ABOUT THE BATTLE OF HOMESTEAD FOUNDATION
The Battle of Homestead Foundation (BHF) is a diverse organization of citizens, workers, educators and historians. It’s purpose is to preserve, interpret, and promote a people’s history focused on the significance of the dramatic labor conflict at Homestead, Pa. in 1892.
Many people interested in the Battle, as well as the history of the working class and the Labor movement, are dedicated to preserving the Pump House (the sole existing structure of the 1892 Homestead Steel Works) as a labor monument to working people that will attract tourism, labor groups, students, and anyone in any way interested in Western Pennsylvania’s fascinating industrial and labor heritage. The BHF strives to assist and abet these interests and efforts. Read More About Us Here
The Pump House Banners
The many, large windows posed a problem for events at the Pump House during the day – we needed shades. BHF had the shades do double duty with informational images painted on them by our resident artist, Bill Yund.
There are fifteen banners. Eleven banners depict Homestead steel workers of each decade from 1880 to 1980, taken from various photos and resources of each era. The other four show scenes of the mill; an open hearth, a Bessemer blow, an interior scene and a typical scene of mills and a mill town by the river.
We have reproduced the banners as note cards and bookmarks to let the public enjoy the artwork and to appreciate the history narrative by decades.
The note cards are 8″ inches by 3 1/4″ inches, and envelopes are included. The price for one set of 15 cards is $24.00, which includes shipping and handling.
Fifteen bookmarks are 2 1/2″ inches by 6 1/2″ inches. The price for one set of 15 bookmarks is $13.00, which includes shipping and handling.
Homestead Works Remembered
In its 105-year history, the Homestead Works produced more than 200 million tons of steel: Rails and railroad cars, armor plate that covered battleships and tanks from the Spanish-American War through the Korean War, and beams and girders that went into the Empire State Building, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the U.S. Steel Building in Pittsburgh and the Sears Tower in Chicago.
BHF board member Mike Stout, a former grievance chairman of Local 1397 of the United Steelworkers, said there were four things people should remember about the Homestead Works.
“One, there was a mill here. Two, it was the most productive mill in the world. Three, it was the most profitable mill in the world. And, four, they should remember the way that U.S. Steel shut it down and the way they treated people who were the most faithful, loyal, hardest-working employees you’ve ever seen.”
Feasibility Study Funds Approved!
The Battle Of Homestead Foundation (BHF) received a $20,000 DCNR grant to conduct a feasibility study that will look into creating a Center in Homestead / Munhall, PA where labor’s past will be honored and the future of work explored. Following a review of highly qualified candidates, BHF signed on Southside based Springboard Design, a team of planners, designers and architects led by Architect Paul Rosenblatt that will help the organization facilitate the study.
Steel Valley students recognized for their outstanding contributions to the first annual BHF Essay Contest
Seniors Brooke Batyi, Ricci Wright, Paige Mooney, and eighth grader A’Ja Morant received cash prizes for writing about local markers of historical significance, including the Homestead Steel Strike of 1892, the Great Steel Strike of 1919, the Carnegie Library of Homestead,
and the Edgar Thomson U.S. Steel Plant.
Join Us! Become a Member!
Membership: Get updates on events and happenings of the Battle of Homestead Foundation by becoming a new member, or renewing your membership!
Members receive notice of all BHF events and business and are eligible to vote for Directors of the BHF Board. Membership is open to all persons who pledge to support the BHF mission and make an annual membership contribution.
With your membership you also get free admission to the Heinz History Center via their Affiliates Program. The annual membership card we send you will allow up to four persons per visit to the Heinz History Center, The Fort Pitt Museum, and the Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village.
Yesterday and Tomorrow – The Legacy of the 1892 Homestead Strike
The Battle of Homestead is the most famous event in American labor history, and perhaps the most significant. Just after dawn on July 6, 1892, the battle erupted when locked-out steelworkers of the Carnegie Steel works at Homestead, together with citizens of the town, broke into the closed and fortified mill nick-named “Fort Frick” after CEO Henry Frick. On the bank of the Monongahela River, they confronted a private army of Pinkerton agents hired by Frick as they attempted to land and secure the mill. The battle was soon joined, and raged throughout the day with gunfire, burning oil, and cannon.
At day’s end, the Pinkertons surrendered. Seven workers and three Pinkerton “detectives” lay dead, with others wounded. When the Pinkertons were led away they were humiliated and beaten as they passed through a gauntlet of enraged women, children and townspeople. The conflict marked a watershed in U.S. labor relations and casts a deep shadow to this day.
Many students of the Homestead battle see it as a signal event in establishing the predominance of the rights of capital over rights of labor in the workplace. While legal and supra-legal suppression of workers was nothing new, Homestead seemed to draw the lines as never before. For several decades after, corporate violence against workers, especially immigrant workers, in the form of private enforcement agencies like the Pinkertons and the infamous Coal and Iron Police, was acceptable, even when the human rights of workers were clearly violated and public sentiment favored their cause.
The Battle of Homestead Foundation was founded to preserve the Pump House, as well as the many stories it has to tell.