Lackawanna was the home of a thriving steel industry throughout most of the 20th century. At its peak, the Lackawanna Steel Mill was the largest steel factory in the world, employing over 20,000 people. The city is located a few minutes south of Buffalo, NY. In 1901, the Bethlehem Steel North Office was constructed in the Beaux-Arts style by New York architect L.C. Holden. Considering its industry, the office was impressive; included were fireplaces, a billiards room, private baths, a private dining room and a highly ornate facade with detailed masonry work. As the area’s steel industry prospered, additional wings were added to the building.
Fortunes eventually faded for the local steel industry, causing Bethlehem Steel to lay off over 10,000 workers and close the administration office in 1982. In subsequent years, the building became a favourite destination of vandals, urban explorers and photographers.
After years of decay, the City of Lackawanna is now making desperate attempts to demolish the building. Preservationists are doing their best to save the building, claiming it could be a focal point for resuscitating the waterfront and local economy.
Chris Luckhardt is a Canadian photographer, based in Toronto. Follow him on on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. See also his Abandoned Hashima Island pictures and Urban Exploring in Detroit Pictures. on TotallyCoolPix.