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Located adjacent to the Edgar Thomson plant, residents of Braddock, North Braddock, East Pittsburgh, and North Versailles have long lived with industrial pollution and its detrimental health effects. This timeline is an attempt to trace the intertwined history of urban and industrial development in the region, situating it within wider currents in regional and national policy, as well as a local history of community action and stewardship against environmental and social injustices.

This timeline is not complete nor comprehensive. As we continue to develop and update it, we invite community members, researchers, activists, workers, and others interested in the history of the Mon Valley to share stories, experiences, suggestions, memories, and ideas so it can really start to function as a people’s history of our neighborhoods. Please reach out and share your story!

Scroll down to view the timeline. You can click on the image or title of any event to learn more.

  • All
  • Type
    • Extraction and Industry
    • Policy
    • Social Action
    • Urban Context
  • Scale
    • Local
    • Regional
  • Local | Social Action 2021
    NBRFOF organizer Edith Abeyta speaks to other NBRFOF members and supporters during a celebration party at the Grand View Golf Course on May 5, 2021, Source: Takumi Davis

    Fracking proposal at Edgar Thomson defeated

    On April 23th, 2021, US Steel announced the end of the proposed shale gas well project at the Edgar Thomson Plant.

  • Local | Extraction & Industry 2017
    Map indicating the proposed fracking site at Edgar Thomson Plant and its two-mile radius which encompasses densely populated areas

    Unconventional drilling sites proposed at Edgar Thomson steel mill

    In November 2017, Merrion Oil & Gas Corp, a New Mexico-based oil and gas producer, proposed to drill six hydraulically fractured horizontal wells on the U.S. Steel Edgar Thomson Plant’s property in Braddock, PA.

  • Local | Social Action 2014
    A view from the Grand View Golf Course to the Edgar Thomson Plant below, a precursor to the golf course's potential future

    NBRFOF formed in response to proposed fracking well in the community

    North Braddock Residents for Our Future group was formed to challenge unconventional gas drilling, fight environmental injustice, and improve community health.

  • Local | Policy 2014
    Partial newspaper clipping about North Braddock council passing the new zoning ordinance with community support, which prohibited the gas drilling on the Grand View Golf Club, May 2014.

    New zoning ordinance prohibited gas drilling

    In May 2014, the North Braddock council passed the new zoning ordinance, which prohibited the gas drilling on the Grand View Golf Club.

  • Local | Social Action 2009
    Protesters at UPMC Braddock fighting for its preservation

    Campaign to Save Braddock Hospital

    Braddock Hospital was a beloved landmark for the people of the community. Its closure was almost universally condemned by the residents and hospital employees.

  • Local | Social Action 2001
    Map showing the extent of the planned Mon-Fayette Expressway and where investors intended to connect it in West Virginia

    Fight against Mon Fayette expressway

    The city proposes the Mon-Fayette Expressway, a controversial highway that would run through most of the city, demolish homes, and split Braddock into two parts.

  • Local | Urban Context 1993
    A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper clipping from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette describing the then-new investment in Matta's Hill

    Matta’s Hill changed into the golf course

    Local investors decided to open a golf course on the current 160-acre Matta Hill. The hillside once served as a slag dump site.

  • Regional | Social Action 1959
    Nationwide steel strike reported by the New York Times on July 15 1959.

    Steel Strike of 1959

    The Steel Strike of 1959, a 116-day labor union strike, had significant effects on domestic steel production and increased the US's reliance on imported steel.

  • Local | Social Action 1919
    The Great Steel Strike of 1919 historical marker, outside of the United Steelworkers Local 1219 in Braddock, Pennsylvania.

    The Great Steel Strike

    In front of the office of the United Steelworkers Local 1219 in Braddock, Pennsylvania, there is a historical marker of The 1919 Great Steel Strike.

  • Local | Social Action 1913
    Braddock General Hospital prior to renovations, Source: The Unwritten History of Braddock's Field

    Braddock General Hospital sought funds

    Citizens living in Braddock and surrounding communities organized a campaign to raise $100,000 to erect additional wings to the existing hospital. A small group of US Steel workers worked hard to raise over $60,000 in one week.

