The iconic Bethlehem Steel sign was unveiled at the Steel Plant Museum of Western New York in South Buffalo Thursday. The raising of the historic sign serves as a reminder of Buffalo’s rich steel heritage.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says as the son of a steel worker, he believes the sign is a symbol of hard work, family values and a strong community.
“Seeing this sign in its new home brings back many memories for me, reminds us of all that Bethlehem Steel meant to our community, and re-instills our pride in our industrial heritage. It is an honor to be here as this iconic sign is once again put on display,” said Poloncarz.
The 2,500 pound sign is constructed of steel bracing supports, painted steel panels, stainless steel bezel surround, and raised stainless steel letters. The sign is believed to be constructed in Buffalo by Goergen-Mackwirth using steel panels produced at Bethlehem Steel.
The 18’ by 18’ sign was originally installed at the Bethlehem Steel CO South Office Building in 1962 and was later moved to the steel plant’s site along Route 5 in Lackawanna.
Erie County and National Grid provided $2,000 in funding to have the sign restored and moved from the former steel site to its new location. Steel Plant Museum President Don Williams says the sign means a lot to those who worked at the plant and drove past it for years.
“We hope that it will bring back memories of their time in the steel plant, of their families involvement in the steel plant, and what the steel industry did for the many, many families throughout western New York,” said Williams.
In addition to the sign, a section of rail, rail plates and spikes retrieved from the Bethlehem Steel site were also donated to the collection. The pieces were manufactured at the Lackawanna plant in 1968.
Williams says the sign is dedicated to all western New York steel workers and their families.