McKeesport, Pennsylvania

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Marshall Township, Pennsylvania
McKeesport City Hall, built circa 1890
McKeesport City Hall, built circa 1890
Tube City
Location in Allegheny County and the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.
Location in Allegheny County and the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.
Coordinates: 40°20′38″N 79°50′56″W / 40.34389°N 79.84889°W / 40.34389; -79.84889Coordinates: 40°20′38″N 79°50′56″W / 40.34389°N 79.84889°W / 40.34389; -79.84889
CountryUnited States
Incorporated (borough)September 3, 1842
Founded byJohn McKee
 • MayorMichael Cherepko (D)
 • Total5.41 sq mi (14.02 km2)
 • Land5.04 sq mi (13.06 km2)
 • Water0.37 sq mi (0.95 km2)
760 ft (230 m)
 • Total19,731
 • Estimate 
 • Density3,820.98/sq mi (1,475.21/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
Zip Code
Area Code412
FIPS code42-46256

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 metropolitan area. The population was 19,731 at the 2010 census.[3] By population, it is Allegheny County's second-largest city, after Pittsburgh.

Established in 1795 and named in honor of David McKee, McKeesport remained a village until 1830 when coal mining began of the large deposits of bituminous coal in the region.

Originally part of Versailles Township, 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.


Early history[edit]

David McKee emigrated from Scotland and was the first permanent white settler at the forks of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny Rivers, the site of present-day McKeesport, in 1755. The Colonial Government granted to him exclusive right of ferrage over those rivers on April 3, 1769, called "McKee's Port "[4]

His son, John McKee, an original settler of Philadelphia, built a log cabin at this location. After taking over his father's local river ferry business, he devised a plan for a city to be called McKee's Port in 1795.[5] 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 used 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.[6] 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.[7][8]

Kennedy-Nixon debate[edit]

Three years before both faced off in some of the most memorable televised Presidential debates, future presidents (and contemporary U.S. Representatives) Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy met in McKeesport for their first of five debates on April 22, 1947, to debate labor issues related to the Taft-Hartley Act.[9]


McKeesport is located at 40°20′38″N 79°50′56″W / 40.34389°N 79.84889°W / 40.34389; -79.84889 (40.343919, -79.848844).[10] McKeesport is about 12 miles (19 km) upstream from (south of) Pittsburgh, at the confluence of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers.

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 "Dfa" on climate maps.[11]

Climate data for McKeesport, Pennsylvania
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 4
Daily mean °C (°F) −1
Average low °C (°F) −6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 69
Source: Weatherbase [12]

Demographics and culture[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201619,273[2]−2.3%

The population has fallen to little more than a third of its wartime high, with the 2010 census recording fewer than twenty thousand residents in contrast to the fifty-five thousand of 1940.

As of the census[16] 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.[18]

Health care[edit]

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.

Law, Government and Politics[edit]


McKeesport operates under a Home Rule Charter based on a “Strong Mayor”/Council form of government, adopted in 1974.


Under the Home Rule Charter, the Mayor is elected at large and cannot be a member of the City Council. The Mayor serves as the leader of the City government, and is vested exclusive executive and administrative authority. Under the Home Rule Charter, the Mayor may appoint a Deputy Mayor from among the department executives.[19]

The current Mayor of McKeesport is Democrat Michael Cherepko, a former City Councilman and McKeesport Area School District teacher, He was elected in 2011, defeating Independent candidate Raymond Malinchak and was re-elected for a second term, commencing in January 2016. Mayors assume office in the January following election.

Mayor's Committees[edit]

Mayor's Committees were first developed in their current form by Michael Cherepko and serve as advisory bodies with no formal powers.

The Select Committee on Crime and Violence was formed in 2012, responsible for addressing the problems of crime and violence by utilizing resources and seeking funding for youth and adult initiatives.[20] The McKeesport Message Committee was subsequently developed as a subgroup to promote the city's message of "Respect, Dignity, Hope, and Love" which encourages residents' pride in the city. This subgroup promotes this through community and school engagement and creative marketing.[21] The Mayor's Committee on Community Issues was formed in 2014, responsible for providing dialogue between McKeesport residents, the Mayor's Office and other city departments.

