Pittsburgh Suburbs: History of Ben Avon

Ben Avon

Ben Avon is a borough in Allegheny County located along the Ohio River. The community’s name means “hill of the waters” and is of Scottish origin. The community was incorporated as its own borough in 1891 after separating from Kilbuck Township. The neighborhood was first linked to downtown Pittsburgh by train. An early home in the area, the Arthur-Johnson House, was built at a bend in the Ohio River. The home was built by a merchant who was looking for a cooler summer home as a respite from the steel industry. The close proximity to the city made the area an ideal place for rich executives to live. A community newspaper circa July 1930 wrote that Ben Avon was the most desirable community to live in all of Allegheny County. In 1928, the construction of Ohio River Boulevard made residents worried that their close-knit neighborhood would change. Since the road was so heavily traveled, it was hard for pedestrians to cross from one side to the other. Ohio River Boulevard is now lined with gas stations, thrift shops, ice cream shops, restaurants and more. The old railroad tracks are still there though as a reminder of another era.


ben avon

There are three borders for the community—Kilbuck Township, Avalon and Emsworth. Ben Avon is also one of the few communities where a community runs adjacent to it (Neville Island/Neville Township). The area has earned excellent marks as a neighborhood on schools, housing, safety and more. As of the 2000 census there were 784 households with 32 percent having children under 18.

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