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Below, we have highlighted some significant dates & time periods in our history:

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 business people. 

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 War.
  • 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 Pittsburgh area.
  • 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 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 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 ordinance.
  • April 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 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 are dedicated.
  • 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.
Information on the O'Hara Township website is provided as a service to the community. Township rules and regulations are subject to change and the information on this web site should be considered as general guidance only. While the Township attempts to post current and useful information, not all information may be complete, accurate or up to date. In general, inquiries (including reference to official documents) can and should be made to the Township before proceeding with plans or programs.