Rust Belt 2010
July 13, 2010
Endowed with large deposits of coal and iron as well as "old growth" hardwood forests needed to produce charcoal, the Youngstown developed a thriving steel industry. The area's first blast furnace was established in 1803 by James and Daniel Heaton.
Between the 1920s and 1960s, the city was known as an important industrial hub that featured the massive furnaces and foundries of U.S. Steel. When economic changes forced the closure of plants throughout the 1970s, the city was left with few economic alternatives. The September 19, 1977, announcement of the closure of a large portion of Youngstown Sheet and Tube, an event still remembered by many Youngstowners as "Black Monday", is widely regarded as the death knell of the old area steel industry. This was followed by the withdrawal of U.S. Steel in 1979 and 1980, and the bankruptcy of Republic Steel in the mid-1980s.