The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum
I Am Coatesville Steel
Project Photographers

A Project of Art Partners Studio

Lead Photographer and Curator: Darcie Goldberg

Filmmaker: Elkin Jaramillo

Photographers Pictured Above: Anita Bower, Peter Guman, Elkin Jaramillo, Paula McDevitt, Ted Odeh, Ed Simpson

The "I Am Coatesville Steel" documentary and environmental portraits are the culmination of a year long creative collaboration to capture the faces and stories of the last generation of workers at the Lukens Steel Company (1810-1997). 

The year long "I Am Coatesville Steel" photography project began in the fall of 2017 with the goal of recording the portraits and stories of the last generation of Lukens Steel workers. Under the leadership of photographer Darcie Goldberg, from Art Partners Studio in Coatesville, a team of volunteer local photographers was trained.

Then, the last generation of Lukens Steel workers was invited to tell their stories and have their portraits taken. In the background are the oldest sections of the mill, which are now in disuse, filled with dusty steel shavings and now quiet motors from a bygone time of steel making.

The story of these workers is the story of industry in the United States and how the well-being of a company was interwoven with the wellbeing of its workers. Many of project's participants can claim uninterrupted generations of their family working in the mill, some as far back as the founding of the mill itself in the 18th century.

The Lukens Steel Company, part of ArcelorMittal when these photographs were made, began in 1810 as the Brandywine Iron Works and Nail Factory. It is the oldest continually operating operating mill in commission in the United States.

The Stewart Huston Charitable Trust provided support for this project with additional assistance from the National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum.

"The story of Lukens People - and the iron and steel products they have made over the course of two centuries - is remarkable, and also inspiring," explains Jim Ziegler, Executive Director of the National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum. 

Photograph © Darcie Goldberg