The Steelworkers' Archives was formed in 2001 to ensure that
the legacy of the Steelworkers is preserved.
The goal of the Steelworkers' Archives is to create a permanent
community center in Southside Bethlehem for the preservation
of the history of steelworkers, their rich heritage and diverse
cultures, their struggles and accomplishments.
The Archives will collect and safeguard artifacts and
memorabilia, documenting the extraordinary lives of the men
and women who toiled to create steel. Video and audio
recordings of Steelworkers are ongoing.
STEELWORKERS ARCHIVES, Inc.
Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem
77 Sands Boulevard
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Archives Officers 2014-116
Frank Behum Sr., President
Earl Kurtz, Sr., Vice President
Jill Schennum, Secretary
Mark Cassano Treasurer
Archives Directors 2014-16
Frank Behum, Sr., President
Mark Cassano, Treasurer
Edward A. Leskin
Dennis L. Pearson, Past President
Jill Schennum, Secretary
Rick Walck, Trustee
Kenneth Ziegenfuss, Jr.
Archives Trustees 2013-2014
Administration -- TBD
Mission Interpretation - TBD
Outreach - TBD
Membership - TBD
Financial - TBD
Bylaws - TBD
Website - TBD
Ways and Means - TBD
The goal of the Steelworkers' Archives is to
preserve the history of our steelworkers, their
rich heritage and diverse cultures, their struggles
Steelworkers' Archives Steeples and Steel Tour
Mini bus tours provided historic interpretation of work at the Bethlehem
Steel mill, the South Side Bethlehem churches, and the connections
between steelworkers, their churches, and the South Side's ethnic
steelworking communities during the late 1800's and early 1900's.
The initial one hour section of the tour, guided by a representative from
the South Bethlehem Historical Society, toured steelworker churches
on Bethlehem's South Side (entering one church on each tour). This
was followed by an one hour steelworker guided tour of the former
Bethlehem Steel plant site.
A steelworker's overtime bag lunch was provided to tour participants
for takeout or to eat at St. John's Windish Lutheran Church's Kaiser
Auditorium. Those on the 1:00 PM tours were asked to come earlier for
their lunch. The lunches which were initially prepared for overtime
workers at the Bethlehem Steel Club and later Goosey Gander were
delivered into the various shops by plant patrol when the Bethlehem
plant was still in operation consisted of a choice of sandwiches (ham
and cheese, turkey, beef or tuna salad), Tiger brand cheese wedge,
hardboiled egg, potato chips, some form of tasty Kake, fruit (such as
an apple or an orange) and a soda. The Archives first thought of
providing overtime lunches on tours when Dennis Pearson organized
the Archives Car Van tour of the Lehigh County Historical Society's
facility in Alburtis Pennsylvania called Lockridge Furnace.
On each tour day, the Steelworkers' Archives, the South Bethlehem
Historical Society, the local churches and community based organized
displayed historical material and artifacts at a open house from 10:30
AM through 2: 30 PM in St. John's Kaiser Auditorium. The open house
was free and open to the public and additionally offered to the public a
12:15 PM tour of the St. John's Church.
Reservations were required for the mini-bus tours. Tickets were $15 per
person and could be ordered at http:/www.steelworkersarchives
com.tickets.html or by calling the Archives Office at (610) 861-0600. The
tours left from St. John's Windish Lutheran Church, 617 E. Fourth
Street, Bethlehem Pa.
The initial Steelworkers' Archives Steeples and Steel Tour was held on
June 28, 2014 with the St. Joseph Windish Roman Catholic Church
being the featured Church on the morning tour, with the University
Parish of Holy Ghost Roman Catholic Church being the featured church
in the afternoon.
The follow-up Steelworkers' Archives Steeples and Steel Tour was held
on July 26, 2014 with the Incarnation of the Lord Parish Roman Catholic
Church ( formerly the Saints Cyril and Methodius Roman Catholic
Church) being the featured church on the morning tour, with the Holy
Infancy Parish Roman Catholic Church being the featured church in the
By all accounts, the above Steeples and Steel Tours were very much
appreciated and praised by those who participated in the tours. And
Past President Dennis Pearson said personally, I am very pleased that
in my term as President of the Archives that the legacy of those who
worked at the steel mill and their churches were combined in a very
appropriate way to preserve this legacy.
