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City of McKeesport
McKeesport City Hall, built circa 1890
|Nickname(s): Tube City|
|Incorporated (borough)||September 3, 1842|
|Founded by||John McKee|
|• Mayor||Michael Cherepko|
|• Total||13.9 sq mi (36 km2)|
|• Land||12.9 sq mi (33 km2)|
|• Water||1 sq mi (3 km2)|
|• Density||1,400/sq mi (550/km2)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-4)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-5)|
McKeesport is a city in Allegheny County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania; it is situated at the confluence of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers and is part of the Pittsburgh Metro Area. The population was 19,731 at the 2010 census. It is the second-largest city (not including townships, boroughs, and Home Rule Municipalities) in the county after Pittsburgh.
McKeesport was incorporated as a borough in 1842 and as a city in 1891. Its population grew steadily until the mid-20th century, when it peaked in the 1940s. The city's population in 1900 was 34,227; in 1910, 42,694; in 1920, 45,975; and in 1940, 55,355. The decrease in the population since the 1940s is attributable to the general economic malaise that descended upon the region when the steelmaking industry moved elsewhere. The major employer was the National Tube Works, a manufacturer of iron pipes, which once employed 10,000 men. McKeesport was the site of the first G. C. Murphy five-and-ten-cent store.
- 1 History
- 2 Community services
- 3 Surrounding and adjacent communities
- 4 Landmarks
- 5 Notable people
- 6 Gallery
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes and references
- 9 External links
John McKee, an original settler of Philadelphia and son of David McKee, built a log cabin near the confluence of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers, the site of present-day McKeesport. After taking over his father's local river ferry business, he devised a plan for a city to be called McKee's Port. John set out his proposal in the Pittsburgh Gazette, as part of a program under which new residents could purchase plots of land for $20.00 (a lottery was the means to distribute the plots to avoid complaints from new land owners concerning "inferior" locations).
Around the time of the French and Indian Wars, George Washington often came to McKeesport to visit his friend, Queen Alliquippa, a Seneca Indian ruler. After being settled by the McKee family in 1795, McKeesport began to grow in 1830 when coal mining began. The first schoolhouse was built in 1832, with James E. Huey as its schoolmaster (Huey Street in McKeesport is named for him). The city's first steel mill was established in 1851.
The National Tube Company opened in 1872 and became part of U.S. Steel. In the years directly following the opening of the National Tube Company, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, McKeesport was the fastest growing municipality in the nation. Families arrived from other parts of the eastern United States, Italy, Germany, Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, with most working at the National Tube Company.
McKeesport rose to national importance during the 1900s as a center for manufacturing steel. The city's population reached a peak of 55,355 in 1940
National Tube closed in the 1980s, along with other U.S. Steel plants in the Mon Valley. The city with the help of regional development agencies has conducted efforts to revitalize the former mill sites.
Thirteen years before both faced off in some of the most memorable televised Presidential debates, future presidents (and contemporary Senators) Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy met in McKeesport for their first of five debates on April 22, 1947, to debate labor issues.
Major fires in McKeesport history
Throughout its history, several fires have caused a large amount of damage within the city. It is worth noting that the figures for cost of damage are in the respective time period. Due to inflation this means the damage would cost much more in modern day.
Date, Details, Dead and/or Injured, Cost of Damage
- Jan. 24, 1917, 5th and Sinclair St. - Normandie Bldg., $ 50,000
- Feb. 8, 1920, Fifth & Strawberry St. - Crown Chocolate Co. and Famous Dept. Store, $ 1,000,000
- Jan. 21, 1954, 551 Fifth Ave. - Monterey Inn & Ace Wall Paper Co., $150,000
- May 21, 1976, 5th Ave & Market St. - The Famous Dept. Store Fire in Downtown McKeesport, which resulted in multiple fires spreading to the 14 surrounding businesses and several homes up on Jenny Lind St. [The fire Spread south destroying Elks temple, Market St. School, and damage to Striffler's Funeral Home across Sixth Street flames shot east across Market Street destroying buildings occupied by Kadar's Clothing Store, Book Store, Oddo's Hobby Shop, Farmer's Pride Chicken Store, Coney Grill Restaurant and caused damage to McKeesport Cinema and McKeesport National Bank Branch. Flames also crossed Fifth Ave. N.E. to the Kelly Building, damaging The Apple Shop, Feigs Bakery and Natale's Sporting Goods.]Taken from the website from McKeesport Past.
- May 8, 2006, Multiple suspicious fires in Lower 10th Ward dispatched in less than one hour. One commercial and 2 residential buildings within a 2-3 block radius were set on fire during the overnight.
