Robert Meyers / AP, file
The RG Steel Sparrows Point mill, above, on the Patapsco River near Baltimore, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 31, a week after announcing that it was idling operations in three states and laying off employees.
One of America's historic industrial sites -- the 120-year-old Sparrows Point steel mill in Baltimore, where steel for the Golden Gate Bridge was forged -- was auctioned off Tuesday, but mystery swirled around who bought it.
The plant is one of three steelmaking assets put up for sale by RG Steel, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 31.
But according to the Baltimore Sun, RG Steel -- as well as its attorney and the union -- has been silent on the sale for days outside of court filings.
"In these cases where … the information stops, it's because there's just literally nothing good to share," analyst Peter A. Chapman, president of Bankruptcy Creditors' Service Inc., told the Sun.
No details were filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court late Tuesday, the Sun reported, but the paper quoted a source saying the proceedings were held in the afternoon.
Maryland's Department of the Environment objected to the sale of Sparrows Point, saying in a court filing Tuesday that it must include a plan for completing environmental clean-up that had been approved for the site.
Afp / AFP/Getty Images
San Francisco's iconic Golden Gate Bridge turns 75. Look back at the history of the bridge in our slideshow.
Any sale must have the approval of Delaware's Bankruptcy court, which was to hold a hearing on Wednesday.
'I can't even sleep at night'
It is unclear what will happen to the several thousand Sparrows Point employees and contractors, the Sun reported, but they appear to hope a company that will restart steelmaking will purchase the mill.
"We're pretty much scared to death," the newspaper quoted Mike Hartnett, who it said had worked at Sparrows Point for 37 years, as saying.
"I can't even sleep at night," he told the Sun.
May 27: Thousands streamed in to San Francisco and southern Marin County to celebrate the 75 anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, which turned 75 in May.
Thousands lose jobs
According to the newspaper, nearly 2,000 employees -- practically the entire workforce -- have been laid off from Sparrows Point in recent weeks. Another 1,000 contractors, vendors and suppliers have either lost or are in the process of losing their jobs as a consequence of the bankruptcy, the Sun cited Baltimore County officials as estimating.
Last week, some equipment and facilities from RG's Wheeling mill at Mingo Junction, Ohio, were sold off at auction. But the price was small change compared with the $1.2 billion RG Steel paid Russian steelmaker Severstal for all three plants last year.
Equipment and intellectual property related to the Wheeling plant were sold to Nucor Corp. for $7 million, while its Martins Ferry mill in Ohio was sold for $2 million. RG Steel also sold its equity rights in Ohio Coatings to Esmark Steel Group for $1.5 million.
Steel was first made at Sparrows Point in 1889. By the mid-20th century, it was the world's largest steel mill, stretching four miles on the southeast edge of Baltimore Harbor.
Steel for famed bridges
Purchased by Bethlehem Steel in 1916, the mill's steel ended up as girders in the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and in cables for the George Washington Bridge in New York City.
Industry analysts said although Sparrows Point has some modern equipment, such as a cold mill, other machinery is 100 years old and potential buyers were more likely to pick off parts rather than purchase the whole facility.
Behind the scenes with the iron workers, painters and engineers who maintain this iconic bridge and the Coast Guard personnel who patrol its waters.
Charles Bradford of Bradford Research in New York told Reuters that Nucor might be interested in the cold mill, but not the whole plant, as it has a similar mill in Alabama.
Another analyst, John Anton of IHS Global Insight, told the Sun that he thought the Sparrows Point plant is a "good facility."
"I think the company most likely to make a good go of it is someone who makes slabs in Brazil or Russia and sends them there to be rolled," Anton told the Sun.
"I think the union would not like that because it means some employees in the hot mill would lose their jobs," he told the paper.
Reuters contributed to this report.
More content from NBCNews.com:
- Minister stands trial in international lesbian kidnap case
- Are nuns getting ready to spurn the Vatican?
- Girl, 6, found clinging to corpse in middle of lake
- Missing best friends found dead in New Jersey river
- Video: Athletes reveal the royal who makes them swoon