Travel: The Steel Stacks
Well we’re living here in Allentown
And they’re closing all the factories down
Out in Bethlehem they’re killing time
Filling out forms
Standing in line
~ Allentown, Billy Joel
A few weeks ago, on a chilly, misty, foggy Sunday morning, I traveled up the Pennsylvania Turnpike and headed towards Bethlehem, PA, to take part in a shoot that I can’t talk about yet. The basis is still underwraps but I hope to give more information soon.
Ok, now that the vague-posting is out of the way, here’s what I CAN talk about.
Bethlehem is, indeed, an old steel town. I’ve been going there for years as I have relatives that live there. But they don’t live in downtown Bethlehem, more on the edge of it, where the cornfields are.
Downtown Bethlehem, at least on this drizzly morning, looked like a scene out of The Deer Hunter, or All The Right Moves. Now, TDH was filmed in Ohio, and ATRM was filmed in Western PA, but man…it felt like either could have been right here.
And yes, it was made famous (somewhat) by the Billy Joel song. It’s an old steel town, with a rich vibrant history.
In an interesting bit of tourism, rather than tearing down all the steel stacks, they created a tourist attraction of them. Iron walkways line the way in and around the stacks, and at various intervals are plaques that talk about what you’re looking at. It’s quite the history lesson.
In fact, the whole area is called SteelStacks which includes a restaurants, shopping area, the local PBS station and aconcert venue.
Frankly, I got lucky being up there on that particular Sunday. The mist and fog created an other worldly landscape. Like something out a dystopian Blade Runner (actually, it reminded me of what my friend Bard Constantine describes in his Troubleshooter series.)
The shells of other old buildings that were once a vital part of this campus are in view too, fenced off, however.
On this Sunday a few weeks before Christmas, though, the Stacks was bustling. Despite the chill in the air, people were headed in and out of the Christmas Village that also was on site.
But if you listened close, you could almost hear the clank of iron and feel the heat of the molten steel that once was the lifeblood running though this town in the valley of Eastern Pennsylvania.
Do visit if you ever get the chance.
Just pray for fog – greatly enhances the experience.
© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2018