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 Barring two or three tall buildings, the city of Pittsburgh was then of a simple and homelike aspect. A few blackened church , a small dark city hall and an old market-place, a long stretch of blast furnaces, black as night, and the lightly constructed bridges over the rivers, gave it all an airy grace and charm.  
Since the houses up here were very simple, mostly working-men’s cottages, and the streets back followed the of hills twisting and as they went and providing in consequence the most startling and effective views of green hills and mountains beyond, I that should I be so fortunate as to secure work I would move over here. It would be like living in a mountain resort, and most inexpensively.
I and took a car which followed the Monongahela upstream to Homestead, and here for the first time had a view of that enormous steel plant which only recently (June to December, 1892) had played such a great part in the industrial drama of America. The details of the quarrel were fairly fresh in my mind: how the Carnegie Steel Company had planned, with the technicalities of a wage-scale readjustment as an excuse, to break the power of the Steel Workers, who were becoming too forceful and who were best organized in their plant, and how the Amalgamated, resenting the introduction of three hundred Pinkerton guards to “protect” the plant, had attacked them, several and injuring others, and so permitting the introduction of the State , which speedily and broke the power of the strikers. They could only wait then and starve, and so they had waited and starved for six months, when they finally returned to work, such of them as would be received. When I reached there in April, 1894, the battle was already fifteen months past, but the feeling was still alive. I did not then know what it was about this town of Homestead that was so depressing, but in the six months of my stay here I found that it was a compound of a sense of defeat and despair. The men had not forgotten. Even then the company was busy, and had been for months, importing Poles, Hungarians, Lithuanians, to take the places of the strikers. Whole colonies were already here, housed under the most unsatisfactory conditions, and more were coming. Hence the despair of those who had been defeated.
Along the river for a quarter of a mile or more the huge low length of the furnaces, great black bottle-like affairs with rows of stacks and long low sheds or buildings paralleling them, sheds from which came a continuous hammering and and the glow of red fire. The whole was by a of gray smoke, even in the bright sunshine. Above the plant, on a slope which rose steeply behind it, were a few moderately attractive grouped about two small parks, the trees of which were for want of air. Behind and to the sides of these were the spires of several churches, those soporifics against failure and despair. Turning up side streets one found, invariably, uniform frame houses, closely built and dulled by smoke and grime, and below, on the flats behind the mill, were so unsightly and unsanitary as to shock me into the belief that I was once more witnessing the lowest phases of Chicago slum-life, the worst I had ever seen. The streets were mud-tracks. Where there were trees (and there were few) they were and their by a which was over all. Though the sun was bright at the top of the hill, down here it was gray, almost cloudy, at best a filtered dull gold .
The place held me until night. I about its saloons, of which there was a large number, most of them idle during the drift of the afternoon. The open gates of the mill held my interest also, for through them I could see furnaces, huge cranes, switching engines, cars of molten iron being hauled to and fro, and mountains of powdered iron ore and iron piled here and there awaiting the hour of new birth in the . When the sun had gone down, and I had watched a shift of men coming out with their buckets and coats over their arms, and other hundreds entering in a rush, I returned to the city with a sense of the weight and breadth and depth of huge effort. Here bridges and rail and plate steel were made for all the world. But of all these units that dwelt and here scarce a fraction seemed even to sense a portion of the meaning of all they did. I knew that Carnegie had become a multi-millionaire, as had Phipps and others, and that he was beginning to give libraries, that Phipps had already given several floral , and that their “lobbies” in Congress were even then for the of the government on their terms; but the poor units in these hovels at Homestead—what did they know?
On another day I explored the east end of Pittsburgh, which was the exclusive residence section of the city and a contrast to such hovels and as I had witnessed at Homestead and among the across the Monongahela and below Mt. Washington. Never in my life, neither before nor since, in New York, Chicago or elsewhere, was the vast gap which divides the rich from the poor in America so and forcefully brought home to me. I had seen on my map a park called Schenley, and thinking that it might be interesting I made my way out a main thoroughfare called (quite appropriately, I think) Fifth Avenue, lined with some of the finest residences of the city. Never did the mere possession of wealth impress me so keenly. Here were homes of the most character, huge, , tree-shaded, with immense lawns, great stone or iron or hedge fences and formal gardens and walks of a most ornate character. It was a region of well-curbed, well-drained and well-paved thoroughfares. Even the street-lamps were of a better design than elsewhere, so eager was a young and democratic municipality to see that superior living conditions were provided for the rich. There were avenues lined with well-cropped trees, and at every turn one encountered expensive carriages, their horses silver or gold-gilt harness, their front seats occupied by one or two footmen in livery, while reclining was Madam or Sir, or both, gazing condescendingly upon the all too comfortable world about them.
In Schenley Park was a huge and interesting or botanical garden under glass, a most oriental affair given by Phipps of the Carnegie Company. A large library of white , perhaps four or five times the size of the one in Allegheny, given by Andrew Carnegie, was in process of construction. And he was another of the chief beneficiaries of Homestead, the possessor of a great house in this region, another in New York and still another in Scotland, a man for whom the unwitting “Pinkertons” and contending strikers had been killed. Like huge ribbons of fire these and other names of powerful steel men—the Olivers, , Fricks, Thompsons—seemed to rise and band the sky. It seemed astonishing to me that some men could thus rise and soar about the heavens like eagles, while others, drab sparrows all, could only pick among the offal of the hot ways below. What were these things called democracy and equality about which men ? Had they any basis in fact? There was constant about the equality of opportunity which gave such men as these their chance, but I could not help speculating as to the lack of equality of opportunity these men created for others once their equality at the top had made them. If equality of opportunity had been so excellent for them why not for others, especially those in their care? True, all men had not the brains to seize upon and make use of that which was put before them, but again, not all men of brains had the of opportunity as had these few men. Strength, as I felt, should not be too or too forgetful of the accident or chance by which it had arrived. It might do something for the poor—pay them decent living wages, for instance. Were these giants planning to subject their sons and daughters to the same “equality of opportunity” which had confronted them at the start and which they were so eager to recommend to the attention of others? Not at all. In this very neighborhood I passed an exclusive private school for girls, with great grounds and a beautiful wall—another sample of equality of opportunity.
On the fourth day of my stay here I called again at the Dispatch office and was given a position, but only after the arrival of a telegram from Toledo offering me work at eighteen a week. Now I had long since passed out of the eighteen-dollar stage of reporting, and this was by no m............
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