The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #49340   Message #744873
Posted By: Bev and Jerry
09-Jul-02 - 01:12 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Red Iron Ore / Derry down, down
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Red Iron Ore / Derry down, down
Nice bit of research, Joe.

We were brought up in Cleveland but we got over it. When we were kids, steel making was one of the big industries there. In fact, virtually all of America's steel was made in a relatively small area stretching from Pittsburgh west to Gary, Indiana.

The reason is that three ingredients are required to make steel using the Bessemer process: Coke, limestone and iron ore. Coke is made by roasting coal which was brought to Cleveland by rail from southern Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. Limestone is readily available in the area. Sidewalks were made from slabs of limestone rather than concrete. Iron ore was brought by boat from the Mesabe Range in Minnesota.

Now coke and limestone are available twelve months of the year but iron ore isn't. In the winter, the lakes freeze making shipping impossible. So, when the lakes are navigable, more iron ore was shipped to the mills than they could use creating a big surplus of ore. By October/November virtual mountains of ore could be seen near the mills which they would process during the winter.

Every spring there would be competition to see which boat would be the first to get through. Likewise, every fall there would be competition to see which boat would be the last to get through. There was always at least one boat which would get frozen in and had to be rescued.

When the lakes weren't frozen, no matter when you looked out you could always see several iron ore boats. They were easily recognized because they look a little like oil tankers - flat on top with a structure at both ends.

Bev and Jerry