The Historic Pump House

* The Pump House is located at 880 East Waterfront Drive, Munhall, PA 15120.

The July 6, 1892 battle between workers and Pinkerton strikebreakers raged around a roughly 40 by 40-foot, red-brick, slate-roof building known as the Pump House.

It had been built a few months before in October, 1891, as a vital upgrade to the labyrinthine water system that provided the 7,000,000 gallons of water per day needed for the Carnegie Steel Company’s Homestead Works. Designed with carefully proportioned features, the Pump House incorporated details from Classical architecture and was doubled in size in 1898.

Remarkably, over the ensuing decades and even after the dismantling of the historic Homestead Steel Works in the 1980s, the Pump House remained in stable condition. Original 19th-century components were found that included sections of brick, mortar and cast iron window sills, and the new owner of the former mill property, Park Corporation, performed restorative work on the structure.

In 1990, the Battle of Homestead Foundation developed plans for an interpretive program for the site. Park welcomed the heritage initiatives, and subsequent owners and developers, Continental Real Estate, also proved hospitable.

Today the Pump House is owned and benevolently operated by Rivers of Steel National Heritage Corporation, who also offer many educational programs, tours and events related to the Pump House history and other local points of interest. The Battle of Homestead Foundation also uses the site for events, maintaining the physical connection with the events of 1892.

The Pump House is a trailhead of the Great Allegheny Passage which encompasses the Steel Valley Trail in the Mon Valley.

Group tours of the Pump House are available and can be bundled together with a visit to The Bost Building (623 E. 8th Avenue) that served in 1892 as the strikers’ headquarters and today houses offices for Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.

To book a Pump House tour or book an event at the building, contact Rivers of Steel at (412) 464-4020 or info@riversofsteel.com

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Reading List

Bell, Thomas (with David P. Demarest). Out of This Furnace: A Novel of Immigrant Labor in America. University of Pittsburgh Press, 1976.

Brody, David. Steelworkers in America. Harvard University Press: 1960.

Burgoyne, Arthur. Homestead. A Complete History of the Struggle of July, 1892, between the Carnegie Steel Company, Limited, and the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers. Originally published 1893, reprinted 1979 as The Homestead Strike of 1892, University of Pittsburgh Press.

Byington, Margaret F. Homestead: The Households of a Mill Town. Originally published 1910, reprinted 1974, University of Pittsburgh Press.

Carnegie, Andrew. The Gospel of Wealth and Other Writings. Originally published 1901, reprinted 2006, Penguin Classics.

Demarest, David P., editor. The River Ran Red: Homestead 1892. University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992).

Edge, Laura Bufano. Andrew Carnegie: Industrial Philanthropist. Lerner Publishing Group:  2003.

Goldman, Emma. Living My Life. Alfred Knopf: 1931.

Kahan, Paul. The Homestead Strike: Labor, Violence, and American Industry. Routledge:  2014.

Krause, Paul. The Battle for Homestead, 1890-1892: Politics, Culture, and Steel. University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992.

Miner, Curtis. Homestead: The Story of a Steel Town. Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, 1989.

McCollester, Charles. The Point of Pittsburgh: Production and Struggle at the Forks of the Ohio. Battle of Homestead Foundation, 2008.

Pickard, Doug, The 1892 Homestead Strike: A Story of Social Conflict in Industrial America. Thesis, Haverford College, 2007. https://scholarship.tricolib.brynmawr.edu/handle/10066/1019

Serrin, William. Homestead: The Glory and Tragedy of an American Steel Town. Vintage Press: 1993

Skrabec, Jr, Quentin R. Henry Clay Frick: The Life of the Perfect Capitalist. McFarland:  2010.

Standiford, Les. Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership That Changed America. Crown:  2005.

Ware, Susan, editor. Forgotten Heroes:  Inspiring American Portraits From our Leading Historians. Free Press, 1998.

Whitelaw, Nancy. The Homestead Steel Strike of 1892. Morgan Reynolds:  2006.

Wolff, Leon. Lockout: The Story of the Homestead Strike of 1892. Harper & Row: 1965.