Former Campbell resident paints Sheet & Tube mural
By David Skolnick
When artist Katelyn Gould heard about efforts by the Iron Soup Historical Preservation Co. to save and grow the former Youngstown Sheet & Tube’s historic apartment units, she said she felt compelled to contribute.
“I wanted to do a mural and asked if they were interested,” said Gould, a 2006 Campbell Memorial High School graduate who now lives in Pittsburgh.
Gould, who’s also a Youngstown State University graduate, had never painted a mural before.
But with the side of 13 Delmar Ave. as her “canvas,” Gould’s six-painting mural was unveiled Saturday.
Gould, with the help of Marcy Gussenhofen, a friend from YSU who resides in Youngstown, finished it in eight days.
The mural, called “Life in the Company Homes,” depicts life in the Sheet & Tube’s apartments — a national historic landmark built between 1918 and 1920 by the company for steel workers and their families.
There are paintings of people from years ago growing up in the Chambers Street area, the mill and the 1916 workers’ strike that resulted in the steel company building the housing units. A national-historic-site sign calls the homes the “first pre-fab concrete estate in the world.”
One set of Gould’s grandparents lived in the units from 1946 into the 1950s.
A Kickstarter campaign to raise $1,500 to pay for paint and other materials needed for the mural was successful.
Iron Soup, a nonprofit organization, owns 26 of the remaining 179 units with the goal of preserving and revitalizing the once-thriving neighborhood.
“The mural is quite overwhelming,” said Tim Sokoloff, Iron Soup’s president. “It will hopefully help us grow and thrive. This was the first modern apartment complex. That’s got to count for something.”
The paintings came from photos of the mill housing through the years.
One of the paintings in the mural features three kids who grew up in mill housing in the 1950s.
Among them is Joe Pesta, 69, who now resides in Struthers.
“I think it’s great, and [Gould] did a great job,” he said. “It’s nice to be in the mural. She captured everything just right from that period. Everyone was friendly, and it was the best place to grow up.”
Another painting depicts Edward Stonework, who still lives in Campbell, with his brother and sister outside what was then a neighborhood grocery store on Wilson Avenue.
“The neighborhood was solid and very close,” he said. “It was an extended family. The mural is very nice. She did a fantastic job.”