網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版
[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

e sopi put korut

© Joseph Pennell Like a great steel magnet the Allegheny valley has drawn workers from the four corners of the world. Some years a hundred thousand men work in this

valley. Every language known to Europe is spoken here

1

than live in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming together. The money invested is greater than the wealth of Switzerland.

3. The Most Important part of the Valley. When one has heard all the facts as to the extent of our steel industry, and has tried to imagine in dollars the wealth it represents; when one gets over marveling that iron ore can be transformed into steel strong enough to support the weight of mountains,—then he wants to know about the human brains and hands that have made this wonder an everyday event.

Most visitors to Pittsburgh think only of the output of the mills. Noise and smoke and flames fill their senses. The workers seem so insignificant in comparison with the hungry blast furnaces that tower sometimes eighty, sometimes a hundred, feet above them, that the visitor for a time forgets that the most important part of the valley is the worker. But if, late in the afternoon, he happens to be in one of the many railway stations near the chain of mills, he will think of nothing but workers. Like a great flood men and boys pour out of the buildings. Train after train pulls in empty, and leaves crowded to the steps. Seeing these multitudes will make the stranger ask: "How came these hundreds of thousands of workers in this valley? What keeps them there? How does it happen that there are always enough men to feed all the furnaces and attend to the many other tasks?” The answer is simple: The steel mills need the men, and the men need the steel mills.

4. The Steel Mills stand for Work. The steel mills stand for work, and work stands for food, clothing, and home; therefore the mills will never lack workers. Like a great magnet the Allegheny valley has drawn workers from the four corners of the world, until now it shelters men from every nation of Europe. At one time more than half of the seven thousand men employed in one mill were Slavs, and fully two thirds were foreign-born. It seems peculiarly fitting that this industry which brings comfort to people in every land should also draw its workers from every part of the world.

5. Work means Homes for the Workers. The glare of the blast furnaces makes the mellow lights of the homes seem dim, but size and brilliance seldom determine the important values in life. From the mill the worker, whether he be head chemist or stoker, turns to some one of the homes which cling to the steep hillsides or which extend on the level stretches all the way along the valley to the heart of the city of Pittsburgh.

[graphic][ocr errors]

Factories are springing up in every part of the nation, and always there are workers to fill them, for the mills need the workers and the workers need

the mills

The homes of many workers are very humble. Some of them have only two rooms, with a tiny yard in which a few hens make a scanty living. Others have four, five, and even nine rooms. On the hillsides and in the valley there is street after street of such houses, the monotony broken only by the lawns and flowers that many families have had the courage to attempt. Just as the cloud of smoke that hangs, day and night, over the valley, is the symbol of the never-ending toil of the mills, so the little garden patches and the lighted windows are the symbols of the home life of the mill people.

By no means are all the homes of the steel valley humble little houses clinging to the hillsides. There are whole towns of spacious, attractive houses, which are owned and occupied by the men of the steel mills. Since the railroad and the trolley run to the very gates of the mills, thousands of workers live many miles away. And in some respects the farther away they live the more attractive are their homes. But whatever it is-a five-room house, a two-room cottage, a big brick palace, a room in a boarding house-and whether he owns or rents it, every steel worker has a home. It is the home that makes the steel mills possible, and the steel mills that make the home possible.

6. Home means "the Place where the Job is.” If the time comes that the ore fields of the United States are exhausted, then the cloud of smoke that rests on Pittsburgh will lift, the big furnaces will be lifeless, the valley will be silent. One by one the families will lock their doors and start life anew somewhere else. The scattering would take many months, perhaps years, but inevitably it would come. And the one question constantly on men's lips would be, Where shall I find work? Whereever they eventually found it,---whether on farms in the Middle West, in lumber camps of the great Northwest, or in the great cities,—there they would again set up their homes. Home for the millions of people in the United States means "the place where the job is.” To understand any nation or any community one must know what is the work of the people and what kind of homes they have.

7. Many Other Industries in America. Only a relatively small number of the families of the United States get their living from the steel mills. There are other vast industries, as well as hundreds of less important ones. Some industries are housed in factories, others stretch out over fields and woods. Whatever the kind of work, somewhere near it are the homes of the workers. There are always well-worn paths from the homes to the mills, stores, and fields. Sometimes these paths are trolley lines, sometimes steam railways, often ordinary streets, but sometimes mere footpaths. In a Rhode Island village is a graystone cotton mill to which the workers come from the tiny farms by footpaths, over stone walls, through swampy meadows and strips of woods. The paths to the steel mills of the Allegheny valley are of every kind-footpaths, roads, trolley lines, steam railroads. The worker finds a path to the work, wherever it is.

ANOTHER PICTURE OF THE REAL AMERICA

8. A Famous Valley. Five hundred miles to the west of the smoky Allegheny valley is another famous valley, known throughout the world and envied us by many a nation of Europe. It is the valley of the Mississippi, in which centers one of America's big industries. This industry monopolizes large areas in the Middle Western states and overflows into every state in the nation. There is no mountain high enough to command a view of even a hundredth part of the acres devoted to this wealth-making industry—the growing of corn. If all England and Scotland were one great cornfield, this area would not equal the land covered by the cornfields of the United States. A stenographer in the Department of Agriculture at Washington one summer took a canoe trip on the Tennessee River, which so bends its course that it twice crosses the state of Tennessee. On his return he said, "Now I understand why the government has a special corn investigations office-I haven't been out of sight of corn since I left Washington." Yet he had not been even within sight of the real Corn Belt!

9. Our Cornfields are World Battlefields. Once you have seen these great plains of corn, have walked between the stately rows, have listened to the rustle of the leaves, which seems at times like the hoarse whisperings of a great multitude of men and again like the slow wash of water on a sandy shore, you will always thrill at the mention of corn. There is something about the endless rows in late August that suggests armies of soldiers standing at attention, waiting for the word of command to go into battle. And in an almost literal sense these

« 上一頁繼續 »