Former AK Steel HQ reduced to rubble

Copper box uncovered at AK Steel demolition site may be time capsule

Found during demolition work on Wednesday is what’s thought to be a time capsule, said Alan McCoy, vice president of government and public relations for AK Steel.

The cornerstone laying for the headquarters of the American Rolling Mill Co., a predecessor to AK Steel, was July 11, 1916, according to a Middletown Public Library file. In another picture of AK Steel’s depicting the cornerstone laying, several men workers and executives are shown holding a copper box. What’s thought to be the same box has been recovered, McCoy said.

Work began in September to demolish what was the headquarters for the Fortune 500 steel maker until it moved headquarters to West Chester Twp. in 2007. No viable reuse of the four-story, 175,000-square-foot building could be found, said McCoy.

“It represents a 100-year plus legacy in Middletown. But as we look to the future it does create some opportunities for additional development down the road,” said Middletown Mayor Larry Mulligan.

At one time the steel company, founded in Middletown in 1900, employed 70,000 people worldwide; the work force now is one-tenth the size, McCoy said.

The Curtis Street area used to house the original steel facility, the Armco international building and another office building, in addition to the headquarters being torn down at 703 Curtis and the research facility at 705 Curtis that remains standing. No decision has been made about the research facility, McCoy said.

“We tried for more than a year to market the building and others that are already down. That was not successful. We looked for opportunities to donate the building and that didn’t pan out,” he said, adding it was decided to make it a green space.

When the Armco and other office building were demolished in 2008, a time capsule was found that contained newspapers, photos and autographs, McCoy, said. The company has not made a determination on when to open the box found this week.

Contact this reporter at (513) 705-2551 or clevingston@coxohio.com.

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