Historian to speak on Valley steel industry

Staff report


Rick Rowlands will give a historical presentation on the Valley’s steel industry at 10 a.m. Saturday in the meeting room of Kravitz Deli, 3135 Belmont Ave.

The lecture is part of the William Holmes McGuffey Historical Society’s Memories of a Lifetime series that features speakers of local interest.

Rowlands, a steel historian, is the founder of the Youngstown Steel Heritage Museum, Youngstown Steel Heritage Foundation and the Tod Engine Project.

He also started the Jeanette Blast Furnace Association and has been on the governing boards of the Brier Hill Cultural Center and the Youngstown Center of Industry and Labor Friends Association.

Rowlands has presented numerous programs on the Mahoning Valley steel industry, both locally and statewide. His efforts have preserved valuable and irreplaceable steel artifacts, most notably the Tod Engine.

Rowlands’ program will present an overview of the Valley’s once-bustling steel industry and his efforts to save the Jeanette Blast Furnace and other industrial artifacts from destruction.

Topics will include highlights of the Youngstown Steel Heritage Museum exhibits, the Tod Engine, the role of the Tod Family in local steel manufacturing and the iconic Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. logo.

Admission is free to the public. A good-will offering will be accepted to benefit the society. Reservations are suggested; call Richard S. Scarsella at 330-726-8277.

William Holmes McGuffey was raised in the Mahoning Valley and published the first of his seven Eclectic Readers in 1836, which are still in print today. Known as “America’s Schoolmaster,” his family homestead, located on McGuffey Road, in Coitsville Township, is a National Historic Landmark. Now known as the McGuffey Wildlife Preserve, it totals 78 acres and was donated by the WHMHS to Mill Creek MetroParks in 1998.

The Youngstown WHMHS chapter is the last in the nation and seeks to keep the McGuffey legacy alive.

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