‘Last Cast 25’ launches Sept. 26
A Steelworkers reunion party, public art project featuring Bethlehem beams, the opportunity for students to discover local history from steelworkers, and the creation of a new children’s book that tells the story of a ‘Tug’ tractor that pulled buggies at Bethlehem Steel are among the highlights of the “Last Cast 25” initiative this fall commemorating the 25th anniversary of the last time steel was made at the iconic Bethlehem Steel plant.
Last Cast 25, which includes both in-person and virtual programming and events throughout the fall, is presented through a partnership between Bethlehem Area Public Library, Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites, Lehigh Valley Public Media, the National Museum of Industrial History, Steelworkers’ Archives, Wind Creek Resort and ArtsQuest.
Launching Sept. 26-27 with the Steel Weekend at the National Museum of Industrial History, Last Cast 25 will feature a series of events and programs that tie arts, music, education and culture to the rich history of the Bethlehem Steel, paying homage to one of the region’s largest employers in the 20th century and the second largest steel manufacturer in the nation. The Bethlehem plant, which employed more than 30,000 people at its height, was instrumental in manufacturing steel for much of the Manhattan skyline, Madison Square Garden and artillery and ships in the two World Wars.
Nov. 18, 1995, was the last cast of iron from a blast furnace in Bethlehem and the Basic Oxygen Furnace, which converted iron into steel, shut down shortly afterwards. The Electric Furnace Melt Shop was the last steelmaking shop to end melting on Nov. 22, 1995.
“Bethlehem Steel’s ‘last cast’ holds a symbolic place in the hearts of many steelworkers and community members. It’s an indelible final chapter in the history of a storied company,” says National Museum of Industrial History President and CEO Kara Mohsinger.
“While the plant’s final days were a sad time for Bethlehem,” Mohsinger says, “we’re glad we can come together now, 25 years later, and remember the worldwide impact Bethlehem’s steelworkers had on our town and our country.”
Confirmed Last Cast 25 programs and events so far include:
Screening of “Bethlehem Steel: The People Who Built America:
Sept. 16, 7 p.m.
Lehigh Valley Public Media
“The First Cast”
Sept 26, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
National Museum of Industrial History
“Faces of Steel”
Starting Sept. 26
Steelworkers Reunion Party
October 3, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
ArtsQuest Center’s Air Products Town Square
Bethlehem Beam Project - “Look for the I-s that built the sk-I-es”
November 2020 Through 2021
Steelworkers’ Archives Exhibition & Activities
Last Cast 25 Community Art Juried Exhibition
Nov. 6-Jan. 3, 2021
The Banana Factory
Steelworkers Archives and National Museum of Industrial History
“Tug” Children’s Book
Bethlehem Area Public Library (BAPL)
“Memories of Steel” Speaker Series
Additional details on Last Cast 25 will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information, visit www.steelstacks.org/LastCast25.
‘Last cast’ photo
deadline Sept. 18
The community is invited to submit photos of family members and friends who worked at Bethlehem Steel Corp. as part of the ‘Last Cast 25’ commemoration taking place this fall to honor the 25th anniversary of the last time steel was manufactured at the Bethlehem plant.
Submissions for the ‘Faces of Steel’ display are being accepted digitally through Sept. 18, 5 p.m., at www.steelstacks.org/lastcast25/. All photo submissions should include the person’s hometown, dates worked at Bethlehem Steel and primary title or role at the company. Photos should be high-resolution images of at least 4 inches x 6 inches and 300 DPI in one of the following file formats: jpeg, tiff, bitmap or PDF file.
Each submitted photo will be displayed as part of the virtual ‘Faces of Steel’ photo gallery at www.steelstacks.org/lastcast25/. In addition, images will be displayed on the outdoor LED screen at Lehigh Valley Public Media Sept. 26-27 as part of the National Museum of Industrial History’s Steel Weekend and as part of the Last Cast 25 Steelworkers Reunion Party in October on the Air Products Town Square at the ArtsQuest Center. Details on the reunion party will be announced in the near future.