Almost Gone (photographs of Bethlehem Steel)

In my opinion, Bethlehem Steel's Lehigh plant was probably the most dramatic industrial abandonment in the United States. It was a massive, complex, and desolate relic of America's great, lost industrial age. I first visited and photographed Bethlehem Steel on January 31st, 2003. By sheer coincidence, at midnight that night, Bethlehem Steel Corporation was dissolved. So I am quite likely the last person to have photographed this magnificent location while it was still under the dominion of Bethlehem Steel.

This body of work - only partially represented here - was my first attempt at a serious photography exhibit. Some pieces here have gone on to win awards, and it still remains my favorite photographic body of work. Shortly after completing it I teamed up with a small production company and we made a short film using my photographs and some video I had taken. Check it out.

Bethlehem Steel
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Marilynn Simon Stumfall11/15/2016
My dad Al Simon worked for Bethlehem Steel in Vernon from 1934 to 1969 and died in 1970. I have memories of the molten red ingots on some kind of railroad cars. And especially I remember when the molten steel was poured. Last he work with the Electric Furance. Once he came home badly burnt.
Joyce Underwood Horak10/09/2016
My father worked for Bethlehem Steel, Vernon from the mid 1940s until he o retired in the late 1960s. My husband also worked there for almost 15 years. As a child my dad and I would stand outside the fence and watch the dinky diesel train pull the flatbeds of steel around the property.
Timothy Martin08/04/2016
I remember passing by the Vernon plant on Slauson Ave. you would see them lifting those molten red hot giant chunks of steel, You would fill the heat as you passed by. I wish there was some photos of that.
thomas robinson05/15/2016
I remember passing the Vernon plant.stopping at downey ave. you could look inside and see the large vats with orange glow liquid steel. scared me as a kid,but wow,what a site!! I miss the America I grew up with!!
Fred Mihalow01/30/2016
It's too bad we can't see more photos with BSCO doing what it used to do -- making steel.
Ronald Norberg02/16/2014
I also worked at Vernon plant. 12 rolling mill and rebar shop. any photos?
Josie Lucero Guerra11/03/2012
I was so glad to come across your site. My father used to work at Bethlehem Steel in the city of Vernon, Cal. From the sixties to 1980 when they closed it down. I have been trying to find pictures of the plant but only come across the one in Pittsburg.