Pittsburgh Suburbs: History of Dormont

History of Dormont

Dormont (Mountain of Gold in French) is a borough in Allegheny County just south of the city of Pittsburgh.  It’s proximity to Downtown Pittsburgh allows it a diverse population of young professionals, families and retirees.  West Liberty Avenue, the main thoroughfare through the area leads to a pedestrian friendly business district with coffee shops, restaurants, retail and businesses.  Dormont is also famous for one of the largest municipal pools in Pennsylvania, the Dormont Pool.

dormont coffee mug
The PB Neighborhood Series Dormont Coffee Mug. Get yours today!

History of Dormont

The history of Dormont begins as the Delaware and Shawnee Native American Tribes let it go in 1768 in a transaction including the area in the borough and Fort Stanwix.   Originally part of Cumberland County, Pitt Township in Bedford County and Penn Township in Washington County, Dormont finally became part of St. Clair Township, Allegheny County in 1788.  An order of incorporation in 1909 made Dormont the first independent municipality in the South Hills.

History of Dormont

Once the borough of Dormont was incorporated in 1909, at least 30 different streets were given new names. Today, all but two of Dormont’s streets are designated as avenues, the exceptions being Memorial Drive and Park Blvd. Two of Dormont’s mainline streets, Scott Road and McFarland Road, are two-lane “borough line” streets in which one lane is located in Dormont and the other in Mt. Lebanon. The northern stretch of another “borough line” street, McNeilly Avenue, runs through Dormont on one side and the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Brookline on the other. Before the incorporation and street name changes, Dormont actually had three designated “streets”: Beech St. (Dwight Ave.), Sycamore St. (Philadelphia Ave.), and Sylvester St. (Texas Ave.).  (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Today Dormont offers it’s residents and visitors many amenities.  The aforementioned Dormont Pool, two parks, basketball and tennis courts, two Little League fields, a fine library, an impressive volunteer-built children’s playground, as well as seasonal activities for both children and adults. “Dormont Day,” the annual Fourth of July park-wide event, is the highlight of the summer season and features all day family entertainment beginning with the 8:00 a.m. Twenty-One Gun Salute and culminating with one of the most spectacular fireworks displays for a community of this size. During the day, park goers are treated to live music, picnics, food booths, games, pony rides, and Little League All-Star games.

54 thoughts on “Pittsburgh Suburbs: History of Dormont”

  1. John Nofsinger

    Enjoyed seeing the Hillsdale grade school facade. Wonderful memories of growing up in Dormont, attending Hillsdale and Dormont High.

    1. Lola Hartford

      I went to Hillsdalw School in 1948!!! Lived on Espy Ave! Then we moved to Mt Lebanon!

      1. Anthony R. Zacchero

        My grandparents Vincenzo & Giannina Scotti resided on the corner of Hillsdale & Espy. Did you know them?

        1. John Vagianos

          I knew of the Scotti family .. lived 2 blocks down the street on hillsdale

        2. William K Parker

          As a kid, I lived next to your grandparents on Hillsdale Ave. (late 60’s/early 70’s) and actually worked one summer for your Dad at his construction company.

    2. My siblings and I swam in the Dormont Pool as kids. We also walked to Banksville Road to watch their fireworks on July 4th. It was a great place to grow up!

    1. No. It made a brief comeback a couple years ago..

      Then closed abruptly..
      Now it’s Asian…

    2. John Vagianos

      No.. its now a Thai Restaurant. A couple of years ago 2015 the new owners of Cips sold it.. many memor is and wonderful times at Cips 🙂

    3. My dad worked there many years. He actually created and named the cameldriver sandwich they served. Loved that place!

      1. John Vagianos

        Really.. those were the golden years. Frank, Edie, and Linda serving the cameldriver.. 🙂

  2. Marjorie Nickel, CDP, PhD

    Grew up on beautiful Eastmont Avenue, just off Scott Road. Loved living in Dormont!

