Today I come with a more somber article for I shall tell the sad tale of a beautiful building and the death of an industry in Massillon.
Most of you have not heard of Republic Steel Company but for many years, it was the lifeblood of Massillon. Long after much of the industry had left Massillon for better situations, Republic Steel was a mainstay that was always noticed. Driving up or down Ohio Rt. 21, the huge and imposing factory could be seen to the west, across the Tuscarawas River.
Time has passed though, and the large employer has moved on. The one remnant left was the large and ornate office building that sat, perched at the edge of the land. I drive by it often but sadly, there are whisperings now that it will be demolished. I wasted no time in driving over there to get some final pics of the old building.
It was a weird feeling to be out there right off the Highway and the River and feeling so desolate. I didn’t have much film with me so I took some shots that tried to show just how alone it was out there.
The one thing that I did not do, and I kinda regret it, was to try and get up to the top. There was a black metal staircase on the East side of the building that went all the way up to the top of the office. I really wanted to get up there but the downside was that I would have been in full view of anyone driving down the road and the police probably would not have been far behind. Just not one of those days when you want to get arrested. Lol
At the time of writing this, the Republic Steel Office Building is still up but it is only a matter of time until the final blow is dealt, if nothing more than symbolically, to the Massillon steel industry. But who knows, maybe in time the land will turn into something really magical? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Sorry to be a downer this week, but it is a tale that I thought had to be told. See ’ya next time and as always,
P.S. This will be the last of my series on minor league sports and culture in the Midwest. It is getting cold out and it’s just not as fun to get out there for the games. Lol But I will be able to focus more on other things photographic or otherwise. :)
Tim Pawlak (aka 110isnotdead on LOMO) is a Librarian, writer, photographer and amateur historian (gotta use that History Degree somewhere). Massillon, Ohio (about an hour south of Cleveland) is where he calls home. He loves to get the feel of every new town he comes to and capture it on film. So if you make your way down the mighty Tuscarawas River, you’ll probably find him with his head buried in a lens.