When limestone deposits were discovered in the area c. 1887, this small industrial town was built to house workers near the quarries. It was named for Sir Henry Bessemer, who discovered that limestone was an important component in steelmaking. Incorporated in 1913, Bessemer is one mile east of the Ohio border. Brick plants, opened in 1900, were producing 200,000 bricks per day by 1914, and a brief oil boom sustained four drilling companies between 1909 and 1916. A cement plant now called ESSROC, opened in 1920 and still in operation, dominates the streetscape with its tall concrete towers. Rail connections to the PRR and the P&LE were used to ship crushed stone and the products made from it. The first immigrants were Swedes, followed by Austrians, Finns, Slovaks, Poles, Russians, and Italians. Houses are oneand two-story, hipped and gable roofed, neatly arranged in a grid pattern. The use of large local Bessemer bricks distinguishes these workers' houses, especially those at numbers 908 to 1106 on PA 317.
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