Hammond residents were reminded daily of their economic dependence upon steel companies such as Inland Steel. Every morning it was necessary to sweep the rust-colored iron oxide from their porch and their windshields, a natural residue and atmospheric fall-out of the Open Hearth and the nearby steel mills.
I spent two summers working at Republic Steel and one summer working at Inland while earning money to return to college in the Fall. It was hot, dirty, dangerous work. Without having access to the showers and a locker (reserved for management), I would return home each night looking like I had just crawled out of a coal bin. The sparks from the hot saw in the rolling mill would fall down the front of my tightly buttoned shirt and burned holes in my clothes from the inside out!
I left the steel mill each September anxious to complete my college education and with a new appreciation for our fathers and all of the others who worked so hard each day. This is a tribute to all of those men and women who made the steel that built our buildings and bridges throughout the United States!