Steel Giants

Steel Giants

Historic Images from the Calumet Regional Archives
Stephen G. McShane and Gary Wilk
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 06/08/2009
Format: Hardback 278 b&w photos, 32 color photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-35299-6
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At the turn of the 20th century, an army of workers descended upon the northwest Indiana dunes to forge a world-class steel industry for America. As a result of the mills constructed by companies such as U.S. Steel and Inland Steel, grid-like cities on the shoreline of Lake Michigan grew into prosperous steel towns, drawing workers from all over the country and beyond. The Calumet region became one of the most heavily populated and ethnically diverse regions in the nation. The story of its phenomenal growth was captured by photographers from U.S. Steel in Gary and Inland Steel in East Chicago. Steel Giants presents a selection of these dramatic photographs, with detailed captions, showing the construction of the steel mills and steel towns, the early production of steel, and the people who lived and worked in the industry.

Author Bio

Stephen G. McShane is the archivist/curator of the Calumet Regional Archives at Indiana University Northwest's library, and co-author of Moonlight in Duneland (IUP, 1998). He lives in Valparaiso, Indiana.

Gary S. Wilk is Associate Professor of Fine Arts at Indiana University Northwest. He lives in Crown Point, Indiana.


“This book will be of great interest to the thousands of men and women who have spent their lives working in the heavy industrial plants at the northwest part of the state.”
 — Kenneth Schoon, author of Calumet Beginnings: Ancient Shorelines and Settlements at the South End of Lake Michigan

“I do love these dramatic pictures of massive machines at work, with great wheels and gears turning, with everyone in place except Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times.”
 — Lance Trusty, author of Munster: A Centennial History

“[Steel Giants] is a wonderful array of images from a time when enormous structures that poured out steel, and the people who worked within these structures, dominated the landscape. September 2010”
 — Indiana Magazine of History

“Dramatic photographs of the beginning of a world-class steel industry and the ethnically diverse characters and region surrounding it. "I do love these dramatic pictures of massive machines at work, with great wheels and gears turning, with everyone in place except Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times." —Lance Trusty, author of Munster: A Centennial History”

“The massive scale of transformation of Lake Michigan shoreline to the steel cities of Gary and East Chicago is evident in this collection of photographs and documents. The foreword provides historical context, and the images picture not only the industrial construction and processes for steel production, but also the people and communities that made them work.March 11, 2010”
 — ForeWord Reviews

“Steel Giants . . . is 304 pages of the real history of the region and a keepsake for anyone interested in local history.12/7/2009”

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Mark Reutter
The Story of an Inland Galvanized Sheet
Chapter 1 - Building the Steel Mills
Chapter 2 - The Production of Steel
Chapter 3 - Steel Communities
Chapter 4 - Steel People