Place:McKeesport, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United States


Alt namesChristy Parksource: Family History Library Catalog
Coordinates40.344°N 79.849°W
Located inAllegheny, Pennsylvania, United States
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

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.

Settled in 1795 and named in honor of John McKee, its founder, McKeesport remained a village until 1830 when coal mining began in the region. Large deposits of bituminous coal existed.

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.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Early history

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.

Kennedy-Nixon debate

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 McKssport 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 on-duty crew plus McKeesport Police and EMS personnel on scene.

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