  • Local | Extraction & Industry 1901
    Photo showing the Edgar Thomson Steel Works in the early 1900s. Source: Library of Congress

    Edgar Thomson Plant sold to US Steel

    Andrew Carnegie sold Edgar Thomson Works for $480 million, which equivalents to $12 billion today, to J.P. Morgan’s United State Steel Corporation in 1901.

  • Regional | Social Action 1892
    Illustration of the Homestead Strike, published in Harpers Weekly in 1892.

    Homestead Steel Strike

    In 1892, Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick threatened to cut steelworkers' wages, eventually leading to a violent confrontation between striking workers and private Pinkerton strikebreaking agents.

  • Regional | Social Action 1886
    American Federation of Labor Logo, 1910s.

    The American Federation of Labor founded

    The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was founded in 1886 by groups of skilled workers under the leadership of Samuel Gompers.

  • Regional | Extraction & Industry 1883

    Homestead Steel Works bought by Andrew Carnegie

    In 1883, Andrew Carnegie purchased a recently constructed steel plant in Homestead, which soon became the most important mill in steel empire and the site of anti-union violence during the Homestead Strike.

  • Local | Extraction & Industry 1879

    Reduced working hours at Edgar Thomson.

    Captain William R. Jones, the general manager of the Edgar Thomson mill convinced Andrew Carnegie to reduce the plant’s 12-hour workday to 8 hours; however this change was only temporary.

  • Local | Extraction & Industry 1873
    Edgar Thomson Works. Source: Library Of Congress

    Edgar Thomson Steel Plant established

    The Edgar Thomson Works was built along the Monongahela River by Carnegie, McCandless & Company.

  • Regional | Policy 1868
    Bridge over the Monongahela River (1857). Source: Wikipedia

    First air pollution ordinance in Pittsburgh

    The first air pollution ordinance in Pittsburgh was passed in 1868, though it made little impact on Pittsburgh's air quality.

  • Local | Urban Context 1867
    Map of Braddock (1876). Source: Historic Pittsburgh

    Borough of Braddock incorporated

    The borough of Braddock was incorporated on June 8, 1867.

  • Regional | Extraction & Industry 1854
    Map showing the lines and connections of the Pennsylvania Railroad (c 1893). Source: LOC

    First Rail-Only Route Between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia Established

    The Pennsylvania Rail Company, established in 1846, completed the first all-rail route connecting Philadelphia to Pittsburgh in 1854.

  • Local | Extraction & Industry 1835
    Map indicating deposits and mines of bituminous coal in the area (Created by Works Progress Administration of Pennsylvania (1934). Source: PSU Libraries

    First Coal Mine Opened

    The first coal mine was opened in the area that later became North Braddock, near Sixth street.

  • Regional | Social Action 1794
    Painting of Washington's Militia During the Whiskey Rebellion. Source: Frederick Kemmelmeyer, 1795

    Whiskey Rebellion

    One of the first tests of federal government in the newly formed United States, local farmers revolted and incited the Whiskey Rebellion in protest of a nationally enforced whiskey tax.

  • Regional | Social Action 1755
    Painting of the Battle of Monongahela

    The Battle of the Monongahela or “Braddock’s Defeat”

    The Battle of Mononaghela, located in the heart of Pittsburgh, marked the beginning of the French and Indian War and left the British off to a rocky start with their stunning defeat.

  • Regional | Urban Context 1754-1763

    The French and Indian War

    What started as a battle over 3 forts in the Ohio River Valley led to the outbreak of war in both North America and Europe.

  • Regional | Urban Context -- Until the early 17th century
    Meadowcroft Historical Marker

    Native American History of Pittsburgh

    The areas around Pittsburgh were settled by Native American cultures for thousands of years prior to European contact.

20212017201420142009200119931959191919131901189218861883187918731868186718541835179417551754-1763-- Until the early 17th century