Photos by Lisa Willis.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has just shared our story to nearly 40, 000 of their Facebook followers in support of I’m Steel Standing and the preservation of the Bethlehem Steel building!
“Preservation words of wisdom needed! Over the past few months, a grassroots group of Buffalonians has braved the winter elements to help save the Bethlehem Steel Administration Building, a 1901 Beaux Arts masterpiece now slated for demolition. This week, fencing went up and crews started moving in.
What advice do you have for preservation battles that are entering their 11th hour? Share it in a comment and wish our Buffalo friends good luck on Twitter using #imsteelstanding. Also, visit http://imsteelstanding.org/ to learn more about this beautiful building.”
“Completed in 1901, this Beaux-Arts masterpiece would become the administration building for Bethlehem Steel’s mill in Lackawanna, NY. During the 1940’s this was the largest steel mill in the United States, but little is left of its enormous campus now. Following the mill’s closure in 1982, much of the site was razed and this administration building wound up in the ownership of Gateway Trade Center.
By all accounts, GTC cares very little for the history of the area and for efforts to preserve the building. They have left it open to the elements for nearly two decades and rejected proposals from interested developers and preservation groups that have tried to save the building. It seems clear that their intention all along has been to let the building fall apart until it is no longer salvageable and then tear it down. While there are areas of the roof and interior that have deteriorated badly the facade is salvageable and I have seen many projects where buildings in this condition are restored, much to the benefit of the community and culture around it.
GTC appears to have got its wish, however, as demolition may begin as early as today on this site despite a fierce battle by preservationists in the area who would like to keep even a small part of the mill’s history alive for future generations. If you would like to aid their efforts please visit their website http://imsteelstanding.org/ – they desperately need support not through finances but in merely making phone calls on its behalf to demand that the demolition permits are revoked and this iconic site is kept. “
All photographs in this gallery by Chuck LaChuisa.
All pictures by local photographer Steve Siegel