Be it noted that August 23, 2014 wad the next date for the Steelworkers'
Archives Steeples and Steel tour with the Concordia Lutheran Church
being the next featured church on the morning tour, with St. Ursula
Parish Roman Catholic Church being the featured church in the
The concluding Steeples and Steel Tour for the season was September
20, 2014 with the St. John A.M.E Zion Church as the featured Church in
the morning, with the Cathedral Church of the Nativity being the
featured church in the afternoon.
And again Pearson said personally:
" I am looking forward to the last tour of the season as this last tour is
already sold out and six members of my extended family will be
participants in that tour.
With sincere thanks, I thank the past Administration and County
Council of Northampton County for providing us with the seed money
through its Hotel tax program to initiate planning for this year's tour.
And trust that the current Administration and County Council would do
the same for next year's tours.
In conclusion, I can't help but give kudos to Jill Schennum and Susan
Vitez for their hard work for putting the grant proposal together. Jill, of
course, as my appointment to be Chair of Mission Interpretation, when
present, chaired all committees that put the Steeples and Steel tour
together; and Susan, well , without her due diligence in dealing with the
issues related the Steeples and Steel Tours, these tours would only
have been a proposal not a reality."
Steelworkers' Archives Steelwalkers Tour
Discover the untold stories of life at the Bethlehem Steel by the men
and women who worked there.... The tours led by former Bethlehem
Steel Corporation workers who are also members of the Steelworkers'
Archives were first begun by the Archives in 2013, In these tours
you'll learn first-hand what went right, and what went wrong, with one
of the nation's industrial giants - a corporation that built our nation by
creating the steel for the Golden Gate Bridge, the Manhattan Skyline,
Madison Square Garden and more.
These 75 to 90 minute tours are filled with stories that can only be
told by people who performed the many different jobs in shops and
departments at the gigantic steel mill. Learn about the skills and
collaboration needed to make steel, and discover the excitement and
dangers that came with the job.
People like Les Clore, Mike Dzwonczyk, Joe Mayer, Donald Trexler,
Marlene Burkey, Jill Ruch, Mike Pron , Frank Behum Sr, Tom Sedor,
Jerry Werkheiser and Dennis Pearson, want you to become a
participant in this quality tour.
Tours normally conclude with a talk by Richie Check, who worked in
the Rigger Department for 44 years.
This is an experience unlike any other walk alongside the men who
made the steel at the Bethlehem Steel!...
The remaining dates for our Steelworkers' Archives Steelwalkers
tours in 2014 are:
September 27, October 4 . October 11, October 18, October 25 and
November 1 ... Punch in time 11;30 AM
Tours depart from the Visitor Center at SteelStacks, 711 E. First St.,
Bethlehem. For more information, visit: www.artsquest.org or call
610-332-3378. and/or 610-861-0600 Total Cost for your experience is
$15 which includes the Artquests processing fee.
Steelworkers Archives Steelworkers Legacy Essay Contest
The Steelworkers' Archives Legacy Essay Contest is open to all students in
grades 6, 7 and 8 of the Bethlehem Area School District and other
participating school districts we may make an agreement with in the future
including all parochial, private and charter schools in each participating.
district. Archives President Dennis Pearson initiated the Legacy contest for
the Archives in the 2013-2013 school year and continued it in the 2013-
2014 school year. Jill Schennum assists Dennis in judging the contest
Theme: The mission of the Steelworkers' Archives is preserve the legacy of
the men and women who made a good living working in the steel industry.
If a family member worked at the local Bethlehem Steel plant or another
plant in its system, please describe this legacy in conjunction with the total
legacy and importance of the steel industry in the Lehigh Valley region
(which includes the Bethlehem Steel's home base the City of Bethlehem)
as well as the nation and the world. If no family member worked at the local
Bethlehem Steel plant or another plant in its system, please describe the
value of the legacy of this total labor combined in relationship to the
importance of the steel industry in the Lehigh Valley region (which included
the Bethlehem Steel's home base the City of Bethlehem) as well as the
nation and the world.
