Slate has a couple of articles today that right away had me thinking about steampunk:
First, an Atlas Obscura article about a former ironworks factory that was abandoned in 1985. The entire complex has been converted into a municipal park with all kinds of cool features, and even with the garish lights of their evening shows, still screams steampunk.
But if that hits the so-cool button of steampunk, don't forget the dangers of the industrial era. Slate's history blog has this article on the injuries suffered by children in 1890s Chicago.
And last, not in Slate but io9, an article about the terribly named Children's Friend Society, which rounded up the orphans and children of parents who couldn't support them and shipped them off to perform child labor in other countries. After reading that, I thought of Spire City and the terrible infections running through the city. Orgood's mad science of converting the poor into animals is just as cruel and extreme as ever...and yet not nearly so far removed from real history as you might think.