Bidding farewell to a community landmark

The basic oxygen plant constructed by Weirton Steel Corp. has, for decades, been a landmark in the Weirton community, marking the skyline with its easily recognizable “claws” reaching into the sky.

Dubbed the “mill of tomorrow” when it was designed, it became a focal point of the steel-making process and the successes of our local steel manufacturer. More importantly, it meant jobs for generations of area residents.

The BOP has sat idle for many years, one more victim of the downfall of the U.S. steel industry, and soon it will be gone forever.

Part of the 1,300 acres of land purchased by the Frontier Group of Companies from ArcelorMittal, the remnants of the BOP are set to come down Saturday morning, eventually making room for potential future industry with the goal of creating new jobs in the community.

The disappearance of this landmark, in that respect, will be both tragic and hopeful. It will erase a link to our region’s past with its history in steel, but it is making room for future opportunities as we continue work to attract new industry to the Tri-State Area.

Weirton certainly will look different without it, but our residents, and especially those who had the opportunity to work there, will have their memories.

For now, we say goodbye to a centerpiece of the city while we look toward what will come.