  3. John Vagianos

    Dormont Pa my hometown. 🙂
    A great place to grow up in the 60’s and 70’s.. Home of the most complete Baseball Program, Dormont Day on July 4th’s, Dormont Pool the largest in Pa now an historic landmark, Dormont school system with Hillsdale and Kelton elementary schools and Dormont High home of the Bulldogs 🙂
    Those days you didnt have to lock your cars or your home, you knew your neighbors and they were like family.
    We played in the streets until the street lights came on ” First to see the street”. Saturday afternoon at the Hollywood watching the 17 cartoons.. Isaly’s skyscraper cones and chipped ham, Campitis pizza, Mineo’s hoagies,
    Life didnt get better than that.. Dormont certainly was a mountain of gold. Thank You Dormont for my wonderful early yeas.

    1. John Vagianos

      I also got to mention the many great times at CIP’s at the corner of Kelton/W. Liberty with owner Frank Ciprani 🙂
      Those wonderful times on Saturday nights with the old gang not to mention Steeler football on Sunday afternoon . 🙂
      Those were the days !

  4. Demetrio aragon

    I’m from Mexico City and I living in Dormont is great school district is good. 17 years in Dormont loved it..

  5. Kenneth C. Aiken

    I remember Dormont in the later 50’s while delivering Mission Orange Beverage on the main street and some side streets. Met a couple of young gals there. Cannot remember one, but eh other was Renae, friends of the other.

  6. Born, raised and grew up in Dormont on Texas Ave then Kelton Ave. Did a stretch at Kelton School for Kindergarten then St. Bernard’s and South Catholic. What a great place to grow up. Played Catcher in little league baseball for Dormont Firemen team then Pony league ball for Massey Buick team. Loved the Dormont Park and especially the pool. Thinking about those days makes me feel so good. Thanks for the great article Pittsburgh Beautiful.

    1. I lived in Mt.Lebanon, but St. Bernard’s was very important in my life during the late 1960’s. Still visit on trips back to Pittsburgh and I often pull up the church’s website to visit from my home in Columbus, Ohio.

  7. I worked at the borough building that was on the corner of W Liberty Ave and Wisconsin Ave from 1960 to 1965 as the borough bookkeeper. I remember selling swimming pool passes in the summer, the big snow storm that almost shut down W Liberty Ave on Valentines Day I think in 1960 or 61. Walking to Isaly’s for lunch, the fireman selling tickets for the car that they raffled off every year. A lot of good memories. Great little town.

    1. Kimerle Anne Viccaro

      I grew up on Wainbell Avenue and mu mom would give me money to buy pool passes for my little brother and I. We sewed them to our swimming suits and rolled up our beach towel and walked through Dormont Park to go swimming. I loved the snack bar. They had frozen milkshake candy bars. We would walk home through Dormont Park and swing on the swings on the way home.

  8. Laura Accetta

    I had very fond memories of my hometown and though i have not lived there in many years, when i do get back to visit family i always take a drive through Dormont and see my house on Latonia Ave. My mom would send us “upstreet” to Islays for chipped ham, we would put pennys on the streetcar line and wait for them to be flattened by the trolley, after highschool football games we hit up eatnpark for bear claws and we went to the south hills theater for a dollar a movie and never 1 day did i ride a school bus which kids cant comprehend today, walked for 12 years to 3 different schools. It looks different today but it always feels like home.

    1. Jeanann Wohlfart

      Laure Acetta. I lived on Latonia Ave 3340 from 1949 to 1959 when we (the McDonoughs) moved to Florida with Grandma, Jennie Glasser.
      Worked in my Uncle Gerry Horrells store many of those years.

  9. I grew up in Dormont in the 50’s and 60’s with my 8 brothers and sisters. My parents still live in the same house on Montpelier Avenue. We played on the streets, rode our bikes and chased many balls down Dwight Avenue towards the park. I spent almost every summer day in Dormont Pool. Loved playing baseball and football in Dormont and still keep in touch with some of my high school buddies and have many fond memories. My job took me all over and in 1999, I moved to Windermere Avenue with my wife and spent 12 years there before retiring to Bradenton, Florida. Met a lot of great Dormonters with the Friends of Dormont Pool and still cherish their friendship.

      1. Yes, I believe they lived on the 1800 block just up the street from the Francis’s home

        1. John Vagianos

          Bill Wetzel is the only living Wetzel he lives outside of Butler.. nice family. We used to have poker saturday nights at their house.. fun times 🙂

      1. Joel,
        Long time since I’ve seen you. I missed the reunion but I did get a chance to see all the pictures. Great turnout!!
        Where are you living now, we used to live in Bradenton Fl but now we live on the east coast in Satellite Beach down from Cape Canaveral. We bought the house next to my son and our grandkids!!

