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Below, we have highlighted some significant dates & time periods in our history:
O'Hara Township's history can be traced back to the
mid-18th century. From then until now, it has been home to Native
Americans, U.S. Senators, military men, farmers, oilmen, and
The O’Hara Township history book,
"Portrait of an American Community" is now available.
The book is the story of how O’Hara Township evolved
from frontier land to a modern community and is packed with
information and photographs unique to the Township and surrounding
communities. In addition to portraits of many personalities,
there are stories about the Veteran’s Hospital; Blawnox
Company; the Allegheny County Workhouse; the Poorhouse; the
Pittsburgh area’s first municipal airfield and first
industrial park; plus a local restaurant’s secret barbecue
The book is now available at the Township
office for $42.75 including tax (check or money order only).
Books are also available at the Heinz History Center Bookstore
located at 1212 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh or from Mechling
Bookbindery on-line at www.mechlingbooks.com
(click on Bookstore, then search O’Hara) or by calling 1-800-941-3735.
- 1784- The State of Pennsylvania purchases land north of the Allegheny River:ia
and Pennsylvania claim the territory. The dispute is not resolved until after
the Revolutionary War.
- 1788- Allegheny County is formed. Present-day O'Hara
Township is part of Pitt Township which included what is now the Greater
- 1794- James O'Hara purchases land in present day O'Hara at a
sheriff's sale. The tract included land between what is now the Boy Scout Camp
to the Allegheny River.
- 1797- The area's first settler, James Powers, who
probably arrived in the area around
- 1785, purchases a Depreciation land lot
along with his brother Thomas in order to stake a legal claim. His decedents
continue to live in the area.
- 1803-1837- U.S. Senator James Ross acquires lands
extending from present-day Aspinwall to the former County Workhouse in O'Hara.
In 1820, he establishes his estate the "Meadows" where Fox Chapel Village now
- 1805- Pitt Township is divided. Indiana Township is created and included
lands which will become the following areas : Aspinwall, Blawnox, Fox Chapel,
O'Hara, Harmar, Indiana, Shaler, and portions of Sharpsburg, Hampton, and East
and West Deer.
- 1829- Pennsylvania Mail Line Canal helps settle the northern side
of the Allegheny River, including our area, by sustaining grist mills, logging
camps, and farms along the canal.
- 1850-1870's- The Western Division of the
Pennsylvania Railroad purchases the canal rights. Trains begin to replace the
canals spurring further population growth by allowing easier transportation to
- 1860-1870's- The Allegheny City Poor House and County
Workhouse are erected in the area. Oil storage and an oil refinery plants are
established along the Allegheny River during the Pennsylvania oil boom.
- June 8,
1875- Allegheny County divides Indiana Township, resulting in three
municipalities : O'Hara, Indiana, and Harmar. O'Hara includes present-day
O'Hara, Aspinwall, Blawnox, and Fox Chapel. 1892- Aspinwall separates from
- 1902-1908- The City of Pittsburgh constructs a water filtration plant on
the former site of an H.J. Heinz cabbage farm and sauerkraut factory. It annexed
the land for "water supply, distribution, and filtration plant purposes." The
Waterworks Mall, St. Margaret Hospital, and the water plant currently occupy
- 1910's- Our community strengthens through the growth of John F. Casey
construction company and Blaw-Knox manufacturing company. Oil drilling booms in
Western Pennsylvania, and several area residents try their luck with moderate
success. Trains, and later streetcars, bring picnickers to the "country." They
enjoy strolls through Ross Grove, now Fox Chapel Plaza, and the carousel at
- May 1911- John Kowalsky of Verona is the first local to build and
fly an airplane. His experimental flights took place on the future site of
Rodgers Field. A more successful flight took place later that year in September
- 1925- Blawnox separates from O'Hara June 5, 1925- Rodger Field (near Fox Chapel
Area High School) is dedicated and was Pittsburgh's municipal airport until the
Allegheny County Airport was opened in 1931.
- 1928- National Park opens featuring
the "Thunderbolt" roller coaster and many other amusement rides. It was located
between Oak Hill Manor and the County Workhouse.
- 1930- In response to a proposed
dog track and water park near National Park, the Fox Chapel District
Association, a citizens group, petitions O'Hara Township to enact a zoning
- Apr. 7, 1931- A zoning committee is formed and the ordinance is
passed. May 29, 1932- The charismatic radio priest, Fr. James R. Cox, opens
"Coxtown" a planned community built to house victims of the Great Depression. It
was located on Calmwood Road. The venture failed and the property was sold by
- Jan. 1933- The Fox Chapel District Association recommends the formation of
a separate borough.
- Aug. 9, 1934- Allegheny County Court orders the
incorporation of Fox Chapel Borough.
- 1940-1951- In the midst if the post-World
War II and suburban booms, surrounding areas petition to be annexed into Fox
Chapel. The result is O'Hara's unique present-day configuration : five
- 1960's- The Allegheny Valley Expressway, Route 28, and
local interchanges provide quicker access to Pittsburgh and neighboring
employment centers. O'Hara Township's Municipal Building, two Junior High
Schools and the Senior High School are dedicated. 1964- RIDC Park opens in
O'Hara Township, and again, spurs population growth.
- 1970's- In spite if the
decline in average family and household sizes, housing units in the Township
continue to increase.
- 1980's- St. Margaret Memorial Hospital opens its 267 bed
facility and the Waterworks Mall opens. RIDC park expands and is home to over
100 companies employing over 8,000 people.