Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Places in the Novel Today

The Homestead Works of Carnegie Steel (cum United States Steel) is gone, replaced by the large Waterfront shopping and entertainment complex.  And most of the buildings on Eighth Avenue were erected in the 20th century.  Nevertheless, a visitor can get some idea of what the town was like.  Here are some photos of the sites in Homestead today.
The intersection of 8th Avenue and Ann Street.  The buildings on either side of Ann were there in 1892.
The 300 block of E. Eighth Avenue, location of the doctor's office.
The 200 block, location of the saloon Emlyn visited with Gwyn.  The larger buildings were built in the 1910s.
The view west from the Amity Street crossing, with the depot at right. In 1892 a different depot stood in the same place. The locomotive approaching the station is hauling a 100-car freight train, headed eastward to Horseshoe Curve.
The railroad depot in Homestead today, now used as offices for the Allegheny County District Attorney. The depot, built 1906, is on the National Register. It was used as a passenger depot until the 1960s.
The view east from the crossing.  In 1892 hotels and other commercial buildings stood  in the current green area between these and  the tracks (not visible) off to the left.

The site of the mill's General Office Building, now a bank.  The office structure was destroyed by fire in 1942.
The view from the front of the Carnegie Library.  In 1892 the General Office Building would have stood just below where St. Michael's Church stands today. The mill complex was where the buildings can be seen in the distance.
Looking down the front steps of the Carnegie Library.  The current library is sited on the hill where people watched the Battle of Homestead unfold at the river, and where the troops of the Pennsylvania Militia were camped later.
The brick house on Tenth Avenue that served as the model for the exterior appearance and location of the Oesterlings' house.
The house on Eleventh Avenue where the author's Aunt Helen McGeever and her family lived in the 1940s. It served as the model for the interior of the Oesterling's house.
The Bost Building, headquarters for the Amalgamated during the lockout and strike.  Reporters watched the town and mill  from the roof of this building before and during the battle.  Today it is the home of Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.
The mill Pump House, the only remaining structure from the 1892 battle site.  Today it is used by Rivers of Steel .   Emlyn, Gwyn and the others were on the roof of the Pump House during the battle.
A boat pushing barges of coal up the Monongahela River at the battle site.  In 1892 the barges holding the Pinkerton guards were at the mill landing, out of view on the river below.  The stone pylons of the Pemikey Railroad bridge of 1892 are visible on the newer bridge in the background.
The concrete overlook at the battle site today.  (l-r) Ceridwen Christensen, Jay-Louise Weldon, Trilby Busch
Anne Ashley Memorial Methodist Church, built 1887. It is still a thriving congregation. Sarah and Emlyn ride their horses past it, and Montague was thrown from Figaro near here.
The view today from where Emlyn sat on Easter Sunday. Only the gravesites on top of the hill in the distance would have been there in 1892.
The Jones-Phillips house stood here, somewhere in the parking lot of a Target store.  In 1937, the entire First Ward, where this house would have been located, was razed for the expansion of the Homestead Works.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Launch Successful

The register listing the strikers arrested after the Battle of Homestead, on display at the Bost Building.

     The launch for Darkness Visible: A Novel of the 1892 Homestead Strike went off as planned on St. Patrick's Day at the Bost Building in Homestead, headquarters for the union during the Strike, currently part of Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.
The author giving a slide presentation.

Reading from the novel.
Among the attendees were several descendants of George Washington Busch, and three Katilius cousins.  Members of the Pittsburgh St. David's (Welsh) Society were in attendance, including President Ian Samways and Munhall H.S. alum Mark Thomas.  At least eight attendees were former students of G. Edward Busch at Munhall H.S.  Trilby's college friend Jay-Louise Weldon and her husband drove in from New Jersey for the event.
Setting up for the launch in the exhibit area.

Treats from the Blue Bonnet Bakery

Trilby signing a copy for her Busch cousin, Grace Jack Krepps.  Grace and her husband  Phil were very helpful in researching the background for the book.