  10. My dad grew up in Dormont graduating from Dormont High in 1945. My grandfather was a volunteer fireman in Dormont for many years

  11. Grew up in Dormont from 1968 – 1985. So many great memories. Some of the best softball players I had the opportunity to be on the same team with. South Hills Theater–worked there and managed for many years. $1 movies and kids sneaking in the back door between shows. Isaly’s ice cream while on break from the theater. Kay, next door making the best gyros and stuffed grape leaves. Best neighbors on Alabama and Dormont Avenues; played in the alley many nights. Put pennies on the streetcar tracks to be smashed and used to throw snowballs at the streetcars as they passed. Sled riding by the pool hitting the sidewalk and flying up in the air. Cross country and track at Jay Neff in the 1970s. Dormont Day and the swimming races and running races at the Little League field. Free buttermilk and bags handed out at the recreation center. Walking along the streetcar tracks in snowy weather to church at St. Bernards. Dormont Pool, the best pool around, every day. My parents were very involved with volunteering their time for many organizations and activities. Such wonderful memories of growing up in Dormont. On visits to the area, many pleasant memories return. Thank you Dormont and for everyone who made our young lives fun!

    1. Thanks for sharing Alice. Your memories are very similar to mine.
      Dormont 1957-1983. What a great town , neighborhood and lasting memories. Hometown favorite Dormont Pa.. Always remembered.. 🙂

  12. Kimerle Anne Viccaro

    Hello, my parents moved from Bon Air to Dormont when I was 11 years old, 1968. We lived at 3218 Wainbell Avenue, right behind West Liberty Avenue. There was an alley behind our house and my Dad would give me 50 cents to go up the alley to Meade’s drugstore to buy him a pack of cigarettes. He’d give me a quarter to get a krispy Klondike at Islay’s next door. I loved Dormont Day and my little brother and I could walk to Dormont Park for hot dogs and they always had a little paper bags of treats for us kids. In the summer my Mom would give me money to buy pool passes for me and my brother. We’d see them on our swimming suits. Everyday we’d walk through Dormont Park, swinging on the swings on the way then going to the pool. They had a big slide and I was always scared to dive off the high dive but I’d climb the steps and jump off. It was so much fun. I can still hear the transistor radios playing and smell the popcorn and hot pretzels at the snack bar. They used to have frozen milkshake bars. After all afternoon at the pool we’d walk by k home through the park. I really loved my childhood days in Dormont.

  13. andrew hartman

    who was the POLICE CHIEF in1959 in Dormont? this is not a duplicate comment I double checked no where does it mention the Chief of police

  14. Wow this had been a trip down memory lane!
    Food shopping at Norm Reeders market, the
    5&10 cent store across the street to buy Easter peeps of a rainbow of colors. The Hollywood theater on date night with Norm Jean!!!

  15. Never ever thought I’d revisit Dormont, but here I am. When I hear people talking about diversity these days, I always think of growing up in Dormont; especially walking down the street on a warm summer evening, sampling the international aromas from everyone’s dinner table. (And the voice of Bob Prince broadcasting the Pirates’ game). Families with last names I couldn’t spell and languages I didn’t understand. And it was all ok. I didn’t realize at the time that this was so special. I just thought it was America. I just thought it was Dormont.

  16. James P Abbott

    I grew up on Biltmore Ave from 1957 – 1995. It was a great place to live. Love all the comments about Dormont Pool, Meades Drug store, Cips Bar where I was a mainstay, Isaly’s with Ice Cream Sodas and chipped ham, all favorites of mine. How many people remember a place called Alice’s Palace? It eventually became Tom’s Diner. Anyone remember the Pizza shop on West Liberty and Peermont, next to the dry cleaners?

  17. The Pizza place was the original Mineo’s which was next to fry cleans across from Dormont junction on West Liberty. The best hoagies ever !

  18. Is Bill Abbot who went to South Catholic your brother? He was an Eagle Scout, brother Bob?

        1. hi Gary,
          you name sounds familiar. Bill became a Doctor/Surgeon who practiced in Albuquerque, NM and has since retired. He travels a lot. Bob retired from a successful career at Lorilards, but has medical issues now. He returned to Pittsburgh last year

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