A Brief History of Coraopolis
The land that now contains Coraopolis was first granted to Andrew Montour, and Native American Interpreter,in 1769 and was approximately 350 acres. However, there is no record of Montour ever living in the area. Records show that the first permanent settler was Captain Robert Vance in 1773, a member of Washington’s regiment at the Braddock expedition during the French and Indian War. The original structure was a stockade for protection known as Fort Vance. The site of this structure is thought to be around present-day Broadway and Chestnut streets.
As the area began to attract settlers and develop, it was known as Middletown in the 1800s. This was most likely because of it’s proximity, “in the middle” to Pittsburgh and Beaver, PA… or, as legend has it, an early inhabitant, Alexander Middleton, was a tavern owner (Middleton’s Tavern) in the neighborhood.
Milling was one of the first industries to rise in Middletown, as English immigrants, the Watsons, built a sawmill on what later became Fifth Avenue and a larger grist mill on the river bank around Mill Street until 1887.
In June of 1886, the borough was incorporated from the village of Middletown and the name changed to Coroapolis. The reason for this change is largely debated, but most believe that it was a combination of the Greek word for “maiden”… or Kore and “city” … or Opolis, and was because the name Middletown was confusing post office traffic because it was a common name for other areas in Pennsylvania.
Coraopolis continued to develop in the late 1800s at with the construction of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie railroad, and the discovery of oil. Development received another boost in 1892 when the first high-spped electric street railway in the U.S. was built between Coraopolis and McKees Rocks. This led Consolidated Lamp and Gas Company to relocate from Ohio to the borough.
The first municipal structure was built in 1897 and in operation until 1929, when a new building was built. The most recent municipal building was completed in 2017 and also houses the police and fire departments.
Coraopolis has a reviving business district, some industry, and an older style residential neighborhoods with brick streets, sidewalks, and on-street parking. Coraopolis borders Neville Island, Robinson Township, and Moon Township.
This Pittsburgh neighborhood is also the birth place of Michael Keaton.