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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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[Workers in a steel mill]
[Workers in a steel mill]

Rivers of Steel (Steel Industry Heritage Corporation)

As a dynamic source of steel products and technology, southwestern Pennsylvania was once a powerful hub of the Industrial Age-one that propelled the United States to world leadership as an industrial giant for nearly a century. The Pittsburgh prototype of the fully integrated "Big Steel Corporation" was copied all over the globe: in Canada, Europe, the former Soviet Union, and China. Pittsburgh steel was used to build some of the greatest icons of the modern age: the Brooklyn Bridge, the Panama Canal locks, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, the Oakland Bay Bridge, and the United Nations. During World War II, southwestern Pennsylvania became known as America's "Arsenal of Democracy," working around the clock for an Allied victory.

Once based on heavy industry, the area's economy has made a remarkable transition to one based on high technology, advanced manufacturing, and diversified services, such as finance, health care, and tourism. The nonprofit Steel Industry Heritage Corporation (SIHC) seeks to bolster this new regional economy by promoting tourism and economic development based on the region's historical industrial saga. To advance this effort, SIHC created Rivers of Steel, a multifaceted program that conserves and manages the historic, cultural, natural and recreational resources of steel and related industries in southwestern Pennsylvania, and preserves the region's rich legacy for future generations.

Rivers of Steel includes the city of Pittsburgh, and seven counties in what was known as the Pittsburgh Industrial District. The three rivers of Pittsburgh's golden triangle, together with the other rivers in the region, form a scenic armature for an outstanding interpretive program. Five regional journey organizations form the core of the Rivers of Steel program. SIHC provides each regional journal organization with technical assistance, and help with securing funding for project development for landings, attractions, historical sites, and programs based on industrial and cultural themes.

Documentation includes a 26-page report, 60 slides, and an illustrated booklet.

Originally submitted by: Arlen Specter, Senator.

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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