Originally published on Channel 7 WKBW, “Group Hopes to Save Bethelem Steel,” by Rachel Elzufon, 2012 11 18.
Sunday afternoon local residents and supporters re-ignited the battle to save the historic Bethlehem Steel Administration Building from demolition.
Even hough it has been decades since Bethlehem Steel shutdown in Lackawanna, leaving the building vacant, many believe the structure still has potential.
The building has been standing since the early 20th century. It carries the history of Buffalo’s glory days — when so many middle class Americans worked in the steel industry. Buffalo lay along the rust belt.
Now there is talk of bringing the building down.
Joe Peluso, whose father worked at Bethlehem Steel for decades says “I don’t see the need to tear it down. It’s a national landmark, it’s part of our history here in Buffalo.”
An Erie County Court has put off demolition for at least a little longer. Meanwhile dozens are coming together, hoping to save the building once and for all.
Peluso says “to think about it — if the steel plant wasn’t here, where would a lot of us be today? Would we have the house, the education that we have today?”
The goal of those rallying to save the building is to educate people about Bethlehem Steel’s history in the Queen City. Tens of thousands worked there, even contributing to World War II.
Mary Horowitz explained “They had the planes and ships and tanks — here at the Bethlehem Steel Plant they had one ship after another being built.”
The building has been abandoned since the 1980’s. It is now stained with graffiti, mold and broken glass.
Yet, it remains an architectural beauty remains, leaving many to believe it still has a bright future, maybe as a museum or other business.
Dana Saylor, who organized Sunday’s rally, says “hopefully a developer will come along who wants to turn it into anything from mixed use, boutique, retails, restaurant.”
Saylor is organizing a petition. In the last week, it has collected about 400 signatures. The goal is to get to a thousand.