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Bethlehem Steel

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Andrew Garn. Princeton Architectural Press,1999. 108pp. £15

A photograph from 1929 in this modest but well-produced book shows the steel frame of Manhattan's Chrysler Building surging skywards, writes Andrew Mead . Like many other structures in New York (the George Washington Bridge, Lever House), and much further afield (the Panama Canal), it relied on the products of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation plant in Pennsylvania - in this case, H beams.

After flourishing for more than a century, the plant - extending four miles beside the Lehigh River - began to decline in the 1970s and recently closed. Some of it has already been demolished, while the remainder will be variously reused or form part of a Steel Heritage Museum - a now-familiar formula.

Princeton's book combines a text on Bethlehem Steel's history with archive images and documentation from the 1990s by Andrew Garn. Though Garn's photographs are reproduced at a relatively small size, they sometimes convey the grandeur of this doomed astonishing place.

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