The Bost Building Built in 1892Built as a hotel for the rapidly growing workers’ ward of Homestead, theBost Building, also known as the Columbia Hotel was at the center ofAmerican labor historys most dramatic episodes - the Homestead Lockoutand Strike.During the summer of 1892, the Bost Building served as headquarters for theAmalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers. Using the third floorof the building as a watchtower, steel union officials monitored activities inthe mill site and along the Monongahela River.The Bost Building also served as the base for American and Britishnewspaper correspondents who filed their stories daily for a world that washungrily following the events of the labor strike that pitted the CarnegieSteel Company against the strongest labor union at the time.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BOST BUILDING• The Bost Building is the primary resource associated with the 1892 Battle of Homestead.• The period of significance is June 29, 1892, when the workers were first locked out of the Homestead Steel Works of the Carnegie Steel Company through November 21, 1892, when the Amalgamated official ended the strike and its Advisory Committee vacated the Bost Building. It includes the bloody events of July 6, 1892, the date of the Battle of Homestead.
The Homestead Strike• The Homestead Strike was an industrial lockout and strike which began on June 30, 1892, culminating in a battle between strikers and private security agents on July 6, 1892. It was one of the most serious disputes in US labor history.• The dispute occurred at the Homestead Steel Works in the Pittsburgh- area town of Homestead, Pennsylvania. The final result was a major defeat for the union, and a setback for efforts to unionize steelworkers.
• The AA strike at the Homestead steel Nature of the mill in 1892 was different from 1892 strike previous large-scale strikes in American history such as the Great railroad strike of 1877 or the Great Southwest Railroad Strike of 1886.• Earlier strikes had been largely leaderless and disorganized mass uprisings of workers. The Homestead strike was organized and purposeful, a harbinger of the type of strike which would mark the modern age of labor relations in the United States.
THE BATTLE OF HOMESTEAD• The bloody confrontation on July 6, 1892, between an industrial giant of world proportions and one of America’s strongest labor unions was known at the time and still today as the Battle of Homestead. The battle raged around the Homestead Steel Works of the Carnegie Steel Company, Limited, located on the southern bank of the Monongahela River in Mifflin Township, Pennsylvania, seven miles upstream from Pittsburgh. The mill was situated just over the boundary between Mifflin Township and the Borough of Homestead.
Participants in thisworldwide news eventwere 280 members ofAmalgamated Associationof Iron and Steel Workers,the remainder of the steelworks’ total labor forceof 3,800, most of whomwere non-union, and 300guards from the PinkertonNational DetectiveAgency, hired by thecompany to protect theproperty and thoseworkers whom thecompany planned to hireas strikebreakers.
The battle of July 6, 1892 stirred deep feelings of• and the workers of Homestead. identification between workers throughout the United States • The importance of the Homestead Steel Strike of 1892 and its impact on American history cannot be over emphasized.• The strike has entered the annals of American history as one of the great battles for worker’ s’ rights at the end of the 19th century.
Hugh ODonnell (born c 1863) was a descendentfrom one of the most notable families in Ireland. Hehad worked as a newspaper reporter before driftinginto steel working.ODonnell was admired by his neighbors and co-workers in Homestead, PA for several reasons. Hewas a quick thinker and an excellent speaker, owneda fine house, and was "envied for having theprettiest wife in town" (Wolff, 87). Because of theadmiration they had for him, the steelworkers whogathered during a mass meeting after the June 30lockout chose ODonnell as leader of the AdvisoryCommittee, a position which resulted in his beingblacklisted for life once the strike was over.
The Bost Building was at thecenter of American laborhistorys most dramaticepisodes - the HomesteadLockout and Strike.
HISTORIC PHYSICAL APPEARANCE OF THE BOST BUILDING• The Bost Building retains the design and feeling that it had when it served as the Amalgamated’ s headquarters during the pivotal days of July 1892.• The Bost Building is a three story, vernacular brick commercial building laid in a common bond. It is located at 621-623 East Eighth Avenue in the Homestead borough, just over the line from the borough of Munhall, where Heisel Street enters Eighth Avenue from the north. Constructed in 1892, the Bost building was conveniently located adjacent to the Homestead Works steel mill on the borough’ s maineast-west thoroughfare.
THE RESTORED ROOMS• Two rooms in the building have been restored to the way they looked in 1892, with original floorboards and period reproduction wallpaper. One room tells the story of the Homestead Strike; the other contains photographs that chronicle the restoration of the building from dilapidation through its opening as the Rivers of Steel Visitors Center.• Recently added to the restored rooms is a computer kiosk displaying an exciting documentary on the Battle of Homestead. Using archival footage, photographs and documents, this film allows you to learn about history on the site where it occurred. The Homestead Room• The Homestead Room is a permanent exhibit displaying artifacts and art work specifically related to the Homestead Works. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a 23.5 long model of the Homestead Works that originally stood in the General Office Building of the mill.
The Bost Building is the best survivingstructure associated with this important strike. The Bost Building hasundergone two years of renovations at a cost of $4.5 million. This building is located in one of 11 designated state heritage regions, it now serves as the main visitors’ center for the Rivers of Steel national Heritage Area. Therenovated Landmark building includes a third floor exhibit hall and restored rooms used by union leaders during events of 1892. The Bost Building also houses offices for the Steel Industry Heritage Corp.
The attachment that brings me closest to the landmark and its location is the name of the buuildig itself. It is located on property that is now Homestead, which originally was Mifflin Township. Mifflin Township oncewas called Bost Farm. My ancestors originally lived in this area known as Bost Farm.This building has special significance to me being that mylast name is Bost, and that I grew up only a short distance away from the Historic Bost Building.
BibliographyBost Building (1892 Homestead Strike). n.d. <http://explorepahistroy.com>.National Historic Landmarks Program (NHL). n.d. <http://tps.cr.nps.gov>.Pennsylvania Historical Markers-Bost Building. n.d.<http://www.waymarking.com>.Rivers of Steel. 2011. 22 March 2011 <http://www.riversofsteel.com>.All black and white photographs credited to Rivers of Steel