/24 Road

Andrew Borowiec

The Rust Belt in the 80s

I made these photographs in various factory towns in northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania between 1984 and 1989, at a time when many of the businesses that played a central role in America’s prosperity were in decline. Steel mills, tire plants, and factories of all kinds were shutting down and people were losing their jobs, their homes, and their place in the world. It was then that I first heard the term Rust Belt used to describe the vast manufacturing region that extended from upstate New York to the shores of Lake Michigan in the west and into Appalachia south of the Ohio River. Our industrial heartland didn’t get a name until it began to fall apart.