A Brief History of Brookline

Brookline is located on the southern side of the City of Pittsburgh, just through the Liberty Tunnels.  The first settlers of the area were traders, miners and craftsman.  Before the revolutionary war, this area was considered to be wild country, only for the hardiest of people. Land grants issued to veterans of the war led to many of the area’s first settlers being former members of the Pennsylvania Militia.

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


The mid-1800’s saw Richard and Harriette Knowlson, along with their 3 children, settle the southwestern part of what would later be called Brookline.  The family’s ties to the Brookline, Massachusetts area may have led to this name.  At this time, the area was part of Lower St. Clair Township, and known as West Liberty.  The prime farmland here was crucial to the feed the growth of Pittsburgh, just north.

The 1870’s led to a great expansion of coal mining in the area, and the Pittsburgh Coal Company had active mines all through the hills around the area.  These companies aided the growth of this area and led to Brookline’s incorporation into the City of Pittsburgh in 1908.

The growth of the coal and steel industry in Pittsburgh throughout the early part of the 20th Century led to the addition of trolley service to the neighborhood, and the growth of the commercial district along Brookline Boulevard.  Many businesses, restaurants, craft shops, hardware stores and other offices sprang up in the neighborhood.


Today Brookline is experiencing a renaissance just as much of Pittsburgh.  Community investment has led to a revitalized commercial district and renewed pride in the community!  Brookline is bordered by the Pittsburgh Neighborhoods of BeechviewBon AirCarrick and Overbrook.