Story courtesy of Weelunk partner West Virginia Public Broadcasting
One June 21, 1920, the LaBelle Iron Works, Whitaker-Glessner, and Wheeling Steel & Iron Works combined to form the Wheeling Steel Corporation.
With some 17,000 workers, Wheeling Steel was the nation’s third-largest steelmaker.By that time, Wheeling was already known worldwide for its iron works, which dated back to the 1830s. Its most famous product was the cut nail, earning Wheeling the nickname “Nail City.” During the 1880s, Wheeling Steel & Iron’s Benwood Works produced the first steel pipe in the United States. Other well-known Wheeling Steel products included tin cans, lard pails, stoves, lunch pails, and steel plates and sheets.
By the 1960s, Wheeling Steel plants stretched for 30 miles along the Ohio River. In 1968, Wheeling Steel merged with Pittsburgh Steel to form the Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation. Wheeling-Pitt, headquartered in downtown Wheeling, produced rolled steel products for industry, construction, highway and bridge building, and agriculture. As the U.S. steel industry declined in the late 20th century, Wheeling-Pitt sold off some of its works and filed twice for bankruptcy. In 2012, RG Steel, which had acquired Wheeling-Pitt, announced plans to idle its factories.