- July 11, 2008, Hi-view Gardens 520 Coursin St. Early morning fire in which an estimated 30 trapped occupants were rescued (with no significant injuries) from the building due to the combined efforts of the fire department plus McKeesport Police and EMS personnel on scene.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.4 square miles (14 km2), of which 5.0 square miles (13 km2) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2), or 7.06%, is water.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, McKeesport has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
|Climate data for McKeesport, Pennsylvania|
|Average high °C (°F)||4
|Average low °C (°F)||−6
|Precipitation mm (inches)||69
|Source: Weatherbase |
Demographics and culture
The population has fallen to less than half of its war-time high. In 2008 the U.S. Census estimated that only 22,130 people remained.
As of the census of 2000, there were 24,040 people, 9,655 households, and 5,976 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,806.9 people per square mile (1,856.4/km²). There were 11,124 housing units at an average density of 2,224.3 per square mile (859.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 72.40% White, 24.46% African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.59% from other races, and 2.14% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.50% of the population.
There were 9,655 households out of which 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.7% were married couples living together, 21.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.1% were non-families. 33.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.01.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.4% under 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 24.8% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 20.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40. For every 100 females, there were 84.8 males; for every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $23,715, and the median income for a family was $31,577. Males had a median income of $27,412 versus $21,977 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,242. About 18.1% of families and 23.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35.9% of those under age 18 and 12.1% of those age 65 or over.
McKeesport's population is a diverse mix of races and nationalities. As a celebration of these heritages, McKeesport hosts an annual ethnic food festival and community celebration referred to as International Village. Started in 1960, the three-day festival is one of the Pittsburgh-area's largest and oldest ethnic festivals and features traditional cuisines from Africa, China, Croatia, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hawaii, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, the Mediterranean, Mexico, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, and Vietnam.
Police and law enforcement
The McKeesport Police department (McKPD) has 55 full time and 10 part time Officers. It is one of the few departments in Allegheny County with its own Detective Bureau and Traffic Division. The McKeesport Detective Bureau consists of 4 investigative divisions: Juvenille, Narcotics, Computer Crimes, and Criminal. It operates closely with the Allegheny County Police Department which has a station in nearby White Oak. As of July 2013, the department has units that participate in Crime Prevention Programs including D.A.R.E., River Rescue, C.O.P.S., D.O.T., and Bike Patrol. It also has several special unit including Detectives, Traffic and K-9.
McKPD has a total of 65 peace officers broken down to 55 full time and 10 part time officers plus a number of civilian support staff and clerks. At any given time, the patrol division has 6 to 10 officers on duty in cars throughout the City with a Lieutenant and Sergeant in charge.
McKPD operates a large fleet of Ford Crown Victoria's, F-550s, Chevrolet Impalas and SUVs for patrol duties. McKPD also operates a police boat for river rescue and patrol duties.
As of July 3, 2013, the McKeesport Fire Department has two fully staffed fire stations. Station #1 is the administrative headquarters for the Fire Department and is located in the Public Safety Building (formerly the City Hall building) at 201 Lysle Blvd next to the Downtown business district. The minimum staffing for Station #1 on standby is three firefighters, however it is often staffed by four firefighters. Station No. 2 is located at the intersection of Eden Park Blvd. and Tulip Drive in Renziehausen Park. The minimum staffing for Station #2 on standby is two firefighters, however this station is sometimes staffed with three firefighters. In 2011, several members of the department completed training to become certified at the Technician Level for water rescue. The Fire Department also became a participating member of the Allegheny County Swiftwater/Flood Response Team.
As of July 3, 2013, the McKeeesport Fire Department is equipped with the following:
Ambulances and EMS services in McKeesport are provided by the McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Service which operates five ambulances. They are based at 1604 Evans Avenue. The McKeesport hospital; UPMC MCkeesport does not operate any ambulances of its own.
Founded in 1894, UPMC McKeesport offers 216 beds for acute care patients and 56 beds for patients who need skilled nursing care. Located at 1500 Fifth Ave, the hospital joined the UPMC network in April, 1998. In addition to an Intensive Care Unit and Cardiac Care Unit, the hospital offers ongoing rehabilitation and educational programs to patients with cardiac, neurologic, and orthopaedic diagnoses. A new, state-of-the-art emergency room opened in December 1999.
