Forging Ahead: Concrete Homes
This is the national historic site where the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company built worker housing from 1917 to 1920.
Their construction was a response of YS&T to an employee riot in 1916 when steelworker protested living conditions and unfair wages. During protests, their quarters were burned to the ground.
The units pictures here, the first pre-fab concrete homes built in America, were done by a subsidiary of YS&T called Buckeye Land Holdings.
The homes sat largely abandoned during the 80s and 90s, when they became a refuge for people hiding from the law.
The homes are built of pre-fabricated, rebar-reinforced concrete slabs, and they were assembled using cranes. The addition of the tile roofs made the homes strong. Each unit was equipped with hot and cold running water, gas and electricity.
Today the homes are in various states of repair. The concrete means they’re still standing but many have been damaged by vandalism, neglect and fire.
Iron Soup Historical Preservation is a group dedicated to renovating the homes. Some have been rebuilt and are occupied.
Tim Sokoloff heads up a group of volunteers trying to reclaim the homes and fix them up.
The community garden volunteers are trying to grow
Sokoloff stands in the tiny kitchen of one of the units.