Entrance to Wilkinsburg's municipal building and library
Location in Allegheny County and the state of Pennsylvania
|• Total||2.3 sq mi (6 km2)|
|• Land||2.3 sq mi (6 km2)|
|• Density||6,900/sq mi (2,700/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
Wilkinsburg is a borough in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States adjacent to the city of Pittsburgh. The population was 15,930 at the 2010 census, having lost more than 13,000 in the 70 years since 1940, when 29,853 people were enumerated. The borough was named for John Wilkins, Jr., a United States Army officer who served as Quartermaster General of the United States Army from 1796 to 1802.
Wilkinsburg was founded and developed by highly religious European immigrants. The borough has a remarkably high concentration of churches, mostly Protestant, which is unusual in a predominantly Catholic region of the country. Bars are prohibited within the borough limits. Wilkinsburg separated from the city of Pittsburgh in 1871. According to borough leader James Kelly, this was in order to maintain the religious integrity of the community. Wilkinsburg was known during this time by many as "The Holy City".
In 1916, the world's first commercially licensed radio station, KDKA, began broadcasting here as experimental station 8XK from a small garage owned by Frank Conrad before it was launched with its current call letters on November 2, 1920. In 1923, Wilkinsburg-based Russian immigrant Vladimir Zworykin designed and patented the iconoscope, the photocell "eye" of early television cameras. Today, ABC affiliate WTAE-TV is located in the borough on Ardmore Boulevard.
In more recent years, the borough has become economically depressed. On March 1, 2000, Wilkinsburg received national attention when Ronald Taylor, a man suffering from schizophrenia, killed three people and wounded two others in a spree that occurred in part at the local Burger King and McDonald's restaurants.
Wilkinsburg was home to the infamous Larimer Avenue-Wilkinsburg (LAW) Gang, which was indicted by the federal government under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The indictment started in 1995, when the federal government began to investigate and arrest many people with criminal ties or activities.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 2.3 square miles (6.0 km2), all of it land.
- Penn Hills Township - north
- Churchill - east
- Forest Hills - southeast
- Edgewood - south
- Homewood (Pittsburgh) - west
- Point Breeze (Pittsburgh) - west
- East Hills (Pittsburgh) - west
As of the census of 2000, there were 19,196 people, 9,138 households, and 4,477 families residing in the borough. The population density was 8,335.1 people per square mile (3,222.4/km²). There were 10,696 housing units at an average density of 4,644.3 per square mile (1,795.5/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 29.25% White, 66.51% African American, 0.38% Native American, 0.81% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.55% from other races, and 2.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.13% of the population.
There were 9,138 households out of which 22.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 24.3% were married couples living together, 20.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 51.0% were non-families. 44.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.06 and the average family size was 2.91.
In the borough the population was spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 30.0% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 78.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 72.0 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $26,621, and the median income for a family was $33,412. Males had a median income of $26,813 versus $26,196 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $16,890. About 15.9% of families and 18.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.8% of those under age 18 and 14.2% of those age 65 or over.
Up until September 14, 1975, Wilkinsburg had inter-city passenger rail service. On that day Amtrak discontinued service, citing a total of 128 passengers boarding or alighting in the first six months of 1975, the lowest system-wide. The last train serving Wilkinsburg was the National Limited, which operated daily between New York City and Kansas City, Missouri. The PennDOT-operated Parkway Limited provided commuter service to Pittsburgh for nine months in 1981 but was also canceled because of low ridership.
- Les Biederman (1907-1981), sports writer, columnist and editor for the Pittsburgh Press
- Daniel Carter, jazz musician
- Dick Groat, All-American college basketball player, and shortstop for the 1960 World Series winning Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team
- Amzi D. Harmon (1845-1927), Medal of Honor recipient in the American Civil War
- Bill McKechnie, baseball player and manager
- M. Graham Netting, herpetologist and conservationist
- Edward Ormondroyd, author
- Bunny Yeager, photographer and model
- "Race, Hispanic or Latino, Age, and Housing Occupancy: 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File (QT-PL), Wilkinsburg borough, Pennsylvania". U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder 2. Retrieved September 26, 2011.
- Porter, Thomas J. Jr. (May 10, 1984). "Town names carry a little bit of history". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 1. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
- Article at DigitalDuke
- "RICO Comes to Town", Pittsburgh Business Times (1998)
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "Number of Inhabitants: Pennsylvania" (PDF). 18th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- "Pennsylvania: Population and Housing Unit Counts" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 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.
- "Wilkinsburg Rail Stop To End, Amtrak Says". Pittsburgh Press. September 9, 1975. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- Fisher, Ken (March 3, 1981). "Commuters gear up for Parkway work". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- Bowman, Lee (November 14, 1981). "Riders Bid Farewell To 'Parkway Limited'". Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- "Amzi D. Harmon". Retrieved August 10, 2014.