Weirton Steel

As part of the massive National Steel conglomeration, Weirton Steel became our state’s largest employer and taxpayer, and the world’s largest tin-plate producer.
E-WV / The Humanities Council

On August 1, 1918, industrialist Ernest Weir renamed his company Weirton Steel. He’d founded the company with J. A. Phillips in Clarksburg in 1905 as Phillips Sheet & Tin Plate. After Phillips’ death, Weir moved his company from Clarksburg to a southern Hancock County farm that would become the city of Weirton.

What Happened to Weirton? Part 5: Moving Forward

Jul 15, 2019
Ella Jennings

If someone had a crystal ball, they could tell you exactly what the future holds for Weirton. Sadly, there are no magic tools to make this a short story. But, with a bit of help from the gift of gab, I’ll tell you about the current trajectory of the area.

What Happened to Weirton? Part 4: Where is God Today?

Jul 15, 2019
Ella Jennings

The consequences of deindustrialization manifest in many different ways.

Sherry Linkon and John Russo, two prominent scholars in working class studies, have written several books and articles about this topic, and at this point, they find you can easily make a list of what will happen when industry leaves. Let’s run down it.

What Happened to Weirton? Part 3: As Goes the Mill...

Jul 15, 2019
West Virginia & Regional History Center

“History tells us, like it or not, as goes the mill, so goes Weirton, in good times and bad.”

This is a quote from Dr. David Javersak, a former professor and local Ohio Valley historian, from his book, "History of Weirton." There’s a lot of truth in that statement: Weirton would have never existed without the mill. And up until its fateful bankruptcy, the town fully depended on Weirton Steel, like any devoted company town. This episode will trace through some of the highlights of Weirton’s history, providing an overview of its prominence and decline.

Ella Jennings

One person’s story can change your outlook on an entire town. Unfortunately, their story can leave you with more questions than answers.

By 2018, around 10,000 people had already left Weirton in search of a better life. I wanted to find someone who had stayed in the area and could tell me about their experience with the mill’s downfall. This led me to a story written in 2006 by an Associated Press reporter, Vicki Smith.

June 11, 1884: Riverside Iron Works Make Steel Useing Bessemer Converter

Jun 11, 2018
Bessemer Converter
Wikipedia

On June 11, 1884, the state’s first Bessemer converter went into operation at the Riverside Iron Works in Wheeling. The Bessemer process made steel even stronger by introducing more air and removing more impurities from iron.

The Bessemer process was just one factor in the rise of West Virginia’s steel industry. A tariff enacted by Congress in 1890 made American tin makers more competitive with the British. It occurred just as the demand for canned foods was growing. The cans were made of thin-rolled steel coated with tin.

Aaron Schackelford / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The billionaire Wilbur Ross is headed for Senate confirmation hearings as President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Commerce. Ross made it to ultra-rich status in part by salvaging coal and steel assets in Appalachia and the Rust Belt. His business dealings leave a mixed legacy in the Ohio Valley region, from rescued steel mills to the site of a searing workplace disaster, and raise questions about the leadership he would bring to the president’s cabinet.