The historic Hotel Belvedere in Apollo, Pennsylvania burned to the ground shortly after midnight on July 24, 2019.
The Rust Belt defines a vast declining industrial corridor of the United States roughly between Chicago and Albany, New York, and dominating many of those once-bustling communities are churches. Many were built as domestic steel mills were being constructed across the country in the early 20th century, and many were closed with the collapse of the steel industry.
At 2,500 feet in elevation, exploring the former Allegheny Tuberculosis Sanatorium was a delight. With heavy fog blanketing the campus in the early mornings, perpetual overcast days, and cooler temperatures even in the dead of summer, its location along the Allegheny Mountain front in Pennsylvania was ideal.
Driving home to upstate New York on a cold, blustery evening, I stopped to visit a childhood memory: the everlasting tourist attraction, Roadside America, but I arrived too late, and the kitschy gift shop and model railroad exhibit was closed for the day. Determined to make the best of the waning evening, I stopped by next door to visit the ruined Suwannee Belle.
The industrial heart of the Rust Belt is western Pennsylvania as once-mighty steel mills, coke plans, and machine shops, scattered alongside railroads, rivers, and highways, have downsized and closed. A globalized economy and increased automation led many jobs overseas; what remained was a shell, unable to be self-sustaining without government intervention.
The Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church is located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and was host to a Slovak Catholic congregation. Designed by F.W. Wilson of McKeesport in the Gothic Revival architectural style, the building’s stance on the side of a hill, with its 150-foot tower, was to evoke a commanding presence over the Monongahela River valley.