With an emphasis on industry and society, the Beyond Steel: An Archive of Lehigh Valley Industry and Culture site highlights the Lehigh Valley's mid nineteenth-century boom, late twentieth-century decline and continuing community readjustment.
Through the digitization and presentation of letters, books, photographs, maps, essays, and oral histories the site will aid researchers in understanding not only the lives of railroad barons and steel titans, but also the experiences of average folks who worked and lived in the community.
At the center of the Valley and, in many ways a driving force in the study of industrial dominance and decline, is Bethlehem Steel. With the company's shift from iron rails to an emphasis on battleship armor plate and large naval guns, the company became quite profitable and, by the early twentieth century, was the area's major employer. Still others worked outside of the framework of Bethlehem Steel and comprised much of the fabric of the community.
This ongoing project will continue to add materials that tell the story of how coal, canals, railroads, iron and steel converged in the making of an industrial community.