Guest Blog: Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area



We’ve invited Corinne Betchel, Director of Tourism of Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, to contribute to the YPA blog as our first guest blogger.  Check out what’s happening with Rivers of Steel this summer!

Coming up on August 3rd, Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area and the Young Preservationists Association will be co-hosting Happy Hour with Carrie – a one hour tour of the Carrie Furnaces followed by beer and socializing at Voodoo Brewery Homestead. YPA members receive a discount on tour tickets with the code YPA2016. This is a great opportunity to network with others who share a passion for preservation while checking out the incredible Carrie Furnaces site (and the awesome craft beer at Voodoo).

ypablg8Happy Hour with Carrie, now in its second year, is just one of several new and expanded programs that Rivers of Steel has added in the last several years to reach new audiences, further interpret local industrial history, and build the connection between people and place. The happy hour tours were designed to appeal to young professionals and provide a gateway into Pittsburgh’s industrial history and Rivers of Steel’s programming. In 2016, Rivers of Steel decided to aim even younger to instill pride of place into the next generation. Our Kids at Carrie program, held once monthly in the summer, is designed for families with young children and includes an introduction to Pittsburgh’s iron and steel heritage, an adventure walk through the Carrie Furnaces site, an art project based on the Carrie Deer, and cookie table treats.


One of our largest new endeavors is Rivers of Steel Arts (RoSA), the creative wing of Rivers of Steel. RoSA offers exhibitions, performances, and educational experiences to enhance the lives of community members, build local pride and renew public interest in Pittsburgh’s Monongahela River Valley. While creative projects are offered throughout the entire eight-county heritage area of Southwestern Pennsylvania, RoSA is based at the Carrie Furnaces. Programming at Carrie includes ironcast workshops, photo safaris, tintypes and Cyanotype workshops, and urban art tours.


On September 3rd, RoSA will present the second annual Festival of Combustion, a family-friendly event highlighting all hot art making processes. The festival features booths dedicated to glass flame-working, ceramics, molten lava, bronze casting and cast iron. There will be a variety of hands-on activities available along with live music and local eats. Leading up to the Festival of Combustion, RoSA will be offering more in-depth hands-on opportunities including a Weeklong Iron Intensive and Foundry 1 which provide participants the unique opportunity of casting their work during the Festival of Combustion as part of the casting team.


Rivers of Steel is looking for additional volunteers, especially for the Festival of Combustion on September 3rd. If you are interested in learning about volunteer opportunities please email Corinne at We hope to see you at the Carrie Furnaces for a happy hour tour, workshop, or one of many other great events this year. More information can be found at and by following our Facebook page.


Photographs courtesy of Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area