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The Environment, Bethlehem Steel and Babe Ruth: Conestoga Log Cabin’s Connection

In addition to a green manufacturing process, Conestoga Log Cabins & Homes shows its commitment to the environment in their selection of a manufacturing facility.  Conestoga took dilapidated buildings and transformed them into its current state of the art manufacturing plant.

Conestoga Log Cabins’ current Lebanon, PA buildings date back to 1882 when they were constructed by the Pennsylvania Bolt & Nut Company.  By 1917, Bethlehem Steel acquired the property for use as its industrial fastener plant.  Steel from other Bethlehem Steel locations was shipped to this 100 acre production center for processing into specialty fasteners, custom forgings and track spikes.

During successful times, Bethlehem Steel employed 2400 at the Lebanon, Pennsylvania location and was the largest industrial employer in area.  For a short time, Bethlehem Steel’s Lebanon plant was even home to baseball legend Babe Ruth.  Ruth was among many players who joined the “Safe Shelter League” during World War I.  Since steel manufacturing was considered essential work to supply war efforts, employees were granted an exemption from the draft.  Ruth played on the company baseball team as a steel employee and was on the mill payroll from September 25, 1918 to February 28, 1919.

Bethlehem Steel was a mainstay on the Fortune 500 as it supplied the steel to build ships, bridges and buildings throughout the country.  After decades of prosperity, the decline of Bethlehem Steel approached.  Through the mid 1980’s the Lebanon mill closed in stages.  Layoffs and the eventual closure at Bethlehem Steel contributed to an economic recession in Lebanon County.

In 1985, all real estate and assets from Bethlehem Steel’s Lebanon plant were sold for just $500,000.  The owners turned the buildings into an industrial park with buildings for lease.  Conestoga saw an opportunity to reduce waste by reusing and re-purposing structures already in existence.  Conestoga’s plant and offices are still in this Pennsylvania location where local folks are employed.