Betty Esper and Mark Fallon

At its height, U.S. Steel’s Homestead Works mill in Pennsylvania was one of the world’s largest producers of steel, but when it shut its doors in the 1980s, thousands lost their jobs. Among them was Betty Esper, a desk clerk at the mill.

Betty was 18 years old when she started working at the mill in 1951, and when it closed she was one of the last workers through the gates. At StoryCorps she tells her friend Mark Fallon what Homestead was like when the mill was operating.

Originally aired August 29, 2008, on NPR’s Morning Edition.