Searching for Dream Street – Monessen

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

A row of homes are slated for demolition in Monessen, Pa, when the town has the money available to have the work done. Monessen, a third-class city, faces the same problems as th other former steel towns — declining population and tax revenue after the mills shut down. The city's population has dropped to 7,600 from a high of 20,268 in 1930.

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

The ArcelorMittal coke works in Monessen in the background. Monessen, a third-class city, faces the same problems as th other former steel towns — declining population and tax revenue after the mills shut down. The city's population has dropped to 7,600 from a high of 20,268 in 1930.

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

Monessen

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

Monessen Mayor Lou Mavrakis talks on his cell phone in front of the former Monessen Savings & Trust Building on Donner Ave. in Monessen, PA. In 1928 the bank relocated and the building subsequently housed a department store, grocery store, Thrift Drugs store and finally a Health Mart before becoming vacant for the next 25 years. Monessen, a third-class city, faces the same problems as th other former steel towns — declining population and tax revenue after the mills shut down. The city's population has dropped to 7,600 from a high of 20,268 in 1930.

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

The ArcelorMittal coke works in Monessen in the background. Monessen, a third-class city, faces the same problems as th other former steel towns — declining population and tax revenue after the mills shut down. The city's population has dropped to 7,600 from a high of 20,268 in 1930.

201608120739

201608120739

Monessen, a third-class city, faces the same problems as th other former steel towns — declining population and tax revenue after the mills shut down. The city's population has dropped to 7,600 from a high of 20,268 in 1930.

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

St John The Divine Orthodox Church in Monessen, Pa. The congregation of the church has been in freefall since the decline of the steel industry in the Monongahelia Valley. More than 20,000 people lived in Monessen in 1930. Today, the town is home to less than 7,500. St. John has about 120 members on their rolls, but only about 25 attend mass on a regular basis with the rest being elderly and homebound. On this day there where 5 members in the church for Sunday service. Monessen, a third-class city, faces the same problems as th other former steel towns — declining population and tax revenue after the mills shut down. The city's population has dropped to 7,600 from a high of 20,268 in 1930.

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

Bartender Holly Fertall watches election returns at the Pasta Shoppe in Monessen, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. Fifty-one percent of voters nationally were bothered a lot by Republican Donald Trump's treatment of women, while Democrat Hillary Clinton's use of private e-mail while secretary of state was troubling to 44 percent, according to preliminary exit polling as voting neared a close in some states. Monessen, a third-class city, faces the same problems as th other former steel towns — declining population and tax revenue after the mills shut down. The city's population has dropped to 7,600 from a high of 20,268 in 1930.

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

As his wife Margie looks on, John Talarico (center) talks politics with Monessen Mayor Lou Mavrakis in Tallarico’s barber shop in the basement of his home in Monessen. Pa. Monessen, a third-class city, faces the same problems as th other former steel towns — declining population and tax revenue after the mills shut down. The city's population has dropped to 7,600 from a high of 20,268 in 1930.

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

Monessen, a third-class city, faces the same problems as th other former steel towns — declining population and tax revenue after the mills shut down. The city's population has dropped to 7,600 from a high of 20,268 in 1930.

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

Stairway to nowhere. The walkway up the hill was at one time used by steelworkers making their way to work at the Monessen's largest employer, the Pittsburgh Steel Company, later renamed Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel. Morgan Ave. at the top of the steps was home to Italian, Slovak, Polish, Croatian, Hungarian, Greek, and Ukrainian immigrants and their descendants. Morgan Ave. has become not just a street but also a cultural symbol of times and social networks that have disappeared.

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

Morgan Ave. was home to Italian, Slovak, Polish, Croatian, Hungarian, Greek, and Ukrainian immigrants and their descendants. Morgan Ave. has become not just a street but also a cultural symbol of times and social networks that have disappeared.

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

Monessen - Searching for Dream Street

John Golomb, former steelworker stands on the remains of Morgan Ave. in Monessen. Morgan Ave. was home to Italian, Slovak, Polish, Croatian, Hungarian, Greek, and Ukrainian immigrants and their descendants. Morgan Ave. has become not just a street but also a cultural symbol of times and social networks that have disappeared.

Monessen

Monessen

Monessen

Searching for Dream Street - Monessen

Photography by Pete Marovich

Monessen, named for the Monongahela River and the industrial German city of Essen, is located about 35 miles south of Pittsburgh, Pa.

The city enjoyed economic fortunes that lasted into the 1960s due to the steel industry. Older residents reminisce about a downtown so crowded that people had to walk in the streets.

Monessen was created by steel magnates who built mills along the Monongahela. By 1930, more than 20,000 people lived in Monessen. Workers here made steel for Chrysler cars and cables for the Golden Gate Bridge.

In the 1960’s, due to competition with cheaper foreign imports, Monessen, like most of the other steel towns began to see a steady decline in demand and therefore layoffs increased.

The city’s largest employer, Pittsburgh Steel Company, later renamed Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel closed nearly all its Monessen operations in 1986. The company’s rail mill closed a year later. The mill’s closure marked the end of an era for Monessen.

Thirty years later, most of the buildings along what was the main shopping district are in decay, the sewer system is collapsing and erosion is compromising the streets and sidewalks.

During the 2016 Presidential campaign, Donald Trump, then the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, came to campaign and stated that as president, he would bring the steel industry back to Monessen and the surrounding area.

Over a year later, and with no evidence that Monessen is benefiting from these promises to reinvigorate the steel sector, many voters who switched political parties to vote for Trump, are growing impatient and want more action from the President.

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