Carrie Furnaces Tour (Wed., 8/24/22)

At Carrie Furnaces, modern urban art may mingle with majestic remains of industrial history.

At Carrie Furnaces, modern urban art may mingle with majestic remains of industrial history.

Archaeologists are excited to find well-preserved ruins of former times. Pittsburgh has such a treasure in plain view. The Carrie Furnaces site—twin blast furnaces towering above the Monongahela River, with auxiliary structures close by—is rare on a global scale, and astounding to visit. Not many old industrial facilities stay intact when they close. These immense furnaces, which boiled iron ore down to molten iron for U.S. Steel’s Homestead Works for nearly a century, were judged too much trouble to demolish after shutting in 1978.  And the sheer size of all that is left testifies to the brute-force nature of Pittsburgh’s historic industry. Just random details, such as massive heat pipes held together by bolts as big as human heads, can trigger awestruck imaginings of what it was like to build the furnaces—and to work there. The Carrie Furnaces site is open for public tours May through October under management of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. Advance reservations are required, so make them at the web link above. Carrie Furnace Boulevard, Rankin. (M.V.)