Abandoned Martin Tower – Bethlehem, PA – 5/17/14

Busy, busy, busy.  That is the best way to describe this month and I still have plenty more to do.  2014 has to be the busiest year for me, but I’m not complaining.  First let’s go back a week.  I was told about an opportunity I never thought I’d get.  I was able to photograph the grounds and the first floor of Martin Tower in Bethlehem, PA.  Another abandoned relic of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation and every time I pass this massive building I always say I will get into that building.  I did, and I didn’t even have to trespass!

I was told about the visit from a friend, where apparently it was an “instameet”.  Being skeptical, since I don’t have an instagram account, I dug further and found out its where people meet and take photos regardless of how you take photos.  Also it is free!  I had to take advantage of this meet.  Being able to roam the grounds of Martin Towers and the inside wasn’t hard to pass up.

Martin Tower is a 21 story building that was built as the new headquarters for Bethlehem Steel, but after the decline and eventual dissolve of Bethlehem Steel the building sits abandoned since 2007.  Collecting asbestos, the building’s future is still uncertain.  I’ve heard things from being converted into condos to a hotel or to being demolished completely.  It would be sad to see it go, because driving in the area Martin Tower can be seen from multiple views.

The turnout was great for the instameet.  Over 100 people showed up just from word of mouth and following igbethlehem on instagram, who organized it.  Some people were there to take photos with a camera or phone, some just wanted to see what the building looked like inside and others brought their kids because it was something to do.  We were split into two groups and my group was able to roam the grounds first.  Driving past this campus all the time, I never realized how massive the location is.  There is so much ground to cover and it is amazing to think that at one point there were hundreds of people working here.

Walking around, a lot of windows were smashed and boarded up.  Most of the doors had a padlock on them which, if you are good, could easily be picked.  The one building that amazed me was the power building.  In its heyday, I bet it looked amazing at night.  The front of the building was all glass and you could see all the color coded machinery.  At night with the lights on, this was probably interesting to see.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a good photo because of the glare from the sky.

Eventually I made my way into the building.  I was once here before on a class trip when I was in middle school.  The middle school is literally down the street.  All I remember was walking through the building’s connector to an auditorium to watch a video on the Titanic.  I think it was called Jason X and it was about a team of scientists exploring the Titanic’s remains.  I could be wrong, but I was there once, I know that.  We were only allowed to roam the first floor due to the other floors being deemed unsafe from asbestos and everyone would have to take the stairs.

Sadly, the outside was more interesting than the inside.  The floor was bare since they have been cleaning up the area for developers to show the building’s potential.  Also some of the items were staged for photo taking.  However, it was neat seeing the library, because I am pretty sure most companies don’t even have a library anymore.

Afterwards, I took some more outside shots and made my way home.  I left having my curiosity fulfilled from finally seeing what this campus had to offer.  Even though I still want to see the other buildings and floors, I will settle with this.  It would be cool to get on the roof though.  Whatever the future holds for Martin Tower I hope it is good and if they demolish it, I hope they at least have a picture posted giving tribute to what was once there and what else signified Bethlehem.

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