Pittsburgh Neighborhoods: Crafton

A Brief History of Crafton

history of Crafton

Crafton is a borough in Allegheny County located west of downtown Pittsburgh. The history of Crafton begins with the neighborhood being named after James S. Craft. Craft was a frontier attorney who was given land near the forks of Ohio in what is today Oakland in Pittsburgh. The sale of that land gave Craft the ability to make purchases in Chartiers Valley. James’ son Charles divided the land when James died and submitted it to the Allegheny County Courthouse. He named the land “Crafton.” In 1882, the borough was incorporated and Charles was the first burgess. Crafton was linked to downtown via trolley in 1896. Unfortunately, that service ended when the Fort Pitt Bridge was introduced.

Facts About Crafton

history of Crafton

Crafton was rated as the best place to raise kids in PA in 2011 by Bloomberg Businessweek. Former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher grew up in Crafton and attended Carlynton High School. Decorated war veteran Marine Corps Lieutenant General Alpha Lyons Bowser was from Crafton. He was awarded for his actions in Iwo Jima and the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. In the 2000 census there there over 3,000 households—40.2 percent were made of individuals and 14.3 percent were living alone aged 65 or older. Crafton is home to delicious bars like Mugshots and gems like Big Daddy’s Donuts.

63 thoughts on “Pittsburgh Neighborhoods: Crafton”

    1. I do and I loved it! It was close to St. Phillips school so I could drop in and pick up a book to read and drop it off the next day and get another on to read. I read bigger books these days and try to average 3 or 4 books a week. I’ve been taken all over the world and to several planets through reading and I love it.
      Is the library still there beside the railroad tracks? Oh wait a minute, the last time I was in Crafton the railroad was gone, I hope the library is still somewhere in Crafton to help the children of today to enjoy reading the way I still do.

      1. The library is located across the street from the Dollar General. The railroad tracks are gone but the PAT busway follows the road bed. 🙂 I have many fond memories of growing up in Crafton: swimming at the pool (we practically LIVED there during the summers), riding our bikes thru the alleys, kick ball and all the other assorted games kids played, Thurs evening concerts in the park. Good times!!!

      2. The library is still in Crafton on Bradford Ave. I worked there for years and still get books regularly.

      3. As I remember, the Crafton Library was next door to Weaver’s in the 50’s and across from the PA railroad tracks. I delivered the Pittsburgh Press and attended Canevin HS on Morange Rd. I picked up my bundles of papers at the rail station which was then covered.
        Small world.

      4. Whoa! I am an alum of St. Phillips,Canevin and IUP. Thinking about moving back with family in Cranberry.

        I very much remember the high dive at the Crafton Pool and the DQ south of St. Phillips.

        My niece put me in touch.

        1. Hey Ray,
          It is cold out here in Kansas City ,Kansas February 9, 2017. There is a warm front headed north from the Texas Gulf in two days and we are thankful for small favors in Olathe, KS. So, fill me in as I grew up in Crafton during the fifties and sixties but don’t recall. Just need a location and a time and very happy to share my thoughts.

          Best regards


          1. Born in 1955. Lived on Durbin St. in the City of Pgh and went to Oakwood School. Durbin St. was off of Noblestown Rd. where the Noblestown Shopping Center was. There was a State Store there & a Dairy Queen across the street. My Godmother lived on Barr Ave. in Crafton. I went to St. Philips in ’68 and ’69. First non-Catholic to go to school there and later became Catholic in my 30s. Sr. Jane Catherine was the principal. Monsignor Vincent Leonard was there at the time, too, & he later became Bishop of the Diocese before Wuerl.

          2. I know it well. St. Phillips and Canevin Class of ’66. Do you remember Young’s restaurant on Noblestown across from the old State store and the Giant Eagle? Best whitefish (Lake Erie) sandwiches and French fries you could buy every Friday. Great for Catholics as it sure beat tuna fish casserole and I grew very tired of that when I was ten:)

          3. Durbin and Barr–Yes got it. Remember McMunn, Dinsmore and Bradford.? Close but down in the Chartier’s Valley.

            I visited my sister and brother several years ago and we went to the Andy Warhol Museum. Great stuff!


          4. Crafton has a wonderful climate–if only the sun would shine more often : o) Kansas is more day to day with Blue Northern’s coming out of the Dakota’s and southern’s out of Texas. So far no snow–just cold and dry. That is good.

    1. We lived on Dinsmore, just above the roller rink. I remember peaking through the upper windows watching the skaters.

      1. Yes. At Christmas, the town strung up 60 Watt multicolored bulbs just near the skating rink on Dinsmore near the intersection with Bradford. Not exactly up to present standards but very special.

    1. Jon, I have many many great memories of you. My first motorcycle ride, ( I returned the favor to Bobby Gould,) your 59 or 60 Chevy convertible, my first hangover, you will always be like the big brother I never had. Hope all is well.

    2. Harry Faberman and his tailor shop two doors down from THE Crafton Theatre. Remember when they sold Christmas trees in the vacant lot next door? Wonderful place. Who can forget the cream filled lady fingers at Witts? Of course there was the tunnel under the tracks near Duffy’s Bar on the way to St. Phillips. Remember Weaver’s and Yanda’s? Kansas City is a great place but Crafton is still the best!

      1. How about the teen canteen?Now here is a old old one .My great-great grandfather had a butcher shop real close to st.phillips it was Streebecks Butcher Shop. They delivered by horse and wagon.