For the 2013-2014 school year, the winners of the Steelworkers Legacy
Essay Contest were deemed as following:
1st Prize --- This year's first place winner is Ava Lobach, of Mrs. Hriniak's
class, Nitschmann. She will receive an award of $100 for her first place
Our judges found that this poem poignantly described the contradictory
feelings accompanying pride in steelmaking, and the loss of steel work in
Bethlehem. The poem recognizes the struggle of workers to comprehend
that something so central to their lives and such an enormous presence in
the city, could close, could cease to exist. It also attempts to describe the
ways that workers made sense of maintaining meaningful lives in the wake
of the closure.
2nd Prize --- This year's second place winner is Clintonae Thomas from
Nitschmann. She will receive an award of $75.
Again, Clintonae describes the ambiguous emotions related to the closing
of the Bethlehem plant. In her poem she highlights major historical trends
-- moving out of poverty into steel jobs, the pride of earning a family living
through hard work--through the voice of her narrator. She then goes on to
describe the effects of deindustrialization on her narrator -- his worries
about his children's future, and his proud memories of the Steel
3rd Prize --- This year's third place winner is Marcus Rivera, of Ms. Sierra's
class at Nitschmann. He will receive an award of $50.
Our judges found Marcus' expressive language to be highly evocative and
moving. His rich use of metaphor, "the heart, the soul and grime of the
small city lays on a gurney," makes his images of both pride and loss come
alive in this poem. We strongly encourage Marcus to continue writing
creatively as we admire his great potential in poetic writing.
The Steelworkers' Archives, Inc. would like to give recognition to honorable
mentions (these come with no monetary award, but with a certificate of
recognition) to the following students:
Mia Janelle McLendon, of Ms. Sierra and Mrs. Hriniak classes, Nitschmann
The panel liked the way that Mia integrated historical data into her moving
poem. We appreciated her use of figurative language, such as the
alliteration she used in "solid, sturdy, steel stacks" and "dry, dead grass."
She highlighted the contradictions of steel work -- workers taking pride in
building the weapons of war and destruction. She recognizes the role of
strikes and protest in achieving improved working conditions. We felt this
was a very insightful poem.
Erica Hummel, of Mrs. Hriniak class, Nitschmann
This moving prose piece links the student with her grandfather -- a former
foreman at the Bethlehem plant. The author highlights the strong work
ethic and pride in work crucial to many steelworkers. She discusses her
grandfather's valuing of respect for and working with the steelworkers he
supervised. In this piece, Erica connects her grandfather's life experience
with broader historical transformation.
Kiara James, of Mr. Ihling's class, Nitschmann
In this short prose piece, Kiara incorporates a great deal of historical data
about Bethlehem Steel. We appreciated the historical research put into the
Leahanna Sine, of Ms. Shenk's class , Northeast Middle School
Again, we appreciated the historical data and research that went into this
short prose piece. Leahanna does a good job of connecting the steel mill
to the city and the life of people in Bethlehem.
Archives President describes the selected essays as very thought
provoking .... Simply put, they are not simple research with the standard
lines from such research.
Monetary Prizes and certificate were given to these students in presence of
their families and teachers at the beginning of the Archives Membership
Meeting of Monday, June 9. We would like to post winner's poems and
essays on the Archives' website and in our newsletter.
These students in addition to their monetary prize will be invited to join one
of our Steelworkers walking tours along with their parents and siblings
And our intent is to post these poems and essays on the Archives' website
and in our newsletter in the future.
Rules concerning the contest
• Students may write either prose or poetry on this topic
The cover should contain the signature of a teacher familiar with the work
of the student, as an indication that, in the teacher’s best judgment, the
entry is the original work of the student. No prize will be given if any
plagiarism is discovered.
The piece of writing should contain a minimum of at least 250 to a
maximum of 500 words. Poetry is not subject to word count limitation,
• Students must write on one side of the paper only. A title should
appear at the top of the first page. Double spaced computer generated
essays are preferred.
The entry must be the student’s original work in all respects. It should
reflect her or his own thoughts and style of writing. No quotes.
• Entries will be judged on the basis of thoughtfulness and originality of
content, organization. Clarity and correctness of expression. Winners will
be judged by the Steelworkers Archives, Inc •