Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"I'm Steel Standing"- A Celebration of Bethlehem Steel, Sunday 11/18

The Bethlehem Steel building is a stereotypical Buffalo building; beautifully designed, but a harsh reminder of a past that has long since disappeared. The 110 year old building was originally the headquarters of Lackawanna Steel, but was purchased in 1922 by the Bethlehem Steel company. The beautiful building, despite containing incredible defining features, as well as an enormous amount of significance to Buffalo's industrial past, was under threat for demolition as recent as May of this year. The preservationist groups in Buffalo as well as in Lackawanna rallied together and their efforts appeared to give the building another chance.

Unfortunately, as the building is in Lackawanna, a town without Certified Local Government status, it lacks a lot of the same protections important buildings here in Buffalo have. Additionally, an unsupportive Lackawanna mayor, and an owner who would rather see the building razed than restored, mean that Beth Steel is constantly under threat of demolition.

Recently, the "preservation community" has come under attack here in Buffalo for a lack of proactive efforts to save our region's buildings and history. Reading Buffalo Rising comments gives the impression that all preservationists are part of some sort of collective organization dedicated to reactionary obstructionism. 

In reality, the preservationist community is represented by a variety of groups and interests, and when projects of particular importance arise, they tend to rally together. 

This Sunday, several of those groups are coming together to show support for the Bethlehem Steel building.

"I'm Steel Standing" is an event designed to celebrate an important part of the city's and region's past. Featuring music, tours of the exterior, interviews with former employees of the company, as well as food and drink, the event hopes to channel some of the same energy that made City of Night such a success in September by reminding us that Bethlehem is more than a building, but a part of our community and past. 

For more information on "I'm Steel Standing," be sure to check out the event poster, and the Facebook event page. Additionally, be sure to check out some of the groups associated with event by clicking on the links below. 

Save Beth Steel FB Group:

Lackawanna Industrial Heritage Group (LIHG):

I Had a Relative Who Worked for Bethlehem Steel:

Buffalo's Young Preservationists:

Written by Derek King, an Architectural Historian at Preservation Studios. 

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