Homestead is an independent borough located in the Mon Valley just 7 miles southeast of downtown Pittsburgh directly across the Monongahela River and the city line from Squirrel Hill. It is know for the Homestead Strike of 1892, an important event in shaping labor relations in the U.S.
The first settlers arrived in the 1700s, mostly as farmers. About 100 years passed, and most of the existing farmland on the hillsides and flats by the river was purchased and sold by local banks and land owners, blocking them out to create the town of Homestead, chartered in 1880. Rapid growth followed with construction of a railraod, glass factory and the first iron mill in 1881. 1883 was the year Andrew Carnegie purchased the Homestead Steel Works, enlarging his steel and coke interprise. His recent acquisition of Henry Clay Frick’s coke works on the Mon river helped to set the stage for the Homestead strike in 1892.
In the early 20th Century, immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, coming to the area for employment, helped to dramatically increase the population in the area. It was one of the fastest growing regions in Western Pennsylvania.
World War II saw almost half of the population displaced as the government added to the mills for extra capacity to support the war effort. After the war, steel production declined, and thus the area began to suffer as a result. By the 1980s, employment at the Homestead works had declined as the mill was no longer operating near capacity. It closed in 1986 and was demolished in the early 1990s.
1999 saw the beginning of a revitalization of the area, with the Waterfront shopping and dining area constructed on the former site. It has become a destination place for those all around the region for shopping, dining and entertainment. Bike trails, boat rentals and walking trails along the river are popular weekend recreational spots for those of all ages.