While Rivers of Steel’s main concern is preserving the heritage of the steel industry, part of that is holding on to one of the most traditional arts that’s been passed down for ages—hand crafting.
Whether it is knitting, quilting, jewelry making or needlepoint, handcrafts are a definite throw back to our past. That’s why the people over at Rivers of Steel in Homestead see their weekly Sunday market held at the Pump House as not only a fundraiser, but also a way to preserve our heritage.
“It’s everything from fine art to jewelry makers to food vendors,” said Christy Baraff, the market coordinator.
There are tye dye items, jams and jellies, alpaca yarn, wine and more, but most importantly, everything is handmade by local artisans. Also while perusing the goods, market goers can take in some local music acts, watch someone eat and breathe fire or take in a daredevil laying on a bed of nails. Baraff said that weekly there are about 15-20 vendors.
“We do all sorts of fun things,” Baraff said.
The inspiration for the market stemmed from one that Baraff and her husband, Ron, frequented in Portland. That market was open air, year round and a huge destination spot for travelers. Baraff hopes in the future her market will grow to be a similar destination.
“We’re growing so we’re going in the right direction,” Baraff said.
Baraff’s husband, who works as the director of museum collections and archives at Rivers of Steel, finds the Pump House to be a fitting place to hold the markets.
Not only is the Pump House preserved by Rivers of Steel, it’s also a historical site of one of the biggest battles between labor and management, Baraff said.
The same ground where every Sunday small businesses come to peddle their goods freely now was the site of the brutal Battle of Homestead waged between a local labor union and an army of Pinkerton guards employed by Andrew Carnegie, the owner of the steel mill, which was sent to break up a strike.
In place where lives once echoed a will to fight for the American dream, small businesses now fill the space with hope for the very same thing.
“We had wanted to see something like this start for a very long time,” Baraff said.
If you’re going expect to see:
- Fiber art
- Quilt pillows
- Jams and jellies
- Tastefully Simple
- Tye Dye
If you’re interested in peddling your wares at the pump house, contact Christy Baraff at email@example.com. The fee for vendors is $25 for inside space and $15 for outside. Vendors can pay weekly.