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.
- Extraction and Industry
- Social Action
- Urban Context
Regional | Urban Context -- Until the early 17th century
The areas around Pittsburgh were settled by Native American cultures for thousands of years prior to European contact.
Regional | Urban Context 1754-1763
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 | Social Action 1755
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 | Social Action 1794
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.
Local | Extraction & Industry 1835
The first coal mine was opened in the area that later became North Braddock, near Sixth street.
Regional | Extraction & Industry 1854
The Pennsylvania Rail Company, established in 1846, completed the first all-rail route connecting Philadelphia to Pittsburgh in 1854.
Local | Urban Context 1867
The borough of Braddock was incorporated on June 8, 1867.
Regional | Policy 1868
The first air pollution ordinance in Pittsburgh was passed in 1868, though it made little impact on Pittsburgh's air quality.
Local | Extraction & Industry 1873
The Edgar Thomson Works was built along the Monongahela River by Carnegie, McCandless & Company.
Local | Extraction & Industry 1879
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.
Regional | Extraction & Industry 1883
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.
Regional | Social Action 1886
The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was founded in 1886 by groups of skilled workers under the leadership of Samuel Gompers.
Regional | Social Action 1892
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.
Local | Extraction & Industry 1901
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.
Local | Social Action 1913
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 | Social Action 1919
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.
Regional | Social Action 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 | Urban Context 1993
Local investors decided to open a golf course on the current 160-acre Matta Hill. The hillside once served as a slag dump site.
Local | Social Action 2001
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 | Social Action 2009
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 | Policy 2014
In May 2014, the North Braddock council passed the new zoning ordinance, which prohibited the gas drilling on the Grand View Golf Club.
Local | Extraction & Industry 2017
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 2021
On April.23th, 2021, Merrion Oil & Gas Corp announced to end the proposed shale gas well project at Edgar Thomson Plant.