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Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Had to make the long trip from Maryland to Allentown PA this weekend to say goodbye to an old fried and mother of my wife. As with events of this nature I looked for opportunities to remove myself from the immediate family and allow them to deal with their loss in what ever way they might chose. A circumstance would have it my only "extraction" of note was to revisit a area recently revitalized in nearby Bethlehem, city of my birth.. (Which is another story, for another time.) The area in question was what is locally known as "The South Side" was the home of the sprawling Bethlehem Steel Complex "The Steel" an area roughly 1/3 mile X 2 miles. bordered by the Lehigh River and blighted neighborhoods. Crowned by the Lehigh University Campus on the slopes of South Mountain. It's lot was not helped when The Steel closed down and padlocked the site. Fast forward to the present. I was very happy to see the repurposing of the site as a entertainment area actually seems to be working. Anchored on one end by the "Sands" Casino. located in the former ore pits, going upriver to renovated buildings containing shops and such, to a large area for arts and entertainment known simply as "the Stacks". But what drew me and makes this area unique is the backdrop of one of the original Bethlehem Steel blast furnaces. Surprisingly the area also allowed closer access to these massive modern implementations of 14th century technology, that dominated the city skyline and my childhood memories, then ever allowed me in the past. I was so taken back by these rusting artifacts, not only by their shear size but also by the historical significant and their dramatically different impacts to the area in the past. These mighty machines are literally what make America what it is today,. But I realize that modern technology has put these once mighty icons of our industrial age, out to pasture, but spared the demolition that befallen many of their contemporaries. So now they can sit in the sun, dreaming the soft dreams of a grand past. Slowly rusting way and occasionally providing a subject for a few tourist snaps.