Dear Friends of the Independent:
As many of you have already heard on twitter, Facebook, at our bar or in the Brew Gents taproom, we are throwing a Halloween party with the Brew Gentlemen Beer Company at the Carrie Furnaces (an absolutely beautiful old Iron Mill located in Swissvale, near the Rankin Bridge), on Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tickets, on sale now, are $35 and there are a variety of ways that we are making it possible for you to get to the event both for free and for an additional cost, including a bus to and from the Independent. Also, please visit our Facebook page for the event, and feel free to invite anyone and everyone you know that is over the age of 21 and that can behave themselves in a relatively responsible, adult fashion.
I write now to ensure that everyone who reads this feels personally invited to this event and so that I can fill you in on some of the details behind the event.
The Venue Itself:
The Carrie Furnaces are not abandoned. They may no longer be in operation, but they are beautiful monuments to this region's former steel industry. And, in fact, the furnaces are a National Landmark site with a rich history that is actively being preserved.
From Ron Baraff, Directors of the Museum and Archives of Rivers of Steel, the nonprofit stewards of the Carrie Furnaces:
"Originally opened in 1884 as an independent iron mill, the site was sold to Carnegie Steel in 1898 to produce iron for the Homestead Works across the river. The Carrie Furnaces #6 & #7 , opened in 1907 and were closed 1978. The furnaces produced the iron that was then transported over the Hot Metal Bridge to the Homestead Works and converted into steel in their Open Hearth department. The iron made at Carrie became the steel that built the Empire State Building, the USS Missouri, the Panama Canal locks and gates, the Bay Bridge and more. The remaining Furnaces (#6 and /#7) were designated as National Historic Landmark site in 2006."
These furnaces may double as the perfect, suspenseful backdrop to a Halloween party, but our intention is that this party is one thrown out of respect for the furnaces' history and for the people who are working so hard to preserve that history. Which brings me to why we chose "Hitchcock" as our theme.
Halloween is a time to be creative. And, yes, it's an appropriate time to be scary and provide thrills. But, in this historic space (indeed in this National Landmark) and in the presence of great beer, food and punches, we don't want to provide those thrills at the expense of good taste. After brainstorming for a theme, we felt that Hitchcock was perfect because: (1) the 1950s and 60s heyday of Hitchcock was also when iron manufacturing at the furnaces was at its peak, and (2) Hitchcock's directing epitomizes what we thought we could do with this space. The blast furnaces (which provide a backdrop to our food truck corral) and the AC Power House (the site of our dance floor) loom over the surrounding terrain so dramatically as to provide the perfect feeling of suspense. Hitchcock didn't rely blood and guts to keep you riveted to his films. He was a master of building suspense and an ominous feeling that something was about to happen. Hitchcock once said, "there is no terror in a bang; only in the anticipation of it." We hope to use the space to build that anticipation. And, as with all Hitchcock films, we'll have a few surprises and MacGuffins up our collective sleeves.
Why We're Doing this:
At the Independent and at the Brew Gentlemen, there is a common feeling that by brewing or serving good beer, by offering good food and mixing great drinks, by partnering with local businesses who are doing great things, and by bringing people together for an event, we can improve ourselves and our surroundings. We can make Squirrel Hill, Braddock and the Pittsburgh area overall a better place. With this event we want to work together with Rivers of Steel to create an amazing Halloween experience at an iron mill. We want to partner with ZeroFossil Energy Outfitters to throw a party in a sustainable and responsible way. We want to partner with the numerous food trucks that night to ensure that everyone can buy something great to eat to go with their booze and beer. And we want to invite you to make sure that we make this a place where you have the Halloween experience of your life and enjoy the fruits of our collective labor. It would have been easy for us to each keep our parties at our respective establishments. But we wouldn't have done something special for the region and for you, and with both of our respective companies, that's what we alway want to do.
Thanks and we hope to see you on November 1st,