STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — The steelworkers’ memorial in Steubenville has stood in front of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County for several months now.
On Friday, an official dedication to the workers it represents was made.
A crowd gathered at the library in downtown to commemorate all of those who have a part in Ohio Valley steel history.
The 3-ton statue of a steel worker had stood on University Boulevard since 1989.
But road construction prompted the relocation of the statue last October. The city, the library, along with countless volunteers, have worked since then to erect a flag pole and install lights at the site.
Jefferson County Commissioner Tom Graham was among many who came out for the ceremony. He has a special connection to what the statue represents.
“Men and women dedicated their lives in the steel mill, and at one time there was almost 30,000 people working between the two mills, and now there is only a few thousand,” Graham said. “I worked in the steel mill for 8 years prior to going to college so I know what that’s like. It’s hard work; it’s very difficult, and we are very proud.”
Cathy McKenna has lived in the Ohio Valley all of her life and would not have missed the dedication. Her late husband worked for the mill right out of high school until retirement. She feels a great sense of pride when she looks at the statue, as it overlooks the old Wheeling Pitt Steel Mill.
“I like when I’m coming up the highway, and I look and I see it and it’s like, ‘oh the mill,’ and it brings back memories, some of them sad memories at times,” she said.
Senator Lou Gentile presented the Steubenville Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County a proclamation from the state of Ohio, recognizing the statue of a steel worker pouring handheld steel from a ladle and what it signifies to the people in the region.