Remnants of Steeltown

Old Steel Mill and the Cumulus castellanus

Old Steel Mill and the Cumulus castellanus

I have walked past this mini-mill on Sherman Avenue North hundreds of times over many years and never took a shot, even though I was always intrigued. Suddenly, on this day, I had to compose this picture. The atmosphere and lighting were perfectly clear and contrasting. The voluminous clouds were in just the right position and configuration in relation to the steel manufacturing plant and adjacent railway. No one was around and all was soothingly quiet. This was a brief and interesting moment in Hamilton’s Industrial Sector B and neighbourhood of Keith, typically taken for granted, except for this time. I released the shutter, and then paused to soak it all in until a noisy truck came by and shook me back to reality.

This image depicts the calm, respectable and industrious character that both this neighbourhood and city are quite capable of, despite common negative assumptions. Even though this scene is from deep inside Hamilton, a busy major Canadian metropolis, it could pass for an old abandoned factory on the outskirts of any small, sleepy, North American town.

Part of the former Slater Steels Corporation; later possessed by Delaware Street Capital, this mini-mill is all gone now. It sat unused for many years until the owners demolished it between October and December of 2012. I deeply wish that I was granted permission to photograph inside the old place before it was razed to the earth. In my eyes, these places have been the city’s romantic ruins.

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