Sparrows Point, Maryland

Sparrows Point was one of the largest and most modern integrated steel plants in the country. Located in Baltimore’s outer harbor, it is the only Old Steel plant on the Atlantic Coast. It was established by Pennsylvania Steel in 1887, for access to iron ore from Cuba and South America, and was bought by the expanding Bethlehem Steel in 1916. Sparrows Point employed 12,000 people at its peak, and produced hundreds of ships at its shipyard. It was modernized with new basic oxygen furnaces in the 1980s, and new galvanizing lines in 1993, then a new $325 million cold sheet mill opened in 2000, the year before Bethlehem went bankrupt. For awhile the old shipyard was used to scrap steel ships, perhaps even some made at this very shipyard. Sparrows Point has changed hands several times since then, owned by ArcelorMittal, Severstal, RG Steel, and Ira Rennert’s Renco Group. Recent owners, Hilco Trading and Environmental Liability Transfer, paid $72.5 million for the 3,000 acre site in 2012, and started auctioning parts off in 2013. It is now being cleaned up and redeveloped.