The Bethlehem Steel North Office Building in Lackawanna, New York, remains of the finest buildings I have had the pleasure of photographing. Beth had a class all of her own. The original way in was through a gap in the fence, then a quick dash to a door at the side of the building. That doorway led to a long, dank, dark, muddy underground passageway. It in turn led to stairs covered with decades of wall and ceiling debris. Beth was a building where every room had something to offer. A beautiful building with tiled floors and long hallways with the original ceiling lights still mostly intact. It had a rooms that were originally used for testing the steel the company manufactured. It had drapery. It had staircases that could last decades into the future. It had a main staircase that was rotten and fallen in on itself. It was floor after floor of mysteries waiting to be discovered. I loved Beth.
It was the building Toni used as a set for one of her wonderful self-portraits.
It was the building where Olena found detail after detail that encapsulated the building’s history, and a sense of its demise.
It was the building where Rick discovered grunge, and found it to his liking.
It was the building my friend Maria Nguyen and I entered one freezing day in March, 2008, and used as a set for a series of images, one of which sits above this paragraph and to this day is my ‘calling card.’
My friend Olena Sullivan, with whom I explore Beth on numerous occasions, told us today that Beth will be demolished this week. For me, it’s the end of an era.
Click here to see a short slideshow of my favourite images from the Bethlehem office.
Beth, we hardly knew you. You’ll be missed.