The Carrie Furnace site in Rankin, shown here in a 2003 photo, is a national historic landmark and part of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.
By Marylynne Pitz Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Tours of the Carrie Blast Furnace in Rankin start Saturday and continue every Saturday through October.
Carrie Blast Furnaces No. 6 and No. 7, which operated from 1907 to 1978, were part of the U.S. Steel Homestead Works. The facility played a key role in preparing the United States to enter World War II because it provided the iron to create armor plating for ships and tanks.
The furnaces are on a 30-acre site that became a National Historic Landmark in 2006. The industrial complex is part of a 107-acre brownfield.
Saturday's self-guided tours start at 9 a.m. at the visitor's center and continue every half-hour until 11:30 a.m. Tours include a visit to the Stationary Car Dumper, which was installed when the industrial complex was modernized in the 1920s and is one of the oldest car dumpers in existence.
Saturday's tours will include adoptable pets from Animal Friends and music by The Seams, a bluegrass folk band. A portion of the proceeds from Saturday's tour will benefit Animal Friends.
The Carrie Blast Furnace will open for guided tours that start at 10 a.m. beginning June 1 and continuing every Saturday through Oct. 26. During June, July and August, guided tours will be offered every Friday, starting at 10 a.m. and ending at noon. Admission is $25 but discounts are offered for students and people who are 62 or older. Proceeds are used to preserve the site and pay for related steel heritage projects. Tourists should wear comfortable, sturdy shoes or hiking boots.
For Saturday tours in June, July and August, visitors can sign up online to be picked up by Lenzner Coach at these Downtown hotels: Wyndham Grand, the Pittsburgh Renaissance, Westin Convention Center, Omni William Penn, Doubletree City Center, Marriott City Center and the Sheraton at Station Square. For more information about shuttle Carrie Furnace tours, visit www.coachride.com.
For additional information about the Carrie Blast Furnace tours, visit riversofsteel.com.