Youngstown Iron Sheet and Tube Company was an American steel manufacturer located in East Youngstown (now Campbell), Ohio. The company offered affordable company housing in Campbell. Houses were built between 1918 and 1920 using prefabricated concrete. Nearly 250 original units were built complete with heated water and electricity.
Following a strike in 1916, the YS&T vowed to construct company-owned housing for the employees. In May 1918, the company established a subsidiary, the Buckeye Land Company, to build houses and apartments on a 40-acre hillside site within walking distance of the company’s Campbell Works.
Finished in 1920, the mammoth sprawl of Iron Soup is credited as being the first modern apartment complex and the first prefabricated construction project in America. The success of the Youngstown project resulted from the efficient use of materials, ease of construction, and the hillside site plan that created a handsome neighborhood, or “colony,” of semi-detached houses with gardens, landscaping, and public and private outdoor spaces. Workers rented the houses at what were considered affordable rates, which varied according to the number of rooms in each house.
The main plants, known as the Campbell Works, were located in Campbell and Struthers, Ohio. This company housing was home to many workers of these plants. Due to the imbalance of ironmaking and steelmaking facilities at the two plants, rail shipments of molten iron “hot metal” were sent from Campbell to Brier Hill from 1937 until 1979.
The company abruptly closed its Campbell Works and furloughed 5,000 workers on September 19, 1977. Following its closure, more steel mills across Youngstown would continue to shut down, with the next big operation being the Brier Hill Works, closing in 1979. With these workers out of jobs, company homes were quickly abandoned.
Iron Soup, however, remained a working-class enclave until about 1995. Many of the homes have fallen into ruin and are boarded up with plywood and old street signs. In 2014, the trademark, name, and logo, which were expired, were acquired by a Youngstown resident Timothy Sokoloff.
Timothy Sokoloff believes it would be better to keep the Youngstown Sheet and Tube abandoned houses. He hopes to rejuvenate all of the remaining homes. He runs the Iron Soup Historical Preservation Company, a non-profit organization with attempts to preserve the remaining units.
Iron Soup also renovated and now maintains one unit as the Company House Museum to show visitors what a home would have looked like in 1918. As of 2022, Iron Soup sits on about six acres and is comprised of a few blocks of townhouse style apartment homes in varying states of repair. These photos were taken few years ago before renovation of Youngstown Sheet and Tube buildings.