Surrounding and adjacent communities
- Dravosburg (across the Monongahela River, via W.D. Mansfield Memorial Bridge)
- Duquesne (across the Monongahela River, via McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge)
- Port Vue
- White Oak
- North Versailles (borders McKeesport's Highland Grove section to the north)
- Renziehausen Park Rose Garden and Arboretum
- Penn State University - Greater Allegheny Campus
- McKeesport Area High School
- Great Allegheny Passage Trail
- Dead Man's Hollow
- Steel Valley Trail
- Youghiogheny River Trail
- St Mary's German Church
- McKeesport National Bank
- Cox's Department Store
- Carnegie Free Library
- Jerome Street Bridge
- McKeesport Marina
Actors and broadcasters
- Grover Dale, actor, dancer, choreographer, director
- Aline MacMahon, Oscar-nominated actress
- Tamara Tunie, actress
Musicians and artists
- Byron Janis, pianist
- Henrietta Leaver, Miss America 1935
- Duane Michals, photographer
- Sam Sneed, music producer and rapper
- Jerry Tachoir, jazz vibraphone and marimba player
- Robert Edward Franklin, painter and photographer
- Bob Carroll, Jr., television screenwriter noted for his work on I Love Lucy
- Marc Connelly, playwright
- John Hoerr, journalist and author of And the Wolf Finally Came: The Decline of the American Steel Industry
- David Kalstone, writer and literary critic
- Robert M. McBride, writer and publisher
- George Marcus, anthropologist
- Merrill Singer, anthropologist
- Herbert Spiegel, psychiatrist, "father of hypnosis"
- Jeff Kline, 2 time winner of the 24hrs of Daytona, 3 time winner of the Sebring 12hr.
- Tim Conroy, former major league pitcher
- Brian Holton, former MLB relief pitcher
- Rick Krivda, MLB pitcher and 2000 Olympic gold medalist
- Tom Qualters, former MLB pitcher
- Bill Robinson, former MLB outfielder and coach
- Gary Ross, former MLB pitcher
- Jim Beirne, former AFL/NFL wide receiver~Houston Oilers (1968-1973,1976)~San Diego Chargers (1974-1975)
- Maurice Leggett, former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback
- Mike Logan, former Pittsburgh Steelers safety
- Bob Long, former NFL wide receiver~Green Bay Packers (1964-1967)~Atlanta Falcons (1968)~Washington Redskins (1969)~Los Angeles Rams (1970)
- Bill Miller, former AFL wide receiver~Dallas Texans (1962)~Buffalo Bills (1963)~Oakland Raiders (1964-1968)
- George Mrkonic, football player for the University of Kansas
- Brandon Short, former NFL linebacker~New York Giants (2000-2003,2006)~Carolina Panthers (2004-2005)
- Jim Trimble, former NFL and CFL head football coach
Politicians and governmental leaders
- Queen Alliquippa, leader of the Seneca tribe of American Indians during the early part of the 18th century
- Frank Buchanan, former mayor of McKeesport and member of the United States House of Representatives, husband of Vera Buchanan
- Vera Buchanan, former member of the United States House of Representatives, wife of Frank Buchanan
- William Henry Coleman, former member of the United States House of Representatives
- Marc Gergely, Pennsylvania state representative
- John E. McLaughlin, former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence
- Bill Shuster, member of the United States House of Representatives
- Donald M. Carpenter, aviator in the U.S. Navy
- Franklin J. Phillips, also known as Harry Fisher, United States Marine and Medal of Honor recipient
Business and industry
- Helen Richey, first woman pilot of a commercial airliner
- Robert J. Stevens, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lockheed Martin
The Carnegie Free Library of McKeesport, built in 1902
The Jerome Street Bridge (aka Lysle Blvd or 5th Avenue Bridge)
Sign along Youghiogheny River Trail
Notes and references
- "Race, Hispanic or Latino, Age, and Housing Occupancy: 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File (QT-PL), McKeesport city, Pennsylvania". U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder 2. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
- "History". mckeesport.org. Archived from the original on 2007-03-24. Retrieved 2007-05-12.
- "McKeesport on the move", Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), September 27, 1984
- "Brownfield sites get $8M for redevelopment", Business Times (Pittsburgh, PA), October 13, 2005
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Climate Summary for McKeesport, Pennsylvania
- "Weatherbase.com". Weatherbase. 2013. Retrieved on October 24, 2013.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder, retrieved 2009-10-23
- "McKeesport's International Village". Retrieved July 8, 2013.
- Obituaries, The New York Times, Jan. 10, 2010
- City of McKeesport official website
- McKeesport Police Department official website
- McKeesport Marina official website
- Historic Pittsburgh Map Collections