Prosperous Community Relations

    The overall success and prosperity that followed World War II in Bethlehem and the Steel led many people to believe that those golden times would never end.  Indeed, these were the decades of continual improvement in the company-community relation.  A $5.5 million emissions facility was installed, which was a pollution clean-up model for the industry.  For the first time in many decades, women were able to hang their wash out to dry only a block away from the running plant.  (105)  Bethlehem Steel’s CEO, Edmund Martin, was on the front lines of many of the community’s important causes.  He was asked to serve as trustee or director of many local institutions Bethlehem Public Library such as Lehigh University and St. Luke’s Hospital.  (149)  He pledged the company’s finances and resources to the city and numerous local charities.  Martin even encouraged a drive to fund and build a new public library in 1965, which now faces across the river from the Steel.  (148)  Also around this time, historic preservation grew enormously in popularity, with several well-funded organizations each taking on responsibility for the preservation or exhibition of a particular aspect of Bethlehem history. (150) From 1960 to 1980, Bethlehem "enjoyed a renaissance of modernization, restoration, and reinvigoration" made possible by the Steel’s employees and finances.  (51)


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