Writing's on wall at Carrie Furnaces

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For more than 70 years, thousands of people worked in the Carrie Furnaces in Swissvale and Rankin, producing more than 1,000 tons of iron per day until the U.S. Steel's Homestead Works closed in 1979.

Since then, others have sneaked into the 38-acre site, sometimes leaving behind elaborate graffiti on the walls, buildings and equipment. Workers for the site's owner, the nonprofit Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, removed many of the spray-painted images but not all.

At 11:30 a.m. next Saturday, graphic and Web designer Shane Pilster of 82 Concepts will lead an Urban Art Tour of the mill site that celebrates fillins, fat caps and other elements of what is now recognized as an art-form. At the end of the two-hour tour, participants will create a take-home piece of graffiti. The cost is $40 for adults, $32.50 for students with ID and seniors age 62 and up, and $30 for children ages 8-17.

If the tour is well-received, more graffiti tours will be scheduled, said Ron Baraff, director of museums and archives. Rivers of Steel is also conducting guided tours of the site that focus on steelmaking at 10 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 30 and Saturdays through Oct. 26. Tickets for those tours are $25 for adults, $17.50 for students/seniors and $15 for children.

On July 27, from 9 a.m. to noon, residents of the towns that shared the Homestead Works (ZIP codes 15120, 15218 and 15104) will receive free tours. Reservations are requested by contacting Stacy Drane at 412-464-4020, ext. 32, or sdrane@riversofsteel.com. Information, tour tickets: www.riversofsteel.org.


First Published June 29, 2013 4:00 AM


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