Pittsburgh Suburbs: A History of McCandless

A Brief History of  McCandless

History of McCandless

McCandless is a home rule municipality located in Allegheny County. There is the word town that sometimes makes things a bit mixed up, as a town isn’t considered a municipal unit in PA. McCandless has a rich history. Native American artifacts, particularly from the Iroquois have been found in the area. The first president of the U.S., George Washington, visited the township in 1753. James Duff was named as the first European settler. He purchased 400 acres in 1796 and farming increased in the area. Around the year 1849, meetings were held and a township was founded two years later called Taylor Township. The area was later incorporated as a second class township and renamed McCandless in honor of District Judge Wilson McCandless. During the War of 1812, an important route of materials for the war ran through McCandless from the city of Pittsburgh to Commodore Perry’s forces on Lake Erie. By the 1900s, a commuter rail called the Harmony Line opened for commutes to Pittsburgh, but by the 1930s, the line was closed because of the rising popularity of automobiles. From the ’30s to the ’50s, the town doubled in size. By the time the ’60s rolled around, it had doubled again. As of the 2000 census, the population was closer to 12,000. Traffic and development along McKnight Road, which was built in the 1950s, allowed retail and office use to thrive. The Community College of Allegheny County opened a branch in McCandless in 1972. Also new to the area is McCandless Crossing, built in 2016.

Facts about McCandless

McCandless is part of the North Allegheny School District and participates in Northland Public Library. The community has been ranked among Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live.” North Park incorporates 15.2 percent of the town and was founded in 1927 by Allegheny County. McCandless has four borders including Pine Township, Hampton Township, Ross Township and lastly, Franklin Park.

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