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Etna Borough

History - Etna Borough

General Wilkins was the original owner of a large tract of land at the mouth of Pine Creek, embracing the present site of Etna borough. David Anderson purchased the land from him, and laid it off into streets and lots. Early in its history it received the name of Stewardstown, from David Stewart, an active citizen, and one of the first after Wilkins.

The manufacturing of scythes and sickles was begun n 1820 on the site of Spang, Chalfant & Co.'s works. H. S. Sprang purchased this primitive establishment in 1828, and adapted it to to the rolling of bar-iron. In 1874, Spang Company laid seventeen miles of iron pipe from Etna to Butler for natural gas conveyance, an event of historic significance. This firm had significant impact on the local economy until its closure in 1959.

After its incorporation in 1868, Etna continued to serve as an industrial nexus, spurred by the construction of rails, streetcar routes, and the road that is now Route 8. After World War II, improvements were made to the road, encouraging new industrial development. It is bordered on three sides by Shaler Township, by the Allegheny River to the south and it abuts the Borough of Sharpsburg to the southeast. Grant Avenue, Pine Creek and highways carve this community into small neighborhoods. Industrial structures dominate the area next to the river. There is a small business district along Butler Street, which features houses and structures from the turn-of-the-century and earlier.


Millvale Borough  

History - Millvale Borough

Millvale was incorporated by act of assembly February 13, 1868, from a part of Shaler Township and that part of the borough of Duquesne not included in the limits of Allegheny City (now a part of the City of Pittsburgh) by the act of consolidation of March 12, 1867. The latter was created by act of the legislature from Reserve Township on April 5, 1849. The site of the town was originally owned by John Sample. In September, 1844, he sold one hundred sixty-four acres to the poor directors of Allegheny City, by whom it was converted into a farm for the care of the poor of the city. The necessity of providing accomodations for the increasing class of persons intended to be benefited influenced the directors to secure a location farther distant from the city, for which legislative sanction was secured in 1867. The farm was accordingly laid out into streets and lots, the sale of which took place September 4, 1867. The population in 1870 was 668 and in 1880 nearly tripled to 1824.

The Millvale Rolling-mills, Graff, Bennet & Co., proprietors, were erected in 1863, burned in 1881, rebuilt in 1882, and enlarged in 1887. These works employed the larger part of the working people of Millvale and formed the basis of its prosperity.

Millvale is bisected by Girty's Run, which seperates two hillsides serving as residential areas. The industrial sector traces the riverside portion of the borough along Route 28. Grant and North Avenues form the commercial section running through the middle of the borough.

Millvale is bordered on the west by the City of Pittsburgh and Reserve Township and to the north and east by Shaler Township.


Reserve Township

History - Reserve Township

This area's name was derived from the Depreciation Land settlement of 3,000 acres north of the Allegheny and Ohio rivers "reserved" for veterans of the Revolutionary War. Throughout much of its history, however, this land has been reserved for specific purposes connected with its proximity to Allegheny City. Reserve Township was incorporated from Ross Township in 1835, and spent many years trying to establish and protect its boundaries.

Reserve became known for its truck farms, which fed into the farmer's markets on the North Side neighborhood of the City of Pittsburgh. Prominent business and civic leaders took advantage of its lofty elevation, scenic views and breezes to establish summer retreats in the area. A great deal of the land was given to twelve cemeteries that occupy many of the steep hillsides. Residential areas grew up mainly along the relatively level ridge at the highest elevation. In more recent years, suburban housing has supplemented the old greenhouses and country estates, but its steep terrain, twisting roads and distance from major access routes have isolated and preserved much of this area.

Reserve Township is bordered to the north by Shaler Township and Ross Township, to the south by Shaler Township and Millvale Borough and to the west by the City of Pittsburgh.


Shaler Township

History - Shaler Township

Shaler Township was established from portions of Ross and Indiana Townships, and on March 20, 1845, a petition to form a new township was presented to the Court of Quarter Sessions, whereupon Col. James A. Gibson, Alexander V. Brackenridge and John Murray were appointed as viewers. Under date of June 10, 1845, they reported in favor of the change, and on March 20, 1847, the new township was confirmed by decree of court under the name of Marion; but on the same day was changed to Shaler, to honor Judge Charles Shaler.

The earliest settle was a Revolutionary War soldier by the name of James Sample, who received payment for his services at the end of the war in land. His tract was located near the mouth of Girty's Run. The first mill in the township, and probably the first north of the Allegheny River was build by James Sample, and rebuilt in 1797.

John Shaw, from whom Glenshaw is named, settled on Pine Creek in 1803. His son, Thomas Wilson Shaw, established coal mining in the region and was instrumental in the construction of the railroads and Butler Plank Road. Coal mines, ice houses and a brewery flourished here until the turn of the century; but Route 8 became the site of an experimental, exclusive housing development for wealthy citizens, while Shalercrest grew up in the 1940's as a "defense housing" project.

The Township of Shaler is the dominant municipality in the District, comprising 10.5 of the District's 14.40 square miles. Shaler Township also accounts for approximately 70% of the District's population and approximately 75% of the market value of the property within the District. Shaler Township has experienced rapid growth since 1940, and has experience a significant population increase between 1940 and 1990. It is estimated that the Township is 80% developed.

Shaler Township is bordered on the north by Hampton Township, on the east by O'Hara and Indiana Townships, on the south by Etna Borough and to the west by Millvale Borough and Ross Township.
District Map
1800 Mt. Royal Boulevard     Glenshaw, PA. 15116     P 412-492-1200     F 412-492-1236
1800 Mt. Royal Boulevard Glenshaw, PA. 15116 P 412-492-1200 F 412-492-1236
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