Competition Came In

“What happened with the steel industry is foreign steel.”

Edited by Rebecca Werner.

Transcript for Title of Story

Bethlehem Steel supposedly came to the Midwest and moved into U.S. Steel’s territory, supposedly after U.S. Steel had moved into one of Bethlehem’s territories, I think, in the South. So the competition was there. There was a great deal of fear early on that U.S. Steel would find out we were coming, that Bethlehem was coming. And so everything was done in the name of Lakeshore Development Corporation. In fact, there was even a rumor circulated that it was Chrysler Motors that was coming. I don’t know where that came. 

When it was—when the development was occurring, “Save the Dunes” Council became the real environmental protection people, were able to solicit the support of Everett Dirksen who was the United States Senator from Illinois. There was always some feeling that maybe Mr. Dirksen had been contacted by U.S. Steel, but you know, that’s just all, all talk. But anyway, what happened with the steel industry is foreign steel. There was a feeling in the ‘60s and ‘70s that if we paid our employees a little more, if we took a little more bonus for the top people, it didn’t matter, we would just raise the price of steel. The money that was spent to establish a steel mill was rather irrelevant and whatever it cost was what it cost. When Bethlehem Steel opened their plant, they had a grand opening and they moved in railroad cars, Pullman cars, and railroad kitchens and stuff to have the grand opening in one of the major buildings, and it was a huge party. It was a tradition that we would have a country club and so the corporation would buy the necessary land and put in the very nicest country club. That’s now Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton. That all changed when competition came in. “We no longer can afford this place for our executives to go and golf.” And so that all changed.

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