The restored Historic Pump House of the Homestead Steel Works, located in The Waterfront shopping area in Homestead, was the site of one of American Labor's bloodiest battles during the 1892 Homestead Strike and Lockout.
History of the Historic Pump House:
The Carnegie Steel Company's Homestead Works was the site of persistent labor unrest. A strike in 1889 by Homestead's workers won them a favorable three-year contract which recognized the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers union. This led, however, to the skilled production workers at Homestead earning significantly higher wages than at any other mill in the country. Thus, when the contract expired in 1892, Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick set out to lower the mill's production costs by breaking the union.
In the early morning hours of July 6, 1892, agents of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency hired by Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick attempted to land their barges on the wharf near Pump House #1, and retake control of the mill from the locked-out workers. The striking workers won the day, following bitter hours of conflict that left seven strikers and three Pinkerton guards dead, and dozens of others wounded.
Six days later, on July 12, 1892, 8,500 National Guard forces entered the Homestead Steel Works at the request of Henry Clay Frick to take control of the town and steel mill. While peace was restored, the Homestead strike and lockout
continued until November when the unskilled laborers, representing the majority of Homestead's work force, withdrew their pledge and effectively ended the strike. The Battle of Homestead signaled the end of union activity in the steel industry until the 1930s.
What to Expect:
The Historic Pump House is open for the Sunday Heritage Market (see below) as well as for special events. Guided group tours are also available, and can be bundled together with a visit to the nearby Bost Building, headquarters of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. Information about booking tours is available on the Rivers of Steel
The Historic Pump House is located at the trailhead of the Great Allegheny Passage which encompasses the Steel Valley Trail. Cyclists are welcome to stop off here for benches, picnic tables, a beverage vending machine, and restrooms in the nearby Water Tower.
Sunday Heritage Market:
Each summer Sunday, the Historic Pump House opens to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for the Rivers of Steel Sunday Heritage Market. This is a great opportunity to explore the Historic Pump House building and site, as well as support local artisans, farmers and businesses. Many Sundays also feature musicians, lectures and special events. The Sunday Heritage Market generally runs from early May to October. Learn more online at the Sunday Heritage Market
The Historic Pump House is located in Munhall, Pennsylvania, a borough directly adjacent to both Homestead and Pittsburgh, in The Waterfront
Free parking is available in front of the Pump House and the nearby Water Tower.
Historic Pump House
880 East Waterfront Drive
Munhall, PA 15120
412-782-0171 or 724-935-2677