I grew up a block away from the steel mill in the 1950’s. The street was narrow; we called it, “the alleyway. ” This alleyway was Larkins Way. It started on 2800’s Larkins Way, and I think, stopped at 1700’s or 1800’s Larkins Way. I lived one block away from the beginning in the 2700 block of Larkins Way.
Imagine if you will night during the summer. People sat out on their front steps. The row houses, old name for what is now called a townhouse, didn’t have any space for a porch in the front. The street was filled with lots of activity and people. No air conditioning! We sat outside, talked, walked and played. Ten years old we played “Release the Den”, “Hide and Go Seek.”
Often, in the what one would consider, the dark of the night, there would be lots of bright light. The bright lights illuminated the night sky. Of course, these were from the blast furnaces–bellowing flames that flew up into the sky. The flames and light were seen clearly at the very beginning of Larkins Way. I could see shades of red, orange, white, sometimes even a purple orange, if I recall correctly, in this rainbow dance of flames. Yes, I know we were very close to the action. These times were both a blessing and a curse. Men were working working working. However, there was rust, sulfur, soot and pollution on a frequent basis. Again, “whoa is me” to the laundress who let her clothes stay out during a rain or when the mill let out its polluted orange smoke.