Years ago, I often went to the mammoth Huntington Mall in Barboursville, West Virginia. It was the largest shopping center in the largest in the state – and also its busiest. The mall was dated, coated with speckled brown tiles inside, ribbed paneling outside and other trendy lights and accessories that made this center a poster-child for the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
The Frank Sherman Company was a former scrap metal dealer in Youngstown, Ohio that incorporated in 1947 and closed in 2001 after it was discovered that fraudulent transactions were occurring between the company and Valley Forge Inc. of Salem. Valley Forge had entered into an agreement to sell scrap metal produced from Valley Forge, which he was part owner, to the Frank Sherman Company for cash payments Swindell did not report as income. The Frank Sherman Company prepared false invoices, which did not bear the name of Swindell from Valley Forge.
A well known landmark for ruin, the Republic Rubber Company was located in Youngstown, Ohio and manufactured tires and hoses for the automotive and aerospace industries. At its peak, Republic employed 2,300 with a payroll of $4 million. The company merged with several companies over the years and nearly came to an end in 1978. Several employees bought out the remains of the business and formed Republic Hose Manufacturing, which lasted until 1989.
Wean United was located in Youngstown, Ohio. It was a manufacturer of equipment that was used to process and finish flat rolled steel, steel and iron rolls, iron castings, coupling boxes, annealing bottoms and boxes and steam hydraulic forging presses. It was equipped to produce castings and rolls weighing up to 100 tons.
The Wick Building is located at 34 West Federal Street at North Phelps Street in Youngstown, Ohio. Completed in 1910, the 13-story building was designed by the renowned architect Daniel Burnham into the Chicago School and Romanesque-revival architectural style. It was the city’s tallest building at the time of its erection and was home to the Wick Brothers Trust Company among other Wick family enterprises.
There is a lot of commonality between Youngstown, Ohio and the Ohio River valley that I grew up within near Ironton. Both are areas that have experienced major employment losses, either due to a declining steel mill or other heavy industries; both are areas that have experienced population declines in the cities; both are areas that are impoverished. But the severity of Youngstown’s losses are hard to compare to.