Overnight Protest To Save Building

May 21, 2012 Updated May 21, 2012 at 8:56 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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May 21, 2012 Updated May 21, 2012 at 8:56 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - The fight is on to try and save the more than 100 year-old structure that used to serve as the administrative building for Bethlehem Steel.

Overnight, about a dozen people who called themselves "young preservationists" camped out in front of the building in an effort to stop demolition crews.

Eyewitness News talked with the preservationists who say they want to work with the owners to discuss options to keep the building in place, citing the ornate attention to detail and solid construction.

Several of those who gathered had relatives who once worked at Bethlehem Steel, and fondly remembered when the facility employed thousands.

When asked if it was simply time to move on, the preservationists responded that the structure is a part of the history of Western New York. They noted that the newly constructed "Union Ship Canal" is within a block of the building, and that it holds as much historical significance as anything on the waterfront. The group noted that buildings like the Statler and Lafayette Hotel have undergone renovation, and this building could join that elite group.

The structure is a mainstay at the foot of Ridge Road, and in its hey-day, overlooked about 15,000 workers each day as they entered the gates to work at the mill.

The building, owned by Gateway Trade, has sat dormant and decaying for about 30 years, and City of Lackawanna officials have ordered the demolition of the structure, which is set to begin Monday morning.