A Town Without Steel (Paperback)
University of Pittsburgh Press, 9780822956761, 368pp.
Publication Date: October 22, 1998
In 1986, with little warning, the USX Homestead Works closed. Thousands of workers who depended on steel to survive were left without work. A Town Without Steel looks at the people of Homestead as they reinvent their views of household and work and place in this world. The book details the modifications and revisions of domestic strategies in a public crisis. In some ways unique, and in some ways typical of American industrial towns, the plight of Homestead sheds light on social, cultural, and political developments of the late twentieth century.
In this anthropological and photographic account of a town facing the crisis of deindustrialization, A Town Without Steel focuses on families. Reminiscent of Margaret Byington and Lewis Hine’s approach in Homestead, Charlee Brodsky’s photographs document the visual dimension of change in Homestead. The mill that dominated the landscape transformed to a vast, empty lot; a crowded commercial street turns into a ghost town; and an abundance of well-kept homes become an abandoned street of houses for sale. The individual narratives and family snapshots, Modell’s interpretations, and Brodsky’s photographs all evoke the tragedy and the resilience of a town whose primary source of self-identification no longer exists.
About the Author
Charlee Brodsky is associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University in the School of Design, where she teaches photography. She has received two Pennsylvania Council on the Arts’ Individual Fellowships, one in 1992 to document Homestead. She has also curated numerous exhibitions dealing with the history of photography in western Pennsylvania at The Museum of Art at the Carnegie. She is the author, with Linda Benedict- Jones, of Pittsburgh Revealed: Photographs Since 1850.
Praise For A Town Without Steel: Envisioning Homestead…
--Journal of Social History
--Reference & Research Book News