Imperial, PA near Pittsburgh

Imperial, Pennsylvania,  in Allegheny County, epitomizes the rich heritage of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, offering a unique perspective on the community’s historical and cultural landscape. Its proximity to key locations like Pittsburgh International Airport enhances its accessibility, making it a vital part of the region, including areas like North Fayette.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of Imperial, PA, from its historical roots to its current status within the broader context of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. By exploring aspects such as geography, community life, and the education system, readers will gain insights into what makes Imperial a noteworthy place in Pennsylvania’s tapestry.

History of Imperial

Imperial, PA, has a rich history that underscores its significance within the Pittsburgh metropolitan area and Allegheny County. Established around 1879, its development was closely tied to the coal industry and the advent of railroads, which were pivotal in shaping the town’s early economy and community life. Key historical points include:

  • Founding and Development:
    • Originally named Montour City, after the nearby Montour Railroad.
    • Renamed Imperial after the Imperial Coal Company, marking its roots as a mining town.
    • Constructed on Robert Wilson’s farmland along Montour Run.
  • Community and Infrastructure:
    • The Montour Railroad, crucial for coal transportation to Pittsburgh.
    • The Pittsburgh Steubenville Turnpike facilitated travel and commerce.
    • St. Columbkille church, established in 1905, became a central community hub.
  • Modern Evolution:
    • Transition from a coal-centric economy to modern developments, including a significant Amazon fulfillment center in 2020.
    • Population of 2,541 in 2010, reflecting growth and changes over time.

This evolution from a coal mining town to a community with modern amenities, while retaining its historical roots, makes Imperial a unique study within Pennsylvania’s rich heritage.

Geography and Accessibility

Imperial Pa

Imperial, PA, strategically placed within the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, boasts a geographical layout and accessibility that significantly contribute to its appeal and functionality. Located in North Fayette and Findlay Townships, Imperial spans a total area of 3.1 square miles, all land, emphasizing its compact yet accessible nature.

Key Transportation Routes:

  • U.S. Route 30: Runs through the township’s center, facilitating intra-city travel.
  • Expressway Access: U.S. Route 22 and Interstate 376 offer broader access to roads in and around Imperial.
  • Pennsylvania Route 576: Provides an exit serving Imperial, despite being partially completed, adding to the township’s accessibility.

Public Transportation & GIS Resources:

  • Public Transportation: Greyhound Bus Lines and Matthews Bus Company School Buses serve the area, alongside local transportation options like Four Horseman Comics and GRAF ARCHITECTURE.
  • GIS Resources: Allegheny County provides comprehensive Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for public use, aiding in parcel information access, area measuring, and map creation. These resources are accessible through local Open Data repositories, Penn State’s Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access, and the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center.

The proximity to major transportation routes and the availability of public transportation options, coupled with advanced GIS resources, underscore Imperial’s strategic geographical position and its ease of accessibility within the Pittsburgh metropolitan area and Allegheny County. This connectivity not only facilitates daily commutes and logistics but also enhances the overall quality of life for residents and visitors alike.

Community Life

Imperial, Pennsylvania, has witnessed a demographic evolution that mirrors its economic and social transformations. With a population that grew to 2,731 by 2021, this reflects a 6.31% increase from the previous year, indicating a vibrant community that continues to attract new residents. The demographic composition and community life in Imperial offer insights into its character and the quality of life it offers to its inhabitants.

  • Population Dynamics and Income:
    • 2010 Population: 2,541; 2021 Population: 2,731
    • Median Household Income (2021): $56,531, a slight increase from $56,439 in 2010
    • Poverty Rate: Increased from 6.3% in 2010 to 8.13% in 2021
  • Age Distribution and Housing:
    • Median Age: Decreased from 40.9 years in 2010 to 37.7 years in 2021
    • Homeownership Rate: 57.4%, aligning with the national average
    • Median Property Value (2021): $193,800, showing a slight decrease from previous years
  • Community Life and Accessibility:
    • Average Commute Time: 23.7 minutes, with most residents (78.7%) driving alone to work
    • Amenities: Parks, recreational areas, excellent schools, healthcare facilities, and a variety of dining and shopping options
    • Climate: Mild year-round, with hot summers and cold winters, supporting an active outdoor and community life

The demographic trends and community attributes of Imperial, PA, underscore its appeal as a place that balances small-town charm with the conveniences of modