"Goodbye, Big Steel"

  • DONOR: Jeffrey T. Heal

One of my favorite paintings in my office at the museum is “Goodbye Big Steel“ by local artist Suzanne Pool Anzellotti (1983), donated to us by Jeffrey T. Heal in 1988. Anzellotti graduated from Miami University with her BFA in Printmaking. She has had a prolific career as a graphic designer and illustrator, even working in retail advertising. She is best known for painting in watercolor, focusing on still life, landscapes, florals, and abstract acrylic collages. You may have seen her works at the Butler during its IAA Midyear event, or the Butler Area Artists show. She also exhibited her works at the Watercolor Ohio 2019 exhibition.

The colors used in “Goodbye Big Steel“ are beautiful - the artist created powerful lines to frame the structures and the image is evocative of the powerful industry that once dominated our landscape. The painting is a three foot by five foot acrylic and provides a close-up view of the various buildings which made up the mills, as well as a glimpse of the surrounding area that reminds viewers that there was a bustling community that thrived from employment at the mills.

"Sweet Jenny"

Jason Lammertin donated the drawing "Sweet Jenny," in charcoal and pastel, that immortalizes the Jeanette blast furnace mentioned in the Bruce Springsteen song “Youngstown.”

As many locals already know, the Jeanette blast furnace was built at the Brier Hill Steel Works in 1917-1918. Named after Brier Hill Steel President W.A. Thomas’s daughter, Mary Jeanette, the furnace was ninety feet tall and weighed 500 tons. The furnace, in service from 1918-1977, produced over 11 million tons of steel for both the BHSW as well as the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company when it bought the Brier Hill Works in 1923.

The furnace “went out” when the mills closed in September of 1977. Although there were attempts by two groups to preserve the furnace, adequate funding was unavailable. The furnace was torn down in January of 1997, ninety-seven years after its erection. Locals mourned its destruction and longed for the days when, our “dadd[ies] worked the furnaces…here in Youngstown.”[1]


[1] Springsteen, Bruce. “Youngstown.” accessed 10/01/2020.

"Certain Death"

Created by local artist Betty Lambert, Certain Death displays a mixture of feelings surrounding the mills.

According to Lambert, the skull represents the number of steelworkers who were killed on the job, as well as the frailty and vulnerability of the human body. The barbed wire necklace resting on a blue collar symbolizes the ongoing conflict between management and workers, and workers often wore their hard hat backward in a gesture of defiance. The crack in the hard hat was an accident that Lambert decided to leave, representing the lack of investment and repairs in the aging mills of Youngstown. The hard hat acts as a gravestone to the fallen mills, as Lambert lists prominent local mills accompanied by their year of closure. Inscriptions on the hard hat reference the workers’ graffiti in steel mill locker rooms, a reminder that the job was all consuming. The artist included statistics like, "1906 2,000 disabled" and "1907 47 killed," to reinforce the little regard for life in the mills.

A quote from Samuel Gompers, the first president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), is inscribed: “The labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce. You can’t weigh the soul of a man with a bar of pig iron.”

"Andrew Krake Light"

  • Donor: Thomas H. Krake

This item was donated by Thomas H. Krake of Canal Fulton, Ohio to the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor in 1993. The light was made for Andrew Krake by coworkers upon his retirement from Youngstown Sheet and Tube in 1975. Krake was hired into the Fuel and Power department in 1934.

The light features a part of Krake’s hard hat with the number of years he worked painted in gold on the side. A figurine that portrays Krake in his uniform stands in front of the hard hat. Besides the figurine is a plaque that includes Krake’s years of employment. Behind the plaque is a sign that reads: “No Andy the green leadwire is not magnetic.”

GM Assembly Line Drawing

  • DONOR: Esther Patierno

Esther Patierno donated a drawing that denotes the many work stations found on a 1970s GM assembly line in Lordstown, Ohio. The drawing is unique and resulted from a school field trip. Struthers Elementary teacher Miss Markovich took her second grade students on a tour of the General Motors assembly plant. The students enjoyed meeting some of the workers and seeing all of the parts, machines, and tools which help make cars. When the children returned to their classroom, their assignment was to draw what they saw. The result is a twelve feet long, three feet wide paper covered with colorful drawings and images. When I was looking at the drawing and talking with the donor, a visitor happened to see it. He was a former GM worker, and commented on the accuracy in the image. Mrs. Patierno had the drawing because her son, Vito was one of the students who worked on it.

Flash forward forty some years and we still discuss the GM plant but now it is in the context in its transition to manufacturing electric vehicles. The original plant operated in the valley from 1966-2019. We certainly hope that the new Lordstown Motors will be here for a long time.

Night View of Republic Steel Corporation, Youngstown, Ohio

Steel mills often created postcards in the earlier part of the twentieth century in order to represent a prosperous mill. This postcard of Republic Steel was a successful way to promote the steel industry. The Republic Iron and Steel Company was founded in 1899 in Youngstown, Ohio. It is currently headquartered in Canton, Ohio.

Phillip Murray Portrait

This portrait of Philip Murray was painted by artist Jerry Malarick in 1960. Murray was born in Scotland in 1886 before immigrating to America in 1902. He worked as a coal miner in Pennsylvania, where he quickly became active in labor unions and organizations. He worked as one of the founding members and served as the first president of the United Steelworkers of America until his death in 1952.