pure American greed, the owners where more concerned about quarterly profits and failed to modernize. Then the EPA was formed and like a scythe over hay, all the mills fell. The 1960s and 1970s was a hard time for the mills and what was once the steel belt became the rust belt. Once strong towns became ghettos. Hundreds of acres of mills turned into fields of despair. The railroads fell on equally hard times and the ones that served these mills faced a near collapse.
Ironically, the fast food chains and retail stores built on the sites of these mills where a good living wage could be earned now have employees working minimum wage where workers are demanding more money.
Pen, 5 hours.