The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum
Call of Opportunity - East
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania long attracted immigrants seeking a better life beginning in the early 1800s. Workers found employment in mining, petroleum, iron making, manufacturing, and of course, railroads. German, English, Irish, Scandinavians, and others came through the port of Philadelphia and then traveled throughout the state seeking employment. Labor bosses recruited right at the Philadelphia port for the building of the vast transportation system of canals, railways, tunnels, and bridges that paved the pathway from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh in the 1830s, called the “Main Line.” Pennsylvania and the nation’s emerging industrial economy produced both great wealth and staggering working-class poverty and at times an unstable pluralism of culture, giving way to a new era of violence connected to industrial employers and their workers.