Cleveland’s industrial legacy still lives. As one drives into Cleveland from the south, it is almost impossible not to see the massive ArcelorMittal steel plant on the Cuyahoga River. This plant covers more than 950 acres, with 7 million square feet of building space and nearly 2,000 workers. The company, based in Luxembourg, accounts for about 10 percent of all steel production globally, and also has been attacked for its environmental standards by critics. Iron and steel production in Cleveland and other northern Ohio towns have been a part of the economic landscape since the mid-1800s. The complex here dates to the turn of the 20th century, to the Charles A. Otis Steel Co., and has undergone a series of ownership changes until the current owners acquired the facility in 2004.
I have always been fascinated by the power embodied in these facilities, which belch out exhaust and steam and churn raw materials into the building blocks of our modern world. Cleveland is a place where such facilities still function, as heavy raw material production has moved from the United States abroad. (Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)