The mills are long gone. The furnaces produced steel and iron for the last time around 2012, when the Bethlehem Steel mill in Sparrows Point shuttered for good and was torn down. But the art of making things with those metals is still alive in the city.
G. Krug & Son, which has been operating continuously from its W. Saratoga Street shop since 1810, still maintains a forge, crafting everything from fences to memorials–basically all things made with iron.
“We are a unique resource because of our extensive knowledge,” says Peter Krug, now the fifth generation of the family to run the business.
On the day we visited, amid the clanging of iron on anvil and a whoosh of the bellows stoking the forge fire, the shop was in the middle of creating a memorial for elevator operators, as well as assembling a fence piece.
For the curious, the shop also houses a museum commemorating the work and techniques of the past. Krug, whose son, Aaron, represents the sixth generation to work the forge, says he’s proud of how the display honors the company’s history.
“[We use] an inventory of our own original historical designs, [which] we use to provide for the restoration and reproduction of historical ironwork.”