The Flats, the Mill, and the Hills
Distributed for Columbia College Chicago Press
Given the rare opportunity to access one of Cleveland’s vast steel mills before it was modernized or destroyed, Borowiec employed his camera to explore the Flats and its monuments of American industry. His striking black and white images reveal the broken power and vulnerability of the once-mighty mill as well as its relation to the surrounding city and its neighborhoods. The commercial buildings, factories, warehouses, and iron bridges that sustained Cleveland’s industrial pulse convey a quiet dignity in these compelling photographs, as do the modest frame houses that sheltered those who labored for decades in the Flats.
As Clevelanders struggle to redefine themselves as citizens of a twenty-first-century corporate metropolis, the Flats stand as a haunting testament to a time when men worked with their hands and steel was indeed the backbone of our nation. Borowiec’s compassionate but unflinchingly honest gaze challenges us to look both at and beyond the images of Cleveland and to meditate on our common history of loss and rebirth.
Introduction: Living in Cleveland
by Les Roberts
Afterword: What’s Left?
by Rod Slemmons
List of Plates
About the Author and the Essayists