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Charles "CHIP" Barletto was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania and comes from a hard working, italian family. Was raised in the Railroad and Steel Industry since he was a child.
A Western Pennsylvanian who has spent most of his life scrapping old steel mills and other factories now is turning one into a museum dedicated to celebrating their industrial beauty.
"There are kids out there who don't even know a steel mill exists," says the 58-year-old Barletto, who started going into them at age 7 with his father, who had a heavy equipment company that serviced the mills before they started closing and he went into scrap.
Barletto says, "To preserve this stuff is important to me, because I've lived my entire life around it, and I've seen so many beautiful things destroyed."
Even as a child, he risked his old-school Italian father's wrath by saving bits and pieces, starting with locks from the railroad where his immigrant grandfather worked.
By the time he took over the family business, he'd amassed a collection of industrial artifacts as well as art, including a collection of photographs and paintings commissioned by U.S. Steel that once hung in the giant company's headquarters in Pittsburgh's Grant Building.
Among his favorite pieces are a pair of huge round brass gauges that he salvaged from an old boiler that was going to be scrapped. "I literally have gone into garbage dumpsters."
While the focus will be the steel industry and its role in New Castle's glory days.
The museum will display blue prints early as 1886 to photographs of later day steel mill operations.
Barletto transformed his collection into a museum. Now, has non profit status.
Some people might think Barletto is crazy, but he's used to being called that. "As crazy as everyone thinks I am, this whole thing started by wanting to share my true passion."
Founded in 2019 by Chip Barletto.
A Historic Landmark
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