Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

Lawrence Nichols.

Committee Co-Chair

Corey Colyer

Committee Member

Ronald Althouse


This thesis examines the changing identity of a local community, Weirton, West Virginia, in terms of narratives shared by members of that community. Weirton was home to Weirton Steel, one of the largest steel mills in the United States. Since 1909, when Weirton Steel was founded, the mill provided residents with a narrative. However, this is starting to charge. With Weirton Steel's final closure on the horizon, Weirton will lose the main defining characteristic it has relied on throughout the years. In order for the community to maintain its unity, it must now create a new collective narrative. The research has both a historical and a future orientation. I briefly show how Weirton and Weirton Steel's narratives have been linked since 1909, and how their shared narrative evolved. The research shows that there have been three historical narratives: the model company town narrative, the survival narrative, and the betrayal narrative. It also shows that there are three possible future narratives developing: the ghost town narrative, the bedroom community of Pittsburgh narrative, and the revitalization narrative.