Under Grace, many changes occurred
in Bethlehem Steel. In the 1920’s it spent billions of dollars expanding
its facilities in South Bethlehem and at the newly acquired Midvale Steel
and Lackawanna Steel. (265) The booming twenties led to
the depression of the thirties, and Bethlehem Steel was hit as hard as
most other industries since its business was based on construction and
the railroads. Yet even though industrial expansion was slow during
this time, the Steel still fabricated and erected many of its well-known
structures, including the George Washington Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge,
New York’s Waldorf- Astoria Hotel, and Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.
Once the country emerged from the depression, labor organization
began in earnest. The Steelworkers Organization Committee was organized
by Bethlehem’s production and maintenance employees, which was the forerunner
of the United Steelworkers of America. (16) By World War
II, production had again produced an all time high of 13 million
tons of steel per year. Employment was up to 300,000 workers.
During the war, Bethlehem built 1,121 naval and merchant ships, and repaired
38,000 other ships. (20) Once again both the steel industry
and the community benefited from the wartime economy.