A Sparrows Point blast furnace once known as the “Beast of the East” is set to be imploded in the coming weeks, but its star will still shine.
Built in 1978, the giant “L” furnace was once the prime engine of the steel-plant facility, which was run by Bethlehem Steel for most of its history. The steel operation has been closed for two years, and Sparrows Point has new owners, Sparrows Point Terminal, who have been clearing away the old industrial facilities to make room for future businesses at the site.
The pending implosion has been rumored for months, but the plant says the furnace will likely come down in early December. This week, Sparrows Point Terminal held a ceremony so workers could reflect on the legacy of the steel facility, which includes making the girders for the Golden Gate Bridge, cables for the George Washington Bridge in New York City and materials that were used in World War I and II.
While many of the physical pillars of the industry will disappear, one part of the furnace will remain. Earlier this month, a group of workers took down the Bethlehem Steel star that hung on the outside of the furnace. The workers refurbished up the star and built a 6 ton steel base. The star was also rewired so it could light up again. As part of remembering the legacy of the steelworkers, Sparrows Point Terminal plans to display the star somewhere on the grounds. If they want to have a giant Christmas tree, they’ve already got the top.
“Many people have asked where it’s going permanently,” a statement from Sparrows Point said. “We’re not sure yet, but we’re working on a plan to display it somewhere appropriate.”
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