Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A New Contributor Joins Youngstown Pride

Hello. I've just signed on as a contributor to the Youngstown Pride blog and I hope to become a regular contributor. I am 32 years old and for the past ten years I have been heavily involved with industrial preservation in Youngstown. I am building a small industrial museum on Youngstown Hubbard Road called the Tod Engine Heritage Park. Its mainly a showcase of machines and equipment that was once used by industry in the Youngstown area. Our centerpiece is of course the mighty Tod Engine, a 250 ton behemoth which once powered a rolling mill at the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Brier Hill Works. We have other smaller pices of equipment and pledges of some other equipment to help fill out the exhibits.

I started the Tod Engine project because I was unhappy with the final form of the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor. That project was originally supposed to have been built at the Jeannette Blast Furnace site in Brier Hill, however after some political pressure was applied it was changed to the facility which we have today. While the YHCIL is still a wonderful, first class museum facility, it does lack in one area, and that is the almost total absense of some of the machinery that makes the steel industry so fascinating to study.

So when the Tod Engine became available in 1995 I decided that it would make an excellent opportunity to address some of the shortcomings of the YHCIL by collecting and exhibiting the machines of the steel industry. Aside from the Tod Engine we have saved two smaller steam engines, a rolling mill stand, hot metal car, teeming ladle and possibly a locomotive. We have set our sights on acquiring other pieces of equipment and machinery as it becomes available.

The Tod is simply something that must be witnessed to fully appreciate. With a footprint the size of a normal house, it is hard to believe that it was just a small part of a larger machine which was just one step in the process of making seamless pipe, YS&T's signature product. It is truly a monument to Youngstown ingenuity and resourcefulness. Built here by local people, used by a local company making products bearing the city's name, it embodies the true spirit of what made Youngstown great.

My plans as a contributor to this blog is to share my observations, thoughts and feelings about the Mahoning Valley. I may share some historical information, call attention to some little known facts about the valley, or simply give an opinion or two about current issues. I will try to make regular contributions as time allows. Working full time and building a museum doesn't leave much time for anything else!

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