Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Rivers of Steel Heritage Corp.

  • Homestead, PA

Mission Statement

Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation conserves, interprets and develops historical, cultural and recreational resources throughout western Pennsylvania, including the eight counties that comprise the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. The dynamic and powerful story of the region's evolution from colonial settlement to ""Big Steel"" to the modern era is evident in its many artifacts, buildings, vibrant communities and industrial sites. Among other destinations, such core landmarks as the Carrie Blast Furnaces Nos. 6 and 7, Pinkerton's Landing, the Pump House and Water Tower at the site of the former United States Steel Homestead Works, and the W. A. Young Foundry and Machine Shop at Rices Landing on the Monongahela River, illustrate the magnitude of this story. Rivers of Steel seeks to link our colonial and industrial heritage to the present and future economic and cultural life of the region and the communities it serves. Its vision is to become a nationally recognized brand that not only celebrates our past but also embraces our future, by connecting people to their environs. To achieve these ends, it fosters and promotes resource conservation and development, heritage tourism, cultural and educational programs and economic revitalization in partnership with hundreds of local communities in the greater Pittsburgh area, and along the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio River valleys, the very places that gave birth to the most powerful industrial heartland the world has ever seen.

Main Programs

  1. Educational/Cultural Conservation Programs
  2. Heritage Tourism
  3. Archives and Interpretive Programs
  4. Historic Preservation
  5. Receptive Services
Service Areas



The Heritage Area boundaries include Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

Our Receptive Services Program covers most Western Pennsylvania and extends to the Laurel Highlands and points further east.

ruling year


Principal Officer since 1992


Mr. August R. Carlino



Rivers of Steel, historic preservation, cultural conservation, education, interpretation, tourism, recreation, trails, community revitalization, economic development

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Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Historical Societies and Related Activities (A80)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

Museum & Museum Activities (A50)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?


Self-reported by organization

Accomplishments01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012 Management & GeneralThe Re-Evaluations of the ROS Heritage Area, due by September 2012, were completed by the NPS consultants and project cluster analysis/selection by other consultants engaged by ROS.Minor repairs and improvements were made to the Carrie Furnace (NHL), Bost Building (NHL) and Pump House.A draft of the Economic Impact Study of six NHA's, including RSHC, was previewed in late December 2012. Interpretive Planning/ExhibitsThe 2012 tour season operated by RSHC began with an increased schedule of Carrie Furnaces NHL site tours and other heritage tours of the regional assets.The Carrie Furnace NHL tour was able to provide a better route that follows the iron-making process as a result of the work of volunteers and staff to open and interpret new sections of the site.The Bost Building exhibit was changed in December to a new one focusing on J & L Steel. Economic DevelopmentReceptive Services staff continued to promote new tour packages to increase the self-sustainability of the Heritage Area and began to push outward into other counties.Rivers of Steel continues to host the Carrie Furnace Steering Committee monthly meetings that bring local elected officials together discuss the future development of the brownfield site. Education/Cultural ConservationAn Advisory Committee of local folk artists was convened to provide input to RSHC on its possible roles with folk arts in southwestern PA. Historic ConservationWork on the W. A. Young Foundry & Machine Shop Restoration, funded by a Save America's Treasures Grant continues. Natural Resources/RecreationAttended meetings for the Main Line Greenway/Trail between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg as well as the Kiski Valley Connections Study.Maintained the trailhead restrooms and parking located on the Great Allegheny Passage.


Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Educational/Cultural Conservation Programs

ROS provides educational programming for the classroom, teacher training, curricula, interpretive tours, field trips to its historical facilities, and referrals of traditional artists and folk cultural organizations. ROS works with local artists, performers and musicians to preserve and promote the many ethnicities associated with the region's industrial heritage.


Population(s) Served


Program 2

Heritage Tourism

ROS offers interpretive bus, river boat, and bicycle tours, a driving guide of southwestern PA's industrial heritage sites (Routes to Roots) and cell phone walking tours that are available 24/7.


Population(s) Served


Program 3

Archives and Interpretive Programs

ROS maintains an archive of local industrial and cultural artifacts and ephemera that is free and open to the public. ROS designs and installs exhibits in the Bost Building and the Pump House. ROS researches and designs interpretive signage or provides funding to local partners to install interpretive signage along bike trails and at riverfront landings.


