It's pretty tough to follow a couple weeks of celebrity guest bloggers recanting their favorite Lehigh Valley discoveries, but just last week I became a part of Lehigh Valley history: On May 27th I signed the last beam for ArtsQuest's SteelStacks Performing Arts Center and then watched with pride as it was hoisted up and bolted in its final resting place.
It seems like yesterday many of the same people who were in the crowd for the "final beam laying" ceremony were assembled to hear ArtsQuest President Jeff Parks announce his vision of what would rise from this section of the historic Bethlehem Steel site. Actually, the date was November 11, 2005. (I saved the press kit from that bitter cold day. Hey, it might be worth something someday!)
Several press releases and a groundbreaking ceremony over the four and a half years since 2005 helped build my anticipation and now I can't wait to attend the Grand Opening Celebration sometime next year. Even if I don't make that event's A-list, I'll have plenty of occasions to enjoy SteelStacks when it's completed since there will be something going on there every day.
I'm sure many future blog posts will highlight events and performances I will attend, so for now I'll give you some background on the actual beam pictured. It was made in Erie. (Not Bethlehem, but at least it's from Pennsylvania.) The beam is coated with intumescent paint, which is used as a fireproofing material. The color is Raucous Orange, the same color as the Golden Gate Bridge whose steel did come from Bethlehem.
So, in the future, if you're with me experiencing SteelStacks firsthand, be forewarned: I am going to point out where I signed the final beam...backwards!
Is your name on it too?