History of Moon Township
Historic Preservation Plan
Historic Preservation Plan Moon Township's Historic Architectural Review Board and Community Development Department have been working with professional consultants over the past year to complete a Historic Preservation Plan. The work was funded in part by a Keystone Historic Preservation Grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. One of the main goals of the project was to determine which sites and structures in the township have historic value, as opposed to being labeled as old. The consultants undertook a comprehensive field survey over the past spring and summer and after an exhaustive evaluation 147 resources were identified as having local historic value.
Examples include: log cabins, 19th century oil wells and pumps, institutional and commercial buildings, residential homes and 14 neighborhoods. The field survey was a monumental effort making Moon Township one of only a few communities in Southwestern PA to have a comprehensive list of its historic resources. The Preservation Plan is completed and was approved by the Board of Supervisors in March of 2014. Anyone interested in learning more or finding out of their property is included in the inventory may contact Code Administrator Lora Dombrowski at 412-262-1700.
Find out more here: 2014_preservation_plan.pdf
Moon Township has evolved significantly since its beginnings as a farm-based community. As the oldest township in Allegheny County, founded in 1788, Moon Township had a total area of 143 square miles. Some reports indicate that it would take one man on horseback two days to travel from one end of the community to the other. This geographically large township eventually spawned into 55 smaller municipalities, including the current neighboring townships of Fayette, Findlay, Crescent and the borough of Coraopolis.
In its early days, settlers in Moon Township depended heavily on the hunting and farming economy for survival. The excess of farm production at the end of the 18th century brought about a need for industries such as gristmill, sawmill and fulling mill. By 1803, the Industrial Revolution had arrived in Moon Township. The Township continued to experience significant economic growth into the 20th century when roadways and railroads opened up the gates to Moon, making it an attractive place for people to settle and raise their families. Both the Sewickley Bridge, which was originally constructed in 1911, and the Pennsylvania & Lake Erie Railroad contributed significantly to Moon Township’s tremendous population growth.
During World War II, the industrial plants located within Moon Township and the surrounding communities because major suppliers of armor plates and munitions. This boom in production created a great housing need for workers who were stationed at factories in Neville Island and along the Ohio River. Thus, the United States Government built the Mooncrest neighborhood to house such individuals.
Moon Township’s largest percentage of growth came in 1952, when the Greater Pittsburgh Airport was completed, dedicated and opened for business in Moon Township. One year later, construction on the Penn Lincoln Parkway was complete, making the commute to downtown Pittsburgh from Moon Township possible in about 20 minutes. These two large development projects not only contributed to a population increase of 24 percent between 1950 and 1957, but also led to a housing boom that created more than 1,250 homes in a decade-long time span.
The construction of the Greater Pittsburgh Airport, which was later named Pittsburgh International Airport, is perhaps the most significant contributing factor to the economic growth Moon Township experienced. The growth was challenged in the early 1990s, however, when the airport relocated to Findlay Township. At that time, the Moon Township Board of Supervisors developed a forward-thinking plan that would help sustain growth in the Township. Although Moon lost a great source for business development, the Township has continued to experience growth and today is home to a number of high-profile national corporations, including FedEx Ground, GlaxoSmithKline, Eaton Electrical Group, Nova Chemicals, Inc., and Michael Baker Corporation. In addition, Moon Township also serves as the home of Robert Morris University, which has a very strong business curriculum and educates nearly 5,100 students annually.