Facts about Brunot Island

history of Brunot Island

Brunot Island is an island located in the Ohio River at the West End of the city. It got its name from Dr. Felix Brunot. Dr. Brunot settled into the island with his extended family in the 1700s. He was a French surgeon who practiced in Pittsburgh. The family actually hosted Lewis and Clark on the island during their famed adventure in the summer of 1803. From 1903 until 1914, the island housed the Brunots Island Race Track. The race track was one mile and was the site of a race won by Louis Chevrolet (yes, the car guy!). A massive flood in 1811 wiped out Brunot’s estate and by 1819, he ended up selling the island. It then became farmland until 1894. In 1894, George Westinghouse bought the island and built an electrical plant there.

history of Brunot Island

The plant, the Brunot Island Generating Station, has employees enter using a pedestrian walkway on a railroad bridge. The path isn’t accessible to the public. While the railroad bridge, the Ohio Connecting Railroad Bridge, crosses the Ohio River at the island, it’s not connected to land at all and those who wish to visit have to use a ferry.

The history of Brunot Island, while not extensive, is yet another piece of the Pittsburgh puzzle.

7 thoughts on “Brunot Island”

  1. I remember when the entire downriver side of the island was covered with “mountains” of cinders. There was a truck ferry that ran between the island and McKees Rocks. Trucks would haul loads of cinders from the island to spread on roads during the winter.

    1. that truck ferry was called the cinderella the plant converted to oil fired then natural gas before closing

  2. Jeannie Secoli McOwen

    I have been really enjoying all of the Pittsburgh posts. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh. My entire family lives there so I o back as often as possible. I am a history buff so I can not express how much I enjoy this site. Thank you so much.

  3. Jan Disterhoft

    Born and raised in the burg, now in Fort Wayne In. There is no place like home.

  4. Patricia McCutchen

    My husband worked on the island for 4 yrs doing electrical work in the large building.

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