January 29, 2010
Colorado Fuel and Iron was once one of the largest integrated steel mills in the country and was Pueblo, Colorado’s primary industry. With the drastic decline in the American steel industry in the 1970′s and 1980′s, however, the steel mill was mostly abandoned. Pueblo’s south side, which was once the company town of Bessemer and home to the mill , quickly declined. Today, Pueblo’s renewal strategy includes an emphasis on tourism and economic diversification, and they have made major investment in support of that plan. Through NDC’sCorporate Equity Fund and HEDC-New Markets, Historic Rehabilitationand New Markets Tax Credit equity completed the financing puzzle for the City, providing the Bessemer Historical Society with the dollars to transform Colorado Fuel and Iron’s historic mill into the Steelworks Musem. Now open, the musem attracts tourists and pays tribute to Colorado’s steel industry. The museum also houses archives for CF&I, a steel company that continues to use the original grounds.