an everyday photo, every day | photography • art • poetry

industrial

Urban Renewal

door with tree
door with tree

Urban Renewal

Nature has a little input in beautification of an old, worn, industrial area.

The audacity of nature never ceases to amaze me, putting down roots beneath a concrete slab and thriving on hope. adding beauty where none thought it possible.

Lovely selection of colors.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Life Survives Where It Will

mullein growing in brick wall
mullein growing in brick wall

A mullein plant grows from a brick wall.

A mullein plant grows from between the bricks.

A seed on the wind found the only spot on a brick wall that has enough space to hold soil blown into it and perhaps a few decayed leaves, and sprouts. It’s a metaphor for many things.

No, that photo really is at the right angle, that is a vertical wall, and several feet off the ground as well. A little bit of moss is beginning to grow between the bricks, but a mullein plant? They have incredible tap roots and actually grow quite tall when they flower, but I guess it’s managed to find enough sustenance here to keep it growing and quite green.

Below, the full wall, just to get a perspective on what the mullein has accomplished.

The rest of the wall it came from.

The rest of the wall it came from.


Patterns

dry weeds with rusty bridge
dry weeds with rusty bridge

Patterns

Bright late winter sun turns up interesting things, the graffiti on a rusted abandoned railroad bridge, and the last tired vestiges of wormwood.


Industrial Abstract

wildflowers by industrial items
wildflowers by industrial items

Industrial Abstract

A few hardy wildflowers still hold shriveled, faded leaves and just the seeds left from abundant flowers blooming around industrial debris. The debris itself is most interesting, a huge metal spool alternately rusting in various patterns with a few flecks of turquoise paint left for effect. The contrast of the delicate, brittle flowers washed by the sun and the solid, heavy object held in shadow is perhaps the story of how nature will always try to find a way back when it’s been pushed aside and buried, renewing itself slowly but surely, while manmade things slowly but surely sink into the soil.


The Three Amigos

three rusted industrial parts
three rusted industrial parts

The Three Amigos

Industrial objects often have a beauty about them, whether clean and new or rusted, peeling and battered. It’s not often they have a sense of humor.

three metal industrial objects

3 Amigos


Patterns

dry weeds with rusty bridge

Patterns

Bright late winter sun turns up interesting things, the graffiti on a rusted abandoned railroad bridge, and the last tired vestiges of wormwood.


On A Bright Winter Day

abandoned tracks leading to warehouse

Abandoned

It’s amazing what a bright winter afternoon can make look interesting and encourage you to explore.

This abandoned rail line was installed over 100 years ago and leads to the original Superior Steel building and what’s been added on to it. Now the rail line has fallen into disuse as have most of the buildings which comprised Superior Steel, but on a bright, stark winter afternoon there is something lovely in their shabby, peeling and rusty countenance, softened by ripened grasses, Queen Anne’s Lace, dock and sumac trees.


Superior Steel

photo of wall from mill building

All that's left.

This is nearly all that’s left of what was once the largest industry in what was originally Chartiers Borough, employing thousands in Carnegie, Glendale, Scott and Collier between 1893 and 1962 including quite a few members of my family. Of the fifteen acre site on a bend of Chartiers Creek, five acres were a gift from Major James Glenn, five acres purchased by the business community in Carnegie and the other five by the citizens of Carnegie.

It opened with 100 employees and went on through two World Wars and on Great Depression to fabricate rolled steel for Pittsburgh, the United States and the rest of the world. The ten-hour day as a “catcher” for the mill paid 11 cents an hour, and a rifleman rode the pay wagon that carried the cash from the bank on payday. I remember my uncles and others saying with pride that they had worked for Superior Steel, remembering the camaraderie of the place that employed relatives and friends so must have been like working with family.

They merged with Copperweld Steel in 1957, were sold to Fulton Industries in 1961, then suddenly closed in March 1962, saying it was operating at a loss. It was certainly a loss to the communities which for several generations had come together to build the company, and worked together to keep it working.

This wall marks a section of expansion from 1911, and many of the shells of the original buildings still stand but much has been removed, rebuilt or has been left to rust away and be overcome with native plants. Many of the buildings housing the rolling machines and other equipment that vibrated or pounded or moved dramatically were built on flooring that was actually 4×4 oak or maple wood cut 12″ or 18″ long and set on end so that the floor looked like wooden tiles, but the wood’s grain would absorb the vibration of the equipment and carried it off into the soil so that the machine wouldn’t loosen from the floor or be damaged by its own vibration, and people could actually stand near it. I remember in the flooding of Hurricane Ivan in 2004, the industrial residents of one of the buildings said this last vestige of that time, the wooden floors, swelled with creek water, popped up and floated away.

This information is just a tiny portion and was found in two books: A Track Through Time, A Centennial History of Carnegie PA 1894-1994, V. Robert Agostino, Historical Society of Carnegie, PA, Wolfson Publishing; 1994; and Carnegie, Sandy Henry, Arcadia Publishing, 2006.

This is also one of the images in my photo exhibit, Carnegie Photographed. I had originally taken this photo in black and white for the starkness of its nature, but went to color because I think it brings across the point of loss so much more effectively.


Industrial Abstract

wildflowers by industrial items

Industrial Abstract

A few hardy wildflowers still hold shriveled, faded leaves and just the seeds left from abundant flowers blooming around industrial debris. The debris itself is most interesting, a huge metal spool alternately rusting in various patterns with a few flecks of turquoise paint left for effect. The contrast of the delicate, brittle flowers washed by the sun and the solid, heavy object held in shadow is perhaps the story of how nature will always try to find a way back when it’s been pushed aside and buried, renewing itself slowly but surely, while manmade things slowly but surely sink into the soil.


The Three Amigos

Industrial elements

The Three Amigos

Industrial objects often have a beauty about them, whether clean and new or rusted, peeling and battered. It’s not often they have a sense of humor.

three metal industrial objects

3 Amigos