Amazon and the Breaking of Baltimore


By Alec MacGillis, Places Journal

Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

When I set out to report a book on the problem of growing regional inequality in America, I did not expect that it would involve spending several hours on a cold winter day standing inside a large dumpster.

But there I was, helping a man named Keith Taylor toss all manner of trash from a giant receptacle to reach the treasure buried below: hundreds of bricks from the demolished headquarters of the sprawling Bethlehem Steel plant on Sparrows Point peninsula outside Baltimore.

Mr. Taylor, who started working at the plant in 1989 and spent the next 11 years there, wanted the bricks as part of his effort to reclaim the heritage of Sparrows Point. In the 1950s, Beth Steel, as locals call it, was the largest steel plant in the world, a dense skyline of chimneys and coal chutes abutted by a company town then home to more than 5,000 people.

Mr. Taylor planned to use the bricks for a new lighted walkway at Sparrows Point High School. I was there because I had come to see Sparrows Point as emblematic of the transformation of the U.S. economy over the past few decades and the gaping regional divides that this transformation had produced.


Recent Deals

Interested in advertising your deals? Contact Edwin Warfield.

Connect with these Baltimore Professionals on LinkedIn

  • Edwin Warfield

    Editor in Chief, Warfield Digital

  • Jean Halle

    Independent Consultant

  • Larry Lichtenauer

    President of Lawrence Howard & Associates

  • Newt Fowler

    Partner at Womble Carlyle, LLP

  • David Crowley

    Owner at Develop DC

  • Carolyn Stinson

    Stinson Marketing Group