Wall, PA, or Wall Borough is located in Allegheny County, east of Pittsburgh. It is surrounded by Turtle Creek, Pitcairn, North Versailles and Trafford.
The first settlers arrived in Wall, PA in the 1760s, finding the area rich with natural resources. The area had an abundance of game and fish for hunting and gathering, and was also rich with coal, limestone, iron ore and sandstone. The forests were plentiful and used to build boats, barges, wagons and homes. This enabled all of the settlements in the area to grow, and by the mid 1760s, roads had been cut through the area from present-day Harrison City through Wall, PA, Trafford, Turtle Creek and all the way to Pittsburgh.
Around the time of the American Revolution, Wall was known as Pleasant Valley. It was originally part of Westmoreland County. In 1788, Allegheny County was formed out of Westmoreland, and the area was included in Allegheny County. The Wall family settled in the area in the late 1700s, and around 1810, brothers James and Michael Wall purchased around 850 acres stretching from present day Wilmerding to Trafford and Pitcairn. A railroad was in the planning stages through the area when both brothers died. Their children inherited the area, and by the time the railroad came through Turtle Creek, the property had been split between John, Henry and Francis Wall. There was a rail station built on the Wall property… Walls Station. It was in 1851 that the first train from the Pennsylvania Railroad made the trip from Pittsburgh to Turtle Creek. The Wall Station and Mosside Stations were opened around this time as well.
The railroad sparked a period of growth in the area, and in the late 1800s the need for homes in what was known as the Spring Hill section of the area prompted planning for homes and streets. With this came schools and development. A saw mill, damn and resevoir provided work and water. Among the first homeowners were the Walls, Hugos, Grahams, Ramseys and Mellons. Many of these homes still remain, the oldest being the Watt house on the southwest corner of Coal Street & Wall Avenue. In 1915 the railroad constructed the Spring Hill Bridge of iron and concrete, and it is still in use today. As growth continued, Spring Hill was referred to as “Old Wall”. The origin of today’s Wall, PA or Wall Borough.
In the early 1900s the population of about 4,000 residents was mostly railroaders and boarders. The roads were basically mud, sewers were non-existent and fires were common. However, as the railroad grew, things gradually began to progress. The main road was eventually paved with brick, water lines were installed and cement sidewalks were laid. Once utility lines were installed for heat and electricity, Wall became more of a town with shops, hotels, grocers and other stores lining the streets.
The 1920s saw expansion in Wall PA create the need for a more modern roadway connecting Wall to Route 30, and in 1930 the Mosside Bridge was completed along with a 2 lane concrete road. This made travel to and from the railroad and Trafford much safer and easier. The 1950s saw more modernization of the roads in Wall, but the post office was combined with the Wilmerding Post Office. Throughout the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, Wall saw the boom and bust of the steel industry in Pittsburgh affect it in many ways. The Westinghouse plants are now gone, and the borough is about a quarter of it’s size in population as it was at it’s peak.
My third great grandfather was James Wall and his will lists the same names of his children that I read on another site for the names of the children of the James who settled in Wall. However, the will also lists only his property in West Philadelphia, a 12-acre farm that he passed on to his son Thomas when he died in 1853. I have pictures of my great great grandmother’s family at a family farm around Pittsburgh, but I’m not sure exactly where that was. Can you direct me to someone who can tell me if my ancestor was the same James Walls who passed along his Pittsburgh area farmland to his sons before he died or if he was a cousin who happened to give his kids the same names. I do have DNA matches who trace their families back to the James Walls mentioned on this page. Thanks
My name is James R Wall III living in Dublin Ohio. My Great Grandfather is James B. Wall (1849-1933) buried in St Vincent’s Cemetery. James Walls (B 1776 in Londonderry Ireland) along with his brother Michael Walls came to America around 1790 and bought land to clear and farm that became known as Wall PA. James had 7 children, Cathrine (Spere) , Sarah (McClellan), Thomas, Henry, James and John. I am trying to see if James Bernard Wall the grandson of James Walls who with his brother started the farm that morphed into Wall Pa.
Hi Jim, since posting my comment, I have learned that my 3X great grandfather is in fact the same James Walls who bought the land in Turtle Creek. His daughter Ellen, whom you did not mention, but was listed in his will, was my great great grandmother. I have researched his descendants, and your great grandfather who is buried in St. Vincent’s cemetery is one of them. I have a lot of information that I would be glad to share if you want to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.