Travel Post Friday: Guided by someone who lived it

SteelStacks tour guide Loretta's father's Bethlehem Steel workers tag (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

This photo is of the ID tag that Loretta’s father wore during his 40 years working as a crane operator at Bethlehem Steel in Pennsylvania.

She wears it around her neck today as she gives guided tours of the industrial complex that once powered a nation, and is now a collection of rusting hulks and falling-down buildings.

Except, it’s not all falling down.

Today, the plant site is an incredible example of revitalization and industrial tourism called SteelStacks;  it includes a music pavilion next to a former blast furnace, the modern ArtsQuest performing arts building, a new building housing local public television station PBS39 and a bit down the road, a huge (and tastefully designed to fit the industrial theme) Sands Casino.

Loretta will tell you the history of the place during her tour – including fun stories about her Dad – but you’ll have to take care not to fall off of the sidewalk or into a fence while gawking at the renaissance taking place all around you.

Thanks, Loretta, and everyone in Bethlehem PA who honors the past, but believes in and builds a new future.

(Disclosure: I was in the Lehigh Valley as a keynote speaker for their annual regional tourism meeting, so my travel expenses were covered by the Convention and Visitors Bureau, but there was no cost to seeing SteelStacks.)

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