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Braddock, PA

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Braddock, PA

Carnegie Library in the United States.
Official name: Borough of Braddock
Named for: Edward Braddock
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Allegheny
Elevation 764 ft (233 m)
Coordinates 24|13|N|79|52|7|W|type:city(2159)_region:US-PA name=


Area 0.6 sq mi (1.6 km2)
 - land 0.5 sq mi (1.3 km2)
 - water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Population 2,159 (2010)
Density 3,598.3 / sq mi (1,389.3 / km2)
Settled 1742
 - Incorporated June 8, 1867
Mayor John Fetterman
Timezone EST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 15104
Area code 412
School District Woodland Hills
Location of Braddock in Allegheny County
Location of Braddock in Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the United States
Historical population
Census Pop.

Braddock is a borough located in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, 10 miles (16 km) upstream from the mouth of the Monongahela River. The population was 2,159 at the 2010 census. The borough is represented by the Pennsylvania State Senate's 45th district, the Pennsylvania House of Representative's 34th district, and Pennsylvania's 14th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives.


The town is named for General Edward Braddock (1695–1755). The Braddock Expedition, particularly his crossing of the Monongahela River on July 9, 1755 at this place, led to the British general's own fatal wounding and a sound defeat of his troops who had been moving against the French at Fort Duquesne. This battle, now called the Battle of the Monongahela, was a key beginning in the French and Indian War.


Braddock is located at 40°24′13″N 79°52′7″W / 40.40361°N 79.86861°W / 40.40361; -79.86861.[1]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2), of which, 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (13.85%) is water. Its average elevation is 764 ft (233 m) above sea level.[2]


The area surrounding Braddock's Field was originally inhabited by the Lenape, ruled by Queen Allequippa.[3] In 1742, John Fraser (frontiersman) and his family established the area at the mouth of Turtle Creek as the first permanent settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains.[3] George Washington visited the area in 1753-1754. It was the site of Braddock's Defeat on July 9, 1755.

Braddock's first industrial facility, a barrel plant, opened in 1850.[3] The borough was incorporated on June 8, 1867.[4] The town's industrial economy began in 1873, when Andrew Carnegie built the Edgar Thomson Steel Works on the historic site of Braddock's Field in what is now North Braddock, Pennsylvania. This was the first steel mill using the Bessemer process in America. As of 2010, it continues operation as a part of the United States Steel Corporation. This era of the town's history is best known from the novel Out of This Furnace by Thomas Bell.

Braddock is also the location of the first of Andrew Carnegie's 1,679 (some sources list 1,689) public libraries in the US, designed by William Halsey Wood of Newark, NJ, and dedicated on March 30, 1889. The Braddock Library included a tunnel entrance for Carnegie's millworkers to enter the bathhouse in the basement to clean up before entering the facilities (which originally included billiard tables). An addition in 1893, by Longfellow, Alden and Harlow (Boston & Pittsburgh, successors to H.H. Richardson), added a swimming pool, indoor basketball court, and 964-seat Music Hall that included a Votey pipe organ. The building was rescued from demolition in 1978 by the Braddock's Field Historical Society and is still in use as a public library. The bathhouse has recently been converted to a pottery studio; the Music Hall is currently under restoration.

The early population figures were these: 1890, 8,561; 1900, 15,654; 1910, 19,357; 1920, 20,879; 1940, 18,326. From its peak in the 1920s, Braddock has since lost 90% of its population.[3] During the early 1900s many immigrants settled in Braddock, primarily from Croatia, Slovenia, and Hungary.

Braddock lost its importance with the collapse of the steel industry in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s. This coincided with the crack cocaine epidemic of the early 1980s, and the combination of the two woes nearly destroyed the community. In 1988, Braddock was designated a financially distressed municipality. The entire water distribution system was rebuilt in 1990-1991 at a cost of $4.7 million resulting in a fine system where only 5% of piped water is deemed "unaccounted-for."

Since 2005, colorful mayor John Fetterman has launched a campaign to attract new residents to the area from the artistic and creative communities.[3] He has also initiated various revitalization efforts, including the nonprofit organization Braddock Redux.[5]

Fetterman has appeared in various media, including PBS,[6] The Colbert Report on Comedy Central,[7] CNN, Fox News, and CNBC, and in The New York Times[8] that center on his vision of Braddock's needs. In the UK, The Guardian[9] and the BBC have reported on him.[10] He has also had his own episode on Hulu's original series A Day in the Life.[11]

Since 1974, Braddock resident Tony Buba has made many films centering on Braddock and its industrial decline, including Struggles in Steel. [12] In September 2010, the IFC and Sundance television channels showed the film Ready to Work: Portraits of Braddock produced by Levi Strauss corporation. This film interviews many of the local residents and shows their efforts to revitalize the town.[13]


As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 2,912 people, 1,161 households, and 695 families residing in the borough. The population density was 5,159.9 people per square mile (2,007.7/km²). There were 1,624 housing units at an average density of 2,877.6 per square mile (1,119.7/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 30.12% White, 66.52% African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 0.69% from other races, and 2.30% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.51% of the population.

There were 1,161 households out of which 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 21.4% were married couples living together, 31.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.1% were non-families. 37.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.24.

In the borough the population was spread out with 31.5% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 19.1% from 45 to 64, and 18.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 84.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.1 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $18,473, and the median income for a family was $20,669. Males had a median income of $26,333 versus $19,867 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $13,135. About 34.4% of families and 35.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 54.4% of those under age 18 and 14.5% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people


Further reading

  • Braddock will feature in the upcoming movie adaptation on the novel "The Road"

See also

Pittsburgh portal
  • Braddock's Battlefield History Center


Seen on Ghost Hunters SyFy channel - September 21, 2011 Ghosts of Carnegie Homestead, PA – Carnegie Library

External links

  • Mayor's Site
  • 2005 Pittsburgh City Paper feature story about Braddock including history, interviews with residents and a controversial highway project
  • Pittsburgh City Paper feature story about Braddock's urban decay, and the recent influx of artists drawn to the city by current mayor, John Fetterman
  • New York Times: Braddock, Pa: Rock Bottom for Decades, but Showing Signs of Life
  • Article in the UK's Guardian newspaper about current mayor John Fetterman
  • "CNN
  • The Battle of the Monongahela which took place in Braddock in 1755
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