YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – An event that would become known as Black Monday decimated Youngstown 40 years ago. Today, former steelworker Frank Marr remembers that day and those that followed, and what’s been left behind.
September 19, 1977 — the day Youngstown Sheet and Tube announced the Campbell Works was closing.
On that day, Youngstown’s old Buckeye School was where Youngstown Sheet and Tube held classes for its skilled tradesmen. Marr, a Struthers native, Cardinal Mooney graduate, and Vietnam veteran, was in the electricians class when the instructor walked in with a solemn look.
“He said he just heard on the radio that they’re closing down Sheet and Tube,” Marr said.
It left him with a sinking feeling.
“I was scared. I was honestly and truly scared,” he said. “What am I going to do to take care of my kids?”WKBN archives chronicle Youngstown’s struggles after Black Monday
Marr worked as an apprentice in the machine shop — one of the few buildings still standing at Sheet and Tube’s Campbell Works. While there, he became an electrician and later spent 28 years at GM Lordstown.
“If it wasn’t for Sheet and Tube and serving that apprenticeship, I don’t know what I’d be doing today,” Marr said.
The machine shop is now owned by the Casey Equipment Company, which invited WKBN and Marr inside to look around. It’s where they built the parts to keep the mill running and much of the same equipment is left over from the Campbell Works.
At the time he toured the building, Casey employees were working on an armature — but Marr wanted to reminisce.
“They would make the rollers that were used down in the hot strip and the cold strip,” he said. “They would hit that button and that’s when they’d tell us, ‘Hey, something isn’t working.'”
As Marr walked around, he pointed out the two overhead cranes, the old brick floor, and where the stairs led to. The one thing he couldn’t get over was how it all still looked the same as it did 40 years ago.
“It’s like I come home. I mean, I could go up there right now and fix that crane. The parts are in the same place. It’s amazing.”More stories on Black Monday