Preservation Projects

As a National Heritage Area, Rivers of Steel is charged with telling the local stories that celebrate our region’s contributions to the nation’s diverse heritage.

In service of this, Rivers of Steel has initiated an array of interpretive projects that support heritage conservation by collecting, cataloging, and disseminating those stories. Explore the information below to learn more about the people and places in the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.

Steelworker / Industrial Oral History Project

Rivers of Steel is committed to honoring the legacy of our region’s steelworkers. Their stories are told through our exhibitions and echoed in our tours, but the most direct connection to those stories are when they are told by the workers themselves.

Through an ongoing program to conduct and record oral history interviews of steel and industrial workers from the Pittsburgh Industrial District, Rivers of Steel documents those first-hand accounts. The videos, recordings, and transcripts are available to the public through the Rivers of Steel Archives. A valuable research tool for students, scholars, educators, and residents, the Steelworker Oral History project reflects the region, its people, and their heritage.

For more information or to record an interview, contact Ron Baraff.

Archival Image of U.S. Steelworkers at the gate of the Homestead Works

Steelworkers at the gate of the Homestead Steel Works

Ethnographic Surveys

The Ethnographic Survey Project was conducted in 1992 – 1993 and 1997 to survey areas within Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.  The region encompasses seven counties, including Armstrong, Allegheny, Beaver, Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties.

The goal of the survey was to gather information about cultural life (historic and present) in the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area through oral history interviews, photographs, and other miscellaneous fieldwork in order to develop a cultural context and inventory of resources for cultural conservation planning in the region. Information gleaned fell into the following categories:

  • Historical Overview of the Community/Communities
  • Ethnic / Racial
  • Religious
  • Family / Community
  • Environmental/Geographical

Please contact Rivers of Steel if you would like to read any of the following surveys.

The surveys encompassed the following locations:

  • Selected boroughs along the Allegheny River, including Millvale, Etna, Sharpsburg, Aspinwall, Blawnox, & Verona
  • Allegheny-Kiskiminetas River Valley, including New Kensington, Arnold, Braeburn, Tarentum, Brackenridge, Natrona, West Natrona, & Natrona Heights
  • Armstrong County
  • Asian Communities
  • Beaver County
  • Bloomfield, East Liberty, Friendship, Garfield, Morningside, & Shadyside
  • Bridgeville
  • Carnegie
  • Clairton
  • Fayette County
  • Homestead Area, including Homestead, Duquesne, Munhall, West Homestead, & West Mifflin
  • Homewood, East Liberty, Point Breeze and Highland Park
  • Lower Armstrong County, including Apollo, Dayton, Freeport, Kiskimere, Leechburg, Schenley, Yatesboro, Hyde Park, Lower Burrell, North Apollo, North Vandergrift, New Mine, Smicksburg, & Washington Township
  • McKeesport and Glassport
  • Monongahela Valley, including Braddock, McKees Rocks, Marianna, & Rice’s Landing
  • The North Side
  • Oakland and the Hill District
  • Rankin
  • South Pittsburgh, including West End, Mount Washington, South Side, & Hazelwood
  • Squirrel Hill and Greenfield
  • The Strip District, Lawrenceville, Polish Hill and Stanton Heights
  • Swissvale
  • Turtle Creek Valley, including East Pittsburgh, Turtle Creek, Wilmerding, & Crestas Terrace / Boyd Hill / Port Perry
  • Washington County
  • Westmoreland County and Forward Township

Learn more about the events

such as tours, workshops, and festivals happening at each unique attraction.