Steel, the heart and soul of the Monongahela Valley, has defined
Pittsburgh since the late 19th Century. Today, steel no longer dominates the landscape or the lives of residents. The steel
industry in Western Pennsylvania now belongs to history.
STEELTOWN/HOMETOWN, a 34-minute film, written, directed and
produced by native Pittsburgh historian and filmmaker Mariel P. Isaacson, tells the story of steel in Pittsburgh from the
Homestead Strike of 1892 to the 1980s collapse. The film discusses the growth of unions, racism, the role of women inside
and outside of the mills, working and living conditions of mill workers, environmental conditions, the ultimate loss of the
mills and the effect of deindustrialization on the region.
Questions for discussion include:
-How can a community
remember its history while moving forward in a changing economic world?
-What changes occur when a service economy replaces
a manufacturing economy?
-What happens to a town when a shopping mall replaces a steel mill? Why should history matter
to a high school student?
Teacher's guide includes a summary suitable for copying and distributing to students, a map,
suggested discussion questions, and student project ideas.