The town's tree-lined streets lie in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, 30 miles west of the Allegheny River's headwaters.
Originally known as Canoe Place, the town’s name was changed to Port Allegany in 1838.
The town developed as a port on the Allegheny River, and provided a place where travelers coming overland from the Susquehanna River could continue by boat.
Lumber and tanning industries grew, and a railway later passed through the town.
In the 1800s natural gas was discovered in the area, which led to the expansion of industries including glass firms, chemical plants, cheese factories, machine shops, brick plants, sawmills, planing mills, tanneries and furniture factories.
Today, Port Allegany is best known for its glass manufacturing. Located here are Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, the only producer of glass blocks in the United States, as well as Saint-Gobain, a glass container producer.