        1. Thanks and you got me. I remember Strimel’s Butcher Shop with wood dust behind the counter but no horse drawn carriages as I grew up in the fifties. It was right around the corner from Felix and Harry Faberman. Great stuff. Do you remember Yanda’s Pharmacy?

    1. I recall the DQ at the foot of the hill behind St. Phillips but am lost regarding Cekebrates. Please advise. Great fun is it not? I’ve lived in the Boston/Providence area most of my adult life and really miss Crafton:)

      1. I’ve lived in So Cal for the last 13 years and still really miss Pittsburgh, especially the people!

        1. SoCal is a terrific place. Spent a week in Pasadena on work in late 80’s and witnessed Mt. Wilson Observatory.

        2. Forgive me but where does Crafton move from here? Pittsburgh is a vibrant city and I would like to think Crafton 2020. Just tossing out a thought and a question. Is it primed for growth or not? Maybe not necessary. After 40 years in the manufacturing sector of the economy I’ve learned not to rely on the past.

    1. No-after my time. Delivered the Pittsburgh Press from 1959 through 1966 and don’t recall it. Where was it located?

  1. Does anybody remember, I believe, a “Duffy’s Bar” in Crafton. I remember going in there with my Dad and they had a big old tomcat with a torn ear that I used to pet. Also Yates Dance Studio run by a British woman Delores Yates. I was located in an area where there were several Funeral Homes. I’m going way back to the 1960s.

    1. Ed Duffy lived on McMunn Avenue and used to walk to work every day. Sorry, but the 60’s were not way back. Still own a 73 TR6 and it runs better than the day I bought it. Great fun .

    2. Yeah Ed Duffy ran the bar. Never went in there as I was in my teens. Yates and I remember. I am so unhappy about the Pats victory–Why did Shanahan of Falcons drop the running game? I think Big Ben will return for 2017 season..
      Yates–Very cool!
      It’s very cold out here in Olathe, KS but looking forward to 70’s this weekend when southerly flow from Texas hits us. Go Steelers!!

  2. William Shields

    How about the Crafton Grill? First place I Drank under 21. Sal’s Bar..cmon how about Glassers Ice cream?..the Golf coarse , The Shields/Nagel/Flynn/ families that fueled the population

    1. Of course we remember Shields,Nagles and Fynns; St. Philips and Canevin HS on Morange Road as well. Regarding Glasser’s, Chuck Glasser gave me my first tennis lesson on red clay court adjacent to bakery when I was 11 years old. Both of Chuck’s sons became varsity tennis players at Penn State. I didn’t pick up tennis again for another ten years but have played USTA Midwest Section for the last 47 years.
      I now live near Kansas City, Kansas but cherish Crafton memories.

  3. It sure is nice to hear about crafton like it was as we were growing up.I hope we all can share more stories about our town before all the changes that have been made . Some good an d some bad.

    1. i grew up on s. emily st 1st 2nd and 3rd ward schools Glasers bakery across from the high school, the pool hall on noble ave. virden hdw. good old days gone by

  4. John Crawford

    I grew up on McMunn Ave. Chuck Glaser gave me my first tennis lesson on the red clay court next to the bakery. My Mother and Sister attended Crafton HS. I now live in Kansas City and look forward to every game between Chiefs and Steelers.

  5. John Crawford

    Well, I guess we are catching up on old memories. KC is a wonderful place with its own rich history. It served as a major transport center and still does. I can hear the BNSF and Union Pacific trains rumbling two miles away on a still night. However, Pittsburgh was the center of manufacturing innovation and made it all happen. PS Steelers start training camp in four days.

  6. John Crawford

    Well one can appreciate the vastness of KC, Omaha and Des Moines.
    They are agricutural cities and very unlike Crafton and Pittsburgh.
    Crafton has spirit which is not easily defined. It was shaped by manufacturing. Does anybody have a relative which did not work for US Steel? We move beyond this but never forget the perfume of oil on a hot day in April when the sun turns snow into into water?

  7. John Crawford

    No, I did not. If you want my comments, I will give them. Read them before commenting.

  8. John Crawford

    Read the latest. I am trying to make a case for our town and have jumped from a trip down memory lane to one which is both personal and futuristic. A trip down memory lane is wonderful but you need a message to make it meaningful. What is the message? Thank you as I truly appreciate your thoughts.

  9. John Crawford

    You have a wonderful news letter. I read The Pittsburgh Quarterly. Great stuff. I am thinking you have a readership and need to expand beyond our old memories into what is currently going on in terms of tech start ups,etc. I only mean this as constructive criticism. Thank you for including me. Best

  10. John Crawford

    I walked up and down appliance manufacturing assembly lines for most of my adult life. I appreciate your news letter. I dig it . This is why Pittsburgh is great. Try to convey this in your newsletter. We no longer live in a manufacturing age. The spirit of innovation which is central to Crafton and Pittsburgh lives on. Best and keep me informed.

  11. A production line start up requires lots of very talented people. First, you need the mechanical elements and then people to program the assembly machines. This is no easy task. Multi million dollar machines are involved. Motor primary and secondary windings require precision when wound on a field stator. There are lots of issues to address. This is where talented people come into play. So, maybe we address this with community technical colleges? Just my thoughts. Best

  12. John Crawford

    Wow, I guess I have monopolized this conversation. Long story short, has the borough of Crafton increased or decreased in stature?

  13. John Crawford

    I have not been to Crafton in fifty years . What is happening to our old neighborhoods like Dinsmore and McMunn? thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple.

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