Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

August 25, 2013

In Your View

ASHLAND — Louise is dead, her fire is out

I could not agree more with your editorial opinion concerning keeping industrial skeletons dominating the skyline after they are abandoned.

You mentioned the old coke plant at New Boston, Ohio. But it wasn’t just the old coke plant, it was an entire steel mill that had to be razed, and the site cleaned up. For many years, Louise, the largest of three blast furnaces that had helped win at least one war, stood near the highway, an ambiguous eyesore for passersby.  

I had always thought that she should be buried with the dignity she had earned. It took a long time, but finally it was done. As you said in the editorial, there is little positive about the rotting remains of something that once meant so much, to so many, for so long.

Throughout childhood, I watched billowing red open hearth smoke rise above surrounding hills. The following poem is my way of remembering.

“Louise is Dead”

Once she was a lady proud standing tall and straight/ Presiding over a better time when everything was great.

Twenty tuyeres around her hearth to bring the firey blast/ She ate the coke, and ore, and lime ‘till time arrived for cast.

Then open up her bosom and ran the liquid fire/ To feed the hungry open hearths for rod and rail and wire.

Many a family she had raised; many a home she’d bought/ Many a dollar paid in tax with never a second thought.

Now she slumps in rusting shame, a victim of the times/ Her cast house filled with rubble and her instruments with grime.

Never again to cast a heat of molten iron so red/ The fire upon her hearth is cold, and proud Louise is dead.

Charles M. Whitt, South Shore

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