0068 The old steelworks plant (USA 035—revisit)

Steelton Travel Blog

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Then comes another tour that takes me back to my April 2004 overnight hike:  Steelton (see entry 0016).  It’s a rather eclectic sort of town.  On one side is a very steep hill with mansions old mansions perched at the top and long stairways leading to Main Street at the bottom… On the other side is a mile or so of rusted decay… the remains of a huge steelworks plant that died years ago.   The hulking remains are a constant reminder of a bygone era.

I learn later that there was a really bad flood here back in the 70s, and only a small section of the plant is now used…

 Steelton may be down, but not out… And that’s thanks to an ongoing influx of immigrants.  Main Street itself is an odd mix of funky little shops and ethnic stores.  Pakistanis, Moroccans, Mexicans… all sorts of people have made Steelton their new home.

 I notice an old cathedral that looks a bit odd… All the crosses have been removed!  With a closer look I can see why… it has now been converted into a mosque—one of the two in Steelton.  It suddenly brings back images of Istanbul and Sevilla where converting churches into mosques, or vice versa is a symbol of conquest.  Hopefully the Christian folk in Steelton won’t interpret it this way, or there could be trouble here down the road…

 I’ve come back to Steelton several times—either to eat tacos at the “real” Mexican restaurant, or to shop at the Middle Eastern foodstore—and chat with the friendly Nigerien cashier who is tickled by the fact that I’ve been to his country… There’s actually a sizeable Nigerien (from Niger) community here—I work with a couple of them who are very ambitious, working and studying full time…

 Today it will just be a quiet stroll up Main Street and a quiet little session on a bench in front of Town Hall.  I manage to get a pretty good clip with the decaying Steelworks in the background…

 Frankly I find it a disturbing trend… old industrial zones near the big city are just left to rot…while in nearby places like Carlisle, perfectly good farmland is being torn up and converted into warehousing zones—all because it’s cheaper than cleaning up and reusing old industrial areas…

 So rather mixed feelings about Steelton.


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Steelton
photo by: nathanphil