Two build­ings do­nated to steel mu­seum

ArcelorMit­tal do­nated two his­toric mill build­ings to the Na­tional Iron & Steel Her­itage Musuem in Coatesville.

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Brian McCul­lough bm­c­cul­lough@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @wc­dai­ly­lo­cal on Twit­ter

“We now get 5,000 visi­tors a year. I would ex­pect this to dou­ble or triple that.” – James D. Ziegler, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Iron & Steel Her­itage Mu­seum

COATESVILLE >> A dream more than 20 years in the mak­ing is be­com­ing re­al­ity for op­er­a­tors of the Na­tional Iron & Steel Her­itage Mu­seum and the Lukens His­toric District.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion Mon­day an­nounced it com­pleted the ac­qui­si­tion of two his­toric mill build­ings, which it re­ceived as a gift from Arcelor-Mit­tal, cur­rent owner of sprawl­ing steel mill prop­erty in the city.

The two build­ings, known as the 120” Mill and the Mo­tor House, will ex­pand the mu­seum area and will be key fac­tors in the re­vi­tal­iza­tion of Coatesville, the steel mu­seum said in a state­ment an­nounc­ing the ac­qui­si­tions.

The non­profit plans to ren­o­vate the un­used steel pro­duc­tion build­ings into a mu­seum cen­tered on the story and science of iron and steel man­u­fac­tur­ing. The com­bined space of over four acres in both build­ings will add a large ex­hibit space to the ed­u­ca­tion-based mu­seum. The new space will fo­cus on visi­tor dis­plays, largescale ex­hibits and ar­ti­facts of iron and steel pro­cesses and prod­ucts.

“It’s been a long time com­ing,” said James D. Ziegler, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the iron and steel mu­seum. “It’s a very kind and gen­er­ous do­na­tion” from the plant’s cur­rent owner, ArcelorMit­tal.

The ad­di­tional space and the pro­grams they’ll bring are an im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment for the mu­seum and district, he added.

“We now get 5,000 visi­tors a year,” Ziegler said. “I would ex­pect this to dou­ble or triple that.”

While the site has been ac­tively pro­duc­ing iron and steel since 1810, the two build­ings were built as part of the World War II ef­fort, where steel for bat­tle­ships, air­craft car­ri­ers, sub­marines, as well as de­stroy­ers, land­ing craft, and tank parts were man­u­fac­tured. Pro­duc­tion was halted in the build­ings in 1982 when the rolling mill was moved to another plant in Con­shohocken, the for­mer Alan Wood Steel Plant. Ef­forts to ac­quire the build­ings be­gan in the fall of 1995, when then-Lukens Steel and the Gray­stone So­ci­ety had the idea to re­use an in­dus­trial build­ing on the plant grounds for com­mu­nity pur­poses.

Due to nu­mer­ous own­er­ship changes at the steel mill, the plan was of­ten put aside as new own­ers were brought up to speed on the re­quest, the or­ga­ni­za­tion ex­plained on Mon­day. It fi­nally be­came a re­al­ity with the help of cur­rent plant Gen­eral Man­ager Ed Frey and his ArcelorMit­tal tran­si­tion team, the mu­seum said.

“ArcelorMit­tal Coatesville is pleased to trans­form a 20-year vi­sion into a re­al­ity through the do­na­tion of the 120” rolling mill and mo­tor house to the Na­tional Iron & Steel Her­itage Mu­seum,” Frey said. “This wouldn’t be pos­si­ble with­out the sup­port from our lead­er­ship at both the USA and cor­po­rate lev­els ... Yes, we pro­duce steel that is crit­i­cal to our mod­ern life, but we also strive to be an ac­tive and wel­comed mem­ber of this com­mu­nity. We are ex­cited to share our in­dus­try’s his­tory and ad­vance­ments in in­no­va­tion with our neigh­bors, chil­dren and visi­tors alike.”

The or­ga­ni­za­tion said the mu­seum will ap­peal to visi­tors of all ages. Ed­u­ca­tional ex­hibits will take the visi­tor through the world of how steel is made, with a spe­cial fo­cus on science and engi­neer­ing. Visi­tors will see the mul­ti­tude of struc­tures, from bridges, to pub­lic build­ings, to mil­i­tary ve­hi­cles that con­tain steel. Ro­tat­ing ex­hibits, sim­i­lar to the cur­rent, “Penn­syl­va­nia Iron & Steel: 300 years of In­dus­trial Might,” will be show­cased in the new mu­seum, along with cher­ished ar­ti­facts and col­lec­tions cur­rently housed in the Lukens Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fice Build­ing.

Ini­tial safety and se­cu­rity checks of the build­ings will be­gin im­me­di­ately. For the phased open­ing, a por­tion of the Mo­tor House is planned to be open to visi­tors first, with the en­tire fa­cil­ity open­ing in the com­ing years. With its full open­ing, it will have over 89,000 square feet of en­closed space.

Ziegler said the Na­tional Iron & Steel Her­itage Mu­seum is work­ing with a fundrais­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion to de­ter­mine how much will have to be raised for ren­o­va­tions.

The ad­di­tion of the new build­ings will show­case the cur­rent col­lec­tion, in­clud­ing that of the Brandy­wine Man­sion, Gray­stone Man­sion, Ter­racina and the Lukens Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fice Build­ing, the steel mu­seum said.

Mu­seum Pres­i­dent Scott G. Hus­ton said he is pleased with the ac­qui­si­tion.

“This is an event we have an­tic­i­pated for a very long time here at the mu­seum. To fi­nally be able to show visi­tors the life cy­cle of steel in its en­tirety and view the World Trade Cen­ter tri­dents as they once stood is a great honor. But most im­por­tantly, to ig­nite pas­sion in young

minds to science, tech­nol­ogy, engi­neer­ing, arts, and math is crit­i­cal to our col­lec­tive fu­ture.”

The Na­tional Iron & Steel Her­itage Mu­seum will also house a me­mo­rial and ex­hibit of the World Trade Cen­ter Steel tri­dents (trees). The 450 tons of tri­dents rep­re­sent­ing nine struc­tures will be re-erected out­side of the 120” Mill. The tri­dents will be in the ex­act for­ma­tion as they orig­i­nally stood on the North Tower of the World Trade Cen­ter. Each mas­sive tri­dent will be can­tilevered 10 feet in the ground to cre­ate a free­stand­ing struc­ture.

The of­fi­cial trans­fer of the prop­erty took place pri­vately on Oct. 31, Ziegler said. A fu­ture ground­break­ing cer­e­mony, which will be open to the pub­lic, is planned.


Shown is the Steel­work­ers Me­mo­rial with the 120” Mill in the back­ground. The me­mo­rial fea­tures one of the 50-ton steel tri­dents from the World Trade Cen­ter.


The team re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing the mill trans­fer a re­al­ity, from left: James Ziegler, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of NISHM; Scott G. Hus­ton, pres­i­dent, NISHM; Charles L. Hus­ton III, pres­i­dent of The Hus­ton Foun­da­tion; Ed­ward Frey, gen­eral man­ager of ArcelorMit­talCoatesville; Shel­don Gregg, unit pres­i­dent of Lo­cal 1165-00/ USW; and Eu­gene DiOrio, his­to­rian at NISHM.

An artist’s ren­der­ing of the new­est build­ings that make up the Na­tional Iron & Steel Her­itage Mu­seum in Coatesville.

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