Pittsburgh Suburbs: Springdale



Springdale, located in the northeastern region of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, is a quaint borough that is both historically rich and naturally captivating. Situated approximately 18 miles northeast of Pittsburgh along the Allegheny River, this small borough is home to around 3,400 residents as of the 2020 census. With its unique geographical location and diverse historical background, Springdale offers a quiet residential atmosphere that is both welcoming and intriguing.

The Geographical Landscape

Springdale borough is located on a ‘Dendritic’ plateau, a geographical feature resulting from the action of water on a series of horizontal strata. Because of the absence of a land tilt or resistant rock that would have guided the flow, water found the easiest path, quickly eroding deep valleys. At one point, the river that attracted the earliest settlers to the area was five times its current width and flowed at a much higher level, thus carrying a vast volume of water.


The Allegheny River and Its Influence

The Allegheny River has played a significant role in shaping the geographical landscape of Springdale. Originally, the river was believed to flow north towards the Great Lakes. However, its path was blocked during one of the Ice Ages, causing it to turn south. Over time, the river moved to its current location, leaving a broad strip of level land below the 800-foot contour line.

The Natural Springs and the Dale

Springdale got its name from the natural springs that gushed forth and the surrounding small valley, or the “dale.” These natural features made the location ideal for settlers and have continued to contribute to the borough’s charm.


History of Springdale

Springdale borough was officially incorporated in 1906, breaking away from the larger Springdale Township. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, but soon overtaken by European settlers. The borough became a bustling railroad town and a hub for the coal industry in the late 1800s and the early 1900s.

Native American Roots

The first settlers in the Springdale area were most likely the Allegewi or Allegheny Indians. The Allegheny River and Allegheny County were named in their honor. An old map made for William Penn in 1774 shows seven tents, each representing a certain number of people, in the area that would become Springdale. This suggests that the area was a significant Native American settlement.

European Settlers and Modern Springdale

The first European settlers arrived in the area in the early 1800s. Among these settlers were families with names like Pillow, Coe, Remaley, Henderson, Mellon, Brackenridge, Denny, Hanna, Keene, Shoop, and Moyer, many of which are now the names of streets in Springdale.


Today, Springdale is a peaceful residential community with a small downtown area and a number of small businesses. It’s a place where residents enjoy the tranquility of a small town while benefiting from its proximity to the bustling city of Pittsburgh.


The population of Springdale has seen fluctuations over the years. In the 1880s, the borough was home to just 456 people. This number increased significantly in the early 20th century, peaking at 5,602 in 1960. Since then, the population has gradually decreased, and as of the 2020 census, the borough is home to approximately 3,400 residents.

Museums and Points of Interest

The area boasts several points of interest, including the Springdale Free Public Library and the historic Rachel Carson Homestead.

Rachel Carson Homestead

Springdale rachel carson homestead

The Rachel Carson Homestead, the birthplace and childhood home of marine biologist and author Rachel Carson, is a significant historical site in Springdale. The homestead, which once stood on approximately 65 acres of land overlooking the Allegheny River, is now stewarded by the Rachel Carson Homestead Association.


The borough is served by the Allegheny Valley School District, with Springdale Jr-Sr High School providing education to the borough’s youth.

Notable People

Springdale has been home to several notable individuals, including Rachel Carson, author of “Silent Spring,” and Conrad Susa, a renowned composer of opera and alumnus of Juilliard.

Scroll to Top