The Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company (YS&T) offered affordable company housing to its employees in Campbell, Ohio, some of which is now abandoned.
A strike in 1916 caused significant damage to Youngstown Sheet and Tube property over issues with quality housing, especially to those of southern and eastern European descent.2 3 Following the strike, the company vowed to construct company owned housing for the employees. In May 1918, the company established a subsidiary, the Buckeye Land Company, to build houses and apartments on a 40-acre hillside within walking distance of its Campbell Works.3 The $250,000 project was an early example of using concrete as a building material for a large-scale residential project.
For the Blackburn Plat, 146 reinforced concrete townhouses were erected by Unit Construction Company of St. Louis beginning in 1918.3 A concrete batch plant was located uphill of the site. Using a crane, five people could assemble one two-story house with four rooms in a single work day.
Designed by Conzelman, Herding and Boyd of St. Louis, the one-, two-, and three-bedroom units were small in comparison to typical apartments to discourage the practice of taking in boarders.3 It cost an average worker $15 to $20 per month, or about a quarter of their wages. Each unit included a bathroom, basement shower, laundry, and garden space. Playgrounds and company stores were abundant throughout the 40-acre complex.
Youngstown Sheet and Tube sold the Blackburn Plat, and their other company houses, in the 1940’s. Its Campbell Works closed in 1977.3
The Iron Soup Historical Preservation Company, a non-profit led by Tim Sokoloff, has attempted to preserve the remaining units.1 Many of the buildings are currently in a state of abandonment.