Population(s) Served


Program 4

Historic Preservation

ROS works with local communities to preserve nationally significant industrial sites including the Battle of Homestead site, the Bost Building, the Carrie Furnaces, and the W.A. Young Machine Shop in Greene County. ROS provides grants to local communities for planning, restoration, and preservation of their industrial and cultural heritage.


Population(s) Served


Program 5

Receptive Services

Rivers of Steel works with charter bus companies outside of the region to visit our 8 county heritage area by providing itineraries and step-on guides to the groups. Regional tourism sites, restaurants and lodging facilities benefit from the increased visitor spending and ROS is able to generate revenue from fees and increased admissions to its facilities. Receptive Services were identified as a missing resource for prospective bus operators to bring groups to southwestern Pennsylvania. ROS believes this service endeavor is a perfect match for its economic development mission.


Population(s) Served


Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Preserve, interpret and educate residents and visitors of the region's industrial heritage.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Rivers of Steel assists existing and potential tourism sites by providing technical services and reviews of how to make them more visitor-friendly backed up with matching grants to help them to improve the quality of their sites.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    ROS employs professional tourism, archive/artifact archivists, exhibit builders, grant writers, and financial experts to provide technical services. This local talent is backed up by the resources of the National Park Services.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Increases in tourism visits and dollars spent in the region are the best indicators that ROS is making a positive impact.

    Favorable reviews in social media and newspaper articles across the USA and world also point to success.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    ROS has come a long way since its origin back in the early 1990's and has enjoyed more than its share of success. However, there are still many opportunities to improve and enhance the tourism experience in southwestern Pennsylvania.

    Several of our major accomplishments include:

    - Restoration of the Bost Building, a National Historic Landmark, in Homestead;
    - Establishment and operation of the Pump House Trail Head along the Great Allegheny Passage;
    - The evolving and growing diversification of the Carrie Furnaces Site, another National Historic Landmark, into a site for blast furnace tours, metalworking programs/courses, multi-cultural arts programming and exhibition, environmental programming and a performance center for other non-profit performing arts groups.
    - Continuing restoration of the W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop located in Rices Landing, Fayette County.
    - A receptive services program to encourage and facilitate increased charter bus tourism throughout the region.
    - And many other endeavors............

    ROS has not achieved "Regional Tourism Domination", but we will continue to strive toward that goal with our many tourism partners spread throughout the region.

    ROS will also soon finalize the acquisition of the RiverQuest organization that offers educational tours and charters on the Three Rivers.

Service Areas



The Heritage Area boundaries include Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

Our Receptive Services Program covers most Western Pennsylvania and extends to the Laurel Highlands and points further east.

Additional Documents

Funding Needs

Education - Statewide exhibits and teacher training courses development funding Tours - need interpretive guides Archives - a storage facility for industrial artifacts Carrie and WA Young Machine Shop - stabilization and restoration funds


Affiliations + Memberships

National Trust For Historic Preservation

Alliance of National Heritage Areas

American Bus Association

Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau

Destination Greater Pittsburgh

Institute for Cultural Partnerships

Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council

Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania

Leadership Pittsburgh

Multicultural Arts Initiative

Pennsylvania Heritage Parks Association

Regional Asset District

Visit Pittsburgh

National Tour Association

Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation

Greene County Historical Society


External Reviews


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Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Rivers of Steel Heritage Corp.



Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2014 and 2014
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

Principal Officer

Mr. August R. Carlino

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

" A national heritage area, Rivers of Steel tells the living story of our region, yesterday, today and tomorrow. We “connect the dots" as well as sites throughout our region, sharing the depth of our history from the experience of Native Americans through the industrial revolution and steel era to the restored rivers and riverfronts of today.

 The story that connects people to their roots in this region is authentic, grounded in the reality of yesterday and today.

 Our story resonates with Millennials and the arts community, who celebrate and engage with our heritage.



Mr. Frank Reed

Reed, Smith, LLP

Term: Jan 2010 - Dec 2010


GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization



Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?