9/11/14: Iconic Bethlehem Steel Sign Rises Again

Modified: January 23, 2015 3:13pm

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Erie County, National Grid Join Steel Plant Museum of WNY to Raise Historic Emblem

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by National Grid Regional Director Dennis Elsenbeck, President of the Steel Plant Museum of WNY Donald Williams, members of the WNY Railway Historical Society, and community members to unveil an iconic “Bethlehem Steel” sign along with other historic Bethlehem Steel items being donated to the Steel Plant Museum. Erie County and National Grid provided $2,000 in grant funding to move the sign from the grounds of the old Bethlehem Steel site, where it had been stored, and assist in getting it mounted at the Museum. The 18’ x 18’ sign, originally installed on the Bethlehem Steel CO South Office Building around 1962 and then taken down and moved across the street to the Galvanized Products Division, was visible for miles to motorists on Rte. 5.

“Seeing this sign in its new home brings back many memories for me, reminds us of all that Bethlehem Steel meant to our community, and re-instills our pride in our industrial heritage. As the son of a steelworker, the Bethlehem Steel logo for me is a symbol of hard work, family values, and a strong community,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “It is an honor to be here today as this iconic sign is once again put on display, and I would like to thank our partners at National Grid and the Steel Plant Museum for helping to bring a vibrant emblem of our area’s culture back to prominence.”

The 2,500 lb. sign is constructed of steel bracing supports, painted steel panels, a stainless steel bezel surround, and has raised stainless steel letters. The sign is believed to have been fabricated in Buffalo by Goergen-Mackwirth using steel panels produced at the Lackawanna plant. In addition to the sign, a section of rail retrieved at the Bethlehem site, along with rail plates and spikes, will also be added to the Museum’s collection. The rail section is a 105 lb. Dudley-type control cooled rail, 6" tall, manufactured at the Lackawanna plant during July 1968.

“Much like the steel industry, National Grid has a long history here in Western New York, and our business was always very much linked to steel and manufacturing,” Elsenbeck said. “We are very encouraged by the renewal we are seeing in this region but, at the same time, we think it is important to honor the past.”

Working with the Local 6 Ironworkers and Staub Trucking, Museum officials were able to extricate and transport the sign from its storage parcel on the Bethlehem Steel site to the Museum property at 100 Lee Street in Buffalo, where new steelwork was constructed to mount the sign for permanent display. The sign was relocated from the Bethlehem Steel site in July and reached its final mounting on September 8, 2014.

President of the Steel Plant Museum of WNY Don Williams added, “Today the Steel Plant Museum of WNY is excited and proud to unveil the iconic Bethlehem Steel logo in its new location at the Heritage DiscoveRY Center. This was truly a team effort to save the logo and have it on display once again".

In addition to the Steel Plant Museum of WNY, Local 6 Ironworkers and Staub Trucking, other organizations assisting in the sign’s relocation and mounting include the Heritage DiscoveRY Center/WNY Rail Heritage Society and PVS Chemical.