There is strong evidence (but not as yet absolute) that our first ancestors in America came to McKeesport, Pennsylvania because there were Bost family members there. Among the Bosts who are connected to us by baptismal records, were the founders of the United Steelworkers Union. This article refers to the Bost House, a national historic site.
THE McKEESPORT DAILY NEWS
Industrial icon Bost Building takes on new historical role
Bost Building offers historical treasures Building is symbol of an era
By Natalie Neysa Alund Daily News Staff Writer
The renovated building that rests at 623 E. Eighth Ave., Homestead, means more to Homestead residents than an improved appearance in the Steel Valley.
A ceremony yesterday marked the completion of the restoration of the 110-year-old structure and its official opening as headquarters for the Steel Industry Heritage Corp.
"Today, the Bost Building stands as a testament to the resolve of a community to rebuild its main street corridor," said August Carlino, Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area president, "to honor the men and women who worked in the steel industry."
After two years of renovation and $4.5 million worth of construction, the Bost Building, now also the main visitors' center for Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, lies in one of Pennsylvania's 11 designated state heritage regions.
The renovated building also houses a third floor exhibit hall, restored rooms used by union leaders during the events of 1892, when the Homestead Lockout and Strike, one of America's most dramatic labor episodes, occurred.
State funding for the renovation project was $2.4 million while private funding totaled $100,000.
"People said this building couldn't be saved," Carlino said. "but it has been."
Gov. Mark Schweiker, who was in attendance yesterday, said he was proud to dedicate the building because of what it stands for.
"This building is a gateway to understanding steel workers," the governor said. "It's so important to dedicate this building as a memorial ... a remembrance of their dedication and work -- these people worked together to build our communities."
The governor concluded his speech by asking those in attendance to be thankful, reflect on former steel workers' efforts and enjoy the economic fruits of their labor.
The Homestead Lockout and Strike did not prevent the building from dilapidation. By the 1980s it had become abandoned and desolate.
More than a century old, the renovated building was built as a hotel for the rapidly growing workers' ward of Homestead.
The building served as the headquarters of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers; the third floor of the building was used as a watchtower for steel union officials who monitored activities at the millsite.
The building also served as the base for American and British newspaper reporters who filed their stories as the world kept a close eye on the Homestead labor strike.
U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Swissvale, said it is appropriate to preserve this era of history for future generations.
"Now the younger generations look (at Homestead and The Waterfront) as a place to come for dates ... to have fun," Doyle added. "It's hard to believe this area had the largest and most profound steelmills in the world."
The congressman added the Bost Building highlights the former struggles of the area.
"It will enable us to preserve our region's siginificance to the history of the United States and provide us the opportunity to share the stories of the steelmills with generations to come," Doyle said. "We should always remember the workers who sacrificed in these mills and honor the steelmaking industry."