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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 sauce.
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.
- 1750's - Seneca Indians (also known as the Mingos) inhabit
the region. Virginia and Pennsylvania claim the territory.
The dispute is not resolved until after the Revolutionary
- 1784 - The State of Pennsylvania purchases land north of
the Allegheny River.
- 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 Get Go and S & T Bank now stand.
- 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 the "countryside."
- 1860-1870's - The Allegheny City Poor House and County Workhouse
are erected in the area. Oil storage and an oil refinery plant
are established along the Allegheny River during the Pennsylvania
- 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
- 1892 - Aspinwall separates from O'Hara.
- 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 this area.
- 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 Get Go and S &
T Bank, and the carousel at National Park.
- 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
- April 7, 1931 - A zoning committee is formed and the ordinance
- 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 1939.
- 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 noncontiguous sections.
- 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
- 1964 - The RIDC Park opens in O'Hara Township, and again,
spurs population growth.
- 1970's - In spite of the decline in average family and household
sizes, housing units in the Township continue to increase.
- 1980's -The RIDC park expands and is home to over 100 companies
employing over 8,000 people.