January 29, 2021

Pueblo Steel Making Has History of Contributions to Innovative, Record-Breaking Projects

Photo Caption: View of the Steel Mill from the Steelworks Center Park in Pueblo, CO

Pueblo, CO - While EVRAZ Pueblo North America is charting a course to become a leader in renewable energy as the first solar powered steel mill in the world, it has been making history since its inception, contributing to projects that led the nation during their respective time period.

Established in 1881, EVRAZ Pueblo (then known as the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, or CF&I) played a part in numerous projects that were making history and earning kudos for being the longest, strongest, or first of its kind. Today, EVRAZ Pueblo produces the finest steel products available, including rail, seamless pipe, tubes, rod, and coiled reinforcing bar. The plant will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2022 as the first iteration of the plant was founded Jan. 11, 1872 as Colorado Coal & Iron. In 1892, Colorado Coal & Iron fused with Colorado Fuel Company to become Colorado Fuel and Iron.

Last year, EVRAZ announced it would partner with Xcel Energy and Lightsource BP and invest $250 million to develop a new 240-megawatt solar facility in Pueblo that would become the largest on-site solar facility dedicated to a single customer in the country. Lightsource BP will build, own and operate the Bighorn Solar project, scheduled to go online in 2021, and sell all the electricity it generates to Xcel Energy under a long-term power purchase agreement.

“The development of our new rail mill and will make EVRAZ North America the industry leader in the use of renewable energy to produce the greenest steel and engineered steel products in the world, from rail to rod & bar,” said James Skip Herald, president and CEO of EVRAZ North America.

EVRAZ Pueblo already is the largest recycler in Colorado, collecting and recycling 1 million tons of scrap metal each year from old cars, industrial and demolition scrap, tanks, barrels, and cans. In fact, when Broncos Mile High Stadium was demolished, EVRAZ Pueblo recycled 7,000 tons of the steel structure into steel for light rail, pedestrian bridges, and highway improvements, which formed part of the transportation project known as T-Rex.

According to Steelworks Center of the West Archivist Victoria Miller, CF & I acquired a company (Roebling Steel) with a direct connection to early aviation as the Wright Brothers used the company’s steel wire trusses in their first flight in Kittyhawk, NC. CF&I also played a part in early space travel innovations. In 1956, CF&I rails were used at Edwards Air Force Base Flight test center, where engineers and others studied rockets that glided on the rails for aircraft guided missiles, pilot escape systems, and experimental parachute opening devices.

The Royal Gorge Bridge in Canon City (and later the first tram to the floor of the gorge) was completed in 1929 at a cost of $350,000 made entirely of CF&I-made materials including the cables, trusses and rivets. Hanging nearly 1,000 feet above the Arkansas River, the Royal Gorge Bridge is one of the highest suspension bridges in the world. The bridge held the title of the world’s highest bridge from 1929 until 2001.

Another famous bridge with connections to Pueblo steel is the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, constructed in 1937.  The cables on this marvel of modern engineering was made entirely of CF&I-made wire. The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest for a suspension bridge until 1981, while its 746-foot towers made it the tallest bridge of any type until 1993. In addition, it is believed to be the most photographed bridge in the world and named one of the seven civil engineering wonders of the United States by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1994.

Among its other famous “firsts,” Pueblo’s steel company:

  • Provided Guy Wire in some of the first television sets in the country in 1950.
  • Was the first and only vertically integrated steel company west of the Mississippi River for nearly a century. A vertically integrated company is one that solely controls its own production, manufacture, and distribution of product.
  • Opened the first seamless tube mill of its kind in the United States (1953) and still stands today as the only steel mill in the country with the ability to make seamless tubing products. Such products are currently used with oil and gas casings.
  • Supplied Cal Tie Wire and reinforcing rods to support the expected heavy traffic volume expected on San Francisco’s Alamany Freeway, one of the first superfreeways in America, built in 1960.

EVRAZ NA National Sales Manager Paul Sopko explained that current products are sent to domestic distributors for sale, which makes it more difficult to track exactly where the products land and in what form. But he emphasized that millions of Americans have had a direct connection to EVRAZ steel as its steel cord has been used for decades in the tires of standard automobiles from Canada to Mexico as well as in railroad tracks across North America. In fact, from 2006-15, EVRAZ Pueblo shipped 42,600 miles of rail, enough to circle the world twice.

The next time you meet a steelworker, you should thank them. Many of the modern marvels we enjoy today are likely contributions from their hard work, innovation, and industrial knowledge. These American milestones are a direct result of Pueblo’s steel culture and their commitment to be the best.


More About PuebloShares.com

PuebloShares.com invites Coloradoans to share their experiences, photographs, and videos of Pueblo County with others by uploading materials for community use. See something you like in the online library? Use it! The resources are royalty free for both personal and commercial use when demonstrating the positive aspects of Pueblo County.

Use these Steel Photos Royalty Free

Posted on January 29, 2021 under ,
Share Pueblo is a private-public partnership between the City and County of Pueblo, Colorado. 
Content available here may only be used to promote the City and County of Pueblo.
Trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.