The Rise and Fall of the Hennepin Steel Mill

Tuesday, December 28, 2010, will not be remembered as a red letter day in the village of Hennepin or, for that matter, the rest of Illinois. On that day, the forty-five year tradition of steel manufacture had come to an end; possibly temporary, but likely permanently. And while it didn’t end with a bang, it did not quite end with a whimper.

On a cold and dreary morning, not unlike the day just over two years ago when workers learned the plant was being closed, a small group of those who had worked diligently to save the plant took down their informational picket shed and silently closed the book on the Hennepin Steel Mill. When the workers left, where the lean-to once stood with its picket signs and the American Flag waving proudly in the wind was just a patch of empty concrete, an eerie echo of the contents of the once-bustling industrial giant.