Beyond the Build


History Set in Steel

Lately, we’ve worked on a handful of historic renovation projects, and it always seems something interesting rolls out from them. At our Hotel Thomas Jefferson project, we found bellhop uniforms and menus stored since the Great Depression. At the Lyric Theatre, we unearthed ticket stubs from the Flapper era.

As we were finishing The Lyric, current code required us to remove the existing exterior steel fire exit stairs of the original building. Here, we made another interesting find. Some pieces of steel were embossed “Carnegie.” Research told us that Carnegie Steel sold to J.P. Morgan in 1901 for $480 million ($13.3 billion in today’s currency) and  U. S. Steel was created through the acquisition. The steel in the fire exits came from previous stock of Carnegie, likely made in the late 1800s.

Our project manager made the decision to store it, and when we did not need it any longer, John Garrison of Garrison Steel didn’t let it go to waste. They turned the stamped steel into the classic display piece you see in the image above.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.