Carrie Blast Furnaces secures $ 360,000 federal grant to preserve former steel mill site in Rankin

October 1 — Stabilization and restoration work on key components of Carrie’s blast furnaces in Rankin, where iron was once produced for US Steel Corp.’s Homestead steel mill, could begin this fall on a project valued at $ 720,000 , thanks to a grant of nearly $ 360,000 to the Homestead-based organization that administers the site.

“It is vitally important for us to preserve these sections. We want to stabilize the site for future generations, so that they can learn more about the history of the area, ”said Ronald Baraff, director of historic resources and facilities for Rivers of Steel, who oversees the site from the factory belonging to Allegheny County. The goal is to start this fall and continue through the winter, depending on the weather, and until next spring, Baraff said.

With the factory built in 1906, some of the supporting steel beams are starting to fail or have been weathered for decades and out of production, Baraff said.

Engineers assess the plant, which has been designated a national historic monument, and determine priorities for what needs to be fixed, said August Carlino, president of Rivers of Steel.

In order to do the job, the Rivers of Steel were able to secure allocation from the National Park Service Historical Preservation Fund to stabilize three critical sections of the blast furnaces: Cast House No. 6, where the iron was mined; the furnace and the purification bridges, which generated heat for the site and treated the gases from the furnaces; and the water channel, a slag by-product transport trough.

The Home Office requires the “highly competitive” Save America’s Treasures grant to be dollar-for-dollar, Baraff said. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has given Rivers of Steel a grant of $ 100,000 and foundations and donors in the Pittsburgh area have expressed interest in supporting the project, Baraff said.

A spokesperson for the Park Service could also not be reached for comment.

The funding will help ensure that Carrie’s blast furnaces remain open to the public for tours and that significant parts of the site are not damaged beyond the point of repair, Rivers of Steel said. Cast House No.6 and the Stove Bridges are part of the public tours, but the water channel area is restricted for safety reasons, the organization said.

Last month, the Allegheny County Redevelopment Authority and the Regional Industrial Development Corp. and Whitaker.

Joe Napsha is an editor for Tribune-Review. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter.

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