Rocky Mountain Steel, Colorado

Rocky Mountain Steel, in Pueblo, Colorado, was the first integrated steel mill built west of the Mississippi River.  Rail first came out of the plant in 1882, and it is still making steel today, though its blast furnaces are not used. It was operated mostly by Colorado Fuel and Iron Company (CF&I), which was created by mergers in 1892, and soon became the largest steel producer in the West. Bankrolled by Rockefeller and Gould, by 1904, CF&I was Colorado’s largest employer up to the middle of the 20th century. This was the company’s principal mill, and one of the ten largest in the world, for a time. In 1972, the plant had more than 6,000 workers, and CF&I operated plants in New Jersey and San Francisco. In 1983, the plant laid off 60% of its workforce of 5,500. It was bankrupt by 1990, and purchased by Oregon Steel Mills Inc. in 1993. In 2007 it was bought by Evraz, a Russian mining and steel company. Currently, steelmaking activity at the site consists of creating wire, plate, rail, tubing, reinforcing bar, and pipe from scrap steel in an electric arc furnace.

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