Abandoned Fort Pitt Steel Casting in McKeesport, Pennsylvania-2 (Image: David Scaglione; industrial relics inside the abandoned Fort Pitt Steel Casting)

Located in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, the old Fort Pitt Steel Casting factory lies abandoned just a stone’s throw away from the steel capital of the US – Pittsburgh. The city was built on the steel industry, and in the first part of the 20th century Pittsburgh and its surrounding towns turned out some of the highest quality steel products in the history of steel making. By the that World War Two loomed ominously on the horizon, the factory had acquired a coveted military contract, and its future productivity seemed assured. But its success was short-lived.

Abandoned Fort Pitt Steel Casting in McKeesport, Pennsylvania (Image: David Scaglione)

When the company was founded in 1906 by C.S. Koch, the Fort Pitt Steel Castings Co. was a small, high-tech and close-knit entity, according to Tube City Online. With only a few hundred employees, it was known for its collaborative efforts, research, and the community atmosphere which the company promoted.

Abandoned Fort Pitt Steel Casting in McKeesport, Pennsylvania-3 (Image: David Scaglione; overgrown grounds of Fort Pitt Steel Casting)

After Koch died in 1937, Fort Pitt Steel Castings Co. continued operating in the same form for two more decades, until 1959, when it was acquired by a big textile conglomerate that was buying up smaller facilities across the northeast.

Abandoned Fort Pitt Steel Casting in McKeesport, Pennsylvania-4 (Image: David Scaglione)

As managers came and went, and orders came down from distant figures at the top, morale quickly plummeted. By the 1970s, escalating maintenance problems and changes in managerial staff – sometimes up to three or four times a year – all had a negative impact on the plant’s productivity and competitiveness. It was becoming increasingly apparent that Fort Pitt Steel Castings Co. couldn’t keep operating in the manner that it was.

Abandoned Fort Pitt Steel Casting in McKeesport, Pennsylvania-5 (Image: David Scaglione)

In 1980, a last-ditch effort to save the ailing company saw employees take on the failing company’s amassed debt in exchange for ownership. But by 1983, the once-proud steel producer was bankrupt. In the years that followed, operations ground to a halt and the plant was closed off.

Abandoned Fort Pitt Steel Casting in McKeesport, Pennsylvania-6 (Image: David Scaglione)

The gates of the abandoned Fort Pitt Steel Castings Co. opened briefly once again in 1995 when the facility was used to incinerate debris from a large-scale demolition of derelict homes across Pittsburgh. Further plans for the building have continuously fallen to the wayside. But the abandoned factory still stands, an crumbling testament to one man’s vision and the backbone of a city.

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