Western Pennsylvania is dotted with what are known locally as mill towns, but few of these communities epitomize this definition more than the municipalities of Homestead, West Homestead, and Munhall. Commonly referred to as the Steel Valley, these towns were home to some of the greatest steel-producing operations in the world. As the Mon Valley’s steel production answered the nation’s call during two world wars, so did the workers who unloaded countless barges of coal and fed the mills’ great furnaces that produced the material needed for weapons, armament, and tanks. Workers emigrated from every country in Europe to make their mark in America. Many of these people spoke little or no English and endured long hours of labor in often hazardous conditions. Their families brought with them the traditions of their varied European cultures, filling their communities with ethnic diversity. Through 200 photographs, Homestead and the Steel Valley conveys the proud heritage of three communities and their role in the nation’s history.
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