City Council[edit]

The McKeesport City Council consists of seven individuals elected “at large” for staggered four‐ year terms. A President and Vice President is elected among themselves. The Council acts as the legislative body and is responsible for establishing policy through the adoption of ordinances, resolutions, or motions.  Most government action and legislative authority in City government rests with the City Council, as well as the confirmation of certain appointments by the Mayor.[19]


Presidential Elections Results[22][23]
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2016 33% 2,416 65% 4,774 2% 180
2012 28% 2,093 71% 5,358 1% 54

Law Enforcement[edit]

The McKeesport Police Department is one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in the region, presently employing 52 sworn officers, and is one of the few departments in Allegheny County with its own detective bureau and traffic division.[24] The Detective Bureau consists of 4 specialist investigative divisions; Juvenile, Narcotics, Computer Crimes, and Criminal. It operates closely with the Allegheny County Police Department, which provides investigative and forensic services for serious crimes such as homicide. The department participates in various Crime Prevention Programs including D.A.R.E. and operates McKeesport River Rescue in conjunction with the McKeesport Fire Department and McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Service.

Surrounding and adjacent communities[edit]

McKeesport has five land borders, including North Versailles to the north-northeast, White Oak to the east, and Versailles to the south. The section west of the Monongahela River/Youghiogheny River confluence is bordered by Port Vue to the south and Glassport to the southwest. Across the Monongahela River to the north, McKeesport runs adjacent with Duquesne (direct connection via McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge), West Mifflin, and Dravosburg (direct connection via W.D. Mansfield Memorial Bridge). Across the Youghiogheny River to the west, McKeesport runs adjacent with another section of Port Vue (direct connection via 15th Street Bridge), Liberty, and Elizabeth Township.


Notable people[edit]

Actors and broadcasters[edit]

Musicians and artists[edit]




Auto Racing[edit]





Politicians and governmental leaders[edit]

Military heroes[edit]

Business and industry[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

McKeesport appears briefly in the Marvel comic Dark Reign: Zodiac#1.

The 2009 novel Monongahela Dusk, by John Hoerr, is set in 1940s McKeesport.

The Netflix series Mindhunter used downtown McKeesport as 1977 Sacramento, California.[26]


See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Aug 13, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Archived from the original on May 29, 2017. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  3. ^ "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. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  4. ^ "David McKee 1710-1795". Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  5. ^ "The Founding of McKeesport". Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  6. ^ "History". Archived from the original on March 24, 2007. Retrieved May 12, 2007.
  7. ^ "McKeesport on the move", Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, PA, September 27, 1984
  8. ^ "Brownfield sites get $8M for redevelopment", Business Times, Pittsburgh, PA, October 13, 2005, archived from the original on November 11, 2013
  9. ^[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Archived from the original on March 12, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  11. ^ "McKeesport, Pennsylvania Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase. Archived from the original on April 3, 2016. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  12. ^ "". Weatherbase. 2013. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved on October 24, 2013.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 27, 2010. Retrieved June 23, 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 5, 2010. Retrieved June 23, 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on October 16, 2010. Retrieved July 12, 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  17. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on November 20, 2013. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  18. ^ "McKeesport's International Village". Archived from the original on July 14, 2013. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
  19. ^ a b "McKeesport Early Intervention Plan Step IV" (PDF).
  20. ^ "Mayor's Select Committee on Crime & Violence | McKeesport, PA". Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  21. ^ "McKeesport Message Committee | McKeesport, PA". Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  22. ^ EL. "2012 Allegheny County election". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on October 16, 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  23. ^ EL. "2016 Pennsylvani general election..." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on September 21, 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  24. ^ "Pennsylvania". FBI. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  25. ^ Obituaries, The New York Times, January 10, 2010
  26. ^ "TV Series Filming in City; Will Close Lysle Blvd. - Tube City Almanac". Retrieved 2018-11-19.

External links[edit]