Monday, November 19, 2012

Bessemer Railroad 12th and Sassafras Erie, PA

Bessemer Railroad on West 12th Street in Erie, PA. Photo ©Debbi Lyon 2012.
The old Bessemer Railroad building stood on the south side of West 12th Street near Sassafras Street in Erie, Pennsylvania. The Times Publishing Company currently occupies this site. If you drive behind the Times building, you can still see a pair of tracks that lead to the south side of the building, where giant rolls of newsprint were delivered by rail car when the paper was printed in Erie, PA. The Times bought this property around 1968.

This shot was taken just off of Twelfth Street looking east. The Commerce Building is visible on the left side of this photo, with the radio tower on top of the building. The WSEE-TV tower, at 1220 Peach Street, is visible near the right side of the picture. About 90% of what you see in this photo has been demolished.

Erie Mayor Charles B. Williamson succeeded in having the railroad tracks ripped out for about a four-block stretch in this area on West 12th Street.

Enjoy more fun facts about the history of Erie, Pennsylvania at: Old Time Erie

1 comment:

  1. The Times bought this property somewhat earlier than 1970 (I think with some help from the Erie Redevelopment Authority) and began construction on this site in late 1968 or early '69.

    Because the newspaper was switching over to offset printing from "hot type," many production jobs were threatened, and there was a protracted strike by printers and other unionized employees. New contracts were negotiated that included considerable job retraining for many of the displaced workers. The stereotypers, who cast the lead plates from which the newspapers were printed, were hired back as custodial workers at their former pay rates -- giving the Times the distinction of having the highest paid custodians in the U.S. newspaper industry.

    The strike was settled in June 1969 and the move to the new building took place. I was there in late July when the first Erie Morning News rolled off the new offset presses about 5 a.m., several hours behind schedule. It was a big event, and allowed workers and management to celebrate together for the first time since the sometimes bitter strike.