History

Information extracted from Wikipedia

HOMESTEAD, PA- Homestead Works Pump House

The area on the south bank of the Monongahela River now comprising the boroughs of Homestead, Munhall, Whitaker, and West Homestead saw the first white settlers arrive in the 1770s. Homestead was chartered in 1880. The building of a railroad, glass factory, and in 1881 the first iron mill began a period of rapid growth and prosperity. In 1883, Andrew Carnegie bought out Homestead Steel Works, adding it to his empire of steel and coke enterprises
Homestead gained international notoriety in July 1892 as the site of a violent clash between locked-out steelworkers and hired Pinkerton guards, known as the Homestead Strike. The “Battle of Homestead,” as the event came to be known, represented a stunning setback for unionization in the steel industry
In 1940, 19,041 people lived in Homestead. During the early 1940s half the population was displaced as the United States government added to the steel mills to have the capacity for armor plating for ships and tanks (preparing for World War II). After the end of the war, a decline in the steel-making industry of the United States took place. In 1984, the mill closed and the Homestead Works was demolished, replaced in 1999 by The Waterfront Shopping Center.

WHITAKER FLYOVER BRIDGE & COKE GAS PIPELINE

This bridge was constructed for the trail. It crosses the rail yard so the trail could travel along what was previously a pipeline that delivered coke oven gas to the Steel Valley mills from the Clairton Coke Works.
On 2010 the railroad shut down for four hours so the bridge could be erected across the tracks. One of our members (thank you Paul) created videos of the erection process over the tracks.
On August 18, 2010 one of the ramps to the Whitaker Flyover was erected. One of our members (thank you Paul) created videos of the ramp erection.

whitaker

BRADDOCK, PA- Braddock’s Field Historic Site (across the river)

The Braddock expedition, also called Braddock’s campaign or, more commonly, Braddock’s Defeat, was a failed British military expedition which attempted to capture the French Fort Duquesne (modern-day downtown Pittsburgh) in the summer of 1755 during the French and Indian War. It was defeated at the Battle of the Monongahela on July 9, and the survivors retreated. The expedition takes its name from General Edward Braddock, who led the British forces and died in the effort. Braddock’s defeat was a major setback for the British in the early stages of the war with France and has been described as one of the most disastrous defeats for the British in the 18th century
Braddock’s Field also was the site of a rally of rebellious militiamen and farmers during the Whiskey Rebellion, prior to a massive march on of Pittsburgh on August 1, 1794
The Braddock Carnegie Library is the first Carnegie Library in the United States.

EDGAR THOMSON WORKS (across the river)

On January 1, 1873, ground work began on the Edgar Thomson Steel Works. In 2005, the mill produced 2.8 million tons of steel, equal to 28% of U.S. Steel’s domestic production. The mill employs about 900 persons, some of whom are the second or third generations of their families to work in the mill. In April 1995, the mill was designated a historic landmark by ASM International, a society that honors works of structural engineering. Other structures honored by the society are the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower.

KENNYWOOD PARK

The park first opened in 1898 as a “trolley park” attraction at the end of the Mellon family’s Monongahela Street Railway. This traditional amusement park still has structures and rides dating back to its opening and the early 1900s. It is one of only two amusement parks listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The trail is on a shelf in the hill below Kennywood Park and above the Norfolk Southern RR. This area is prone to landslides and is the most expensive section of the Steel Valley Trail to maintain.

PORT PERRY FLYOVER BRIDGE

This is the second bridge constructed to get the trail past the rail yards. The town of Port Perry was actually across the river where Turtle Creek joins the Monongahela. The town was gone by 1945 due to expansion of the mill and rail lines. At one time this was the busiest railroad junction in the world.

DUQUESNE WATERFALL

See if you can locate the Thompson Run waterfall. It is to your left as you come down the ramp from the Port Perry Bridge next to the pipe storage yard. Once leaves are on the trees, it may be tough to see, but it can still be heard.

DUQUESNE, PA

The borough of Duquesne was settled in 1789 and incorporated in 1891.
Duquesne Works, a productive steel mill that was part of Carnegie Steel Corporation and later part of U.S. Steel, was the heart and soul of Duquesne during its brightest moments in the early 20th century. Duquesne was home to the largest blast furnace in the world, named “Dorothy Six”. Bob Dylan´s song Duquesne Whistle (Tempest, 2012) is dedicated to it.

RIVERTON BRIDGE

This large bridge between Duquesne and McKeesport was built for the Union Railroad in 1896. It was donated to the Regional Trail Council to be used for the trail by US Steel. Happy 125th Birthday Riverton Bridge!

MCKEESPORT, PA

Around the time of the French and Indian Wars, George Washington often came to the McKeesport area to visit his friend, Queen Alliquippa, a Seneca Indian ruler.
In 1795, David McKee built a log cabin near the confluence of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers. After taking over his father’s local river ferry business, John McKee devised a plan for a city to be called McKee’s Port. McKeesport began to grow in 1830 when coal mining began. 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.

GLASSPORT, PA

The town was built around a mill called The United States Glass Co. that chose that site in 1894. The factory came to be known as “the Glass House”. Other industries soon followed. The area was originally laid out in a plot plan by the Glassport Land Co., a subsidiary of the United States Glass Co.
Glassport received its name after the Glassport Land Company.
The United States Glass Company was located near the Monongahela River on Seventh Street. The company specialized in “pressed glass,” tableware, and other glass products made from molds. Unfortunately, in 1963 the United States Glass Company was damaged by a tornado, and their 80-foot water tower collapsed through the building’s roof. When the high winds did this, all the furnaces shut down and the liquid glass cooled and hardened. Afterwards there was left a 250 ton block of solid glass, making any plans to re-build too costly.

CLAIRTON, PA

Clairton’s existence began just after the turn of the 20th century when the Crucible Steel Company acquired a large tract along the west side of the Monongahela River, about 13 miles south of Pittsburgh. Soon after, the Carnegie Steel Company (later U.S. Steel) built an integrated steel mill and coke production facility, which eventually became one of the worlds largest.
On April 12, 1903, Clairton was incorporated as a borough, and on January 1, 1922, Clairton was incorporated as a City of the Third Class with a population of approximately 11,000.
During the next several decades, growth and advancement indicated a thriving city. As the steel mill and coke production facilities expanded, the population of Clairton grew. Clairton took on a life of its own, including a business district and educational, religious, and cultural facilities. Clairton’s population peaked in the late 1950s.