CAMPBELL, Ohio (WKBN) – When you walk into the old Youngstown Sheet and Tube company homes in Campbell, it’s almost like walking back through time.
“Architecturally, this was a modern marvel of engineering,” said Timothy Sokoloff with the Iron Soup Estates.
The homes were built in the early 1900s for steel mill workers.
“The Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company Homes was the result of the strike that happened in 1916, the strike was about the wages, affordable housing and working conditions,” said Diane Beatty with the Youngstown Photography Group.
More than 100 years later, they’re still standing strong.
“Gravity holds the buildings together. They’re not bolted, they’re not poured in one place, they were assembled in the mill, trucked up here on carts and put together like a Lego house,” Sokoloff said.
But, some of the homes are set to be demolished soon. That’s why photographers — like the ones from the Youngstown Photography Group — are taking advantage now, to capture the homes and items once used by the many steelworkers of the area.
“There’s so many photographers outside of my group who have reached out to Tim to wanna come photograph this site, because it does have historic significance,” Beatty said.
When you walk into the old homes, you can see the stoves and sinks that were used, the narrow stairways and the small customized bathrooms and the bright, chipped paint remains on the walls and ceilings.
In some, there’s even some old clothing left behind.
Beatty says she often looks around and can imagine the men walking back from the mills, while the kids play in the yards and the smell of dinner from each home fills the air.
Many feel the history built into the homes is worth saving.
“This is such a, I think, just an important piece of our history because this was the first site ever constructed like this, and it is saveable,” Beatty said.
Sokoloff has been advocating for the homes to be saved. Whether it be to preserve the history, or to create new use for veteran housing, he feels demolition isn’t the answer.
“It was no undertaking trying to save it. Not many people would come here and say, ‘let’s save seven and a half acres of historical property.’ We’re gonna save some of it for sure, you know it’s not all gonna get tore down,” Sokoloff said.
Some of the homes are still in use, with roughly 50 residents living in them, according to Sokoloff. He said the units that are occupied won’t be demolished. But still, he’s hoping for a miracle to save them all.
Sunday the Youngstown Photography Group took a tour of the homes, to allow photographers the chance to take pictures before they are torn down. They will have another tour April 24. Information can be found on the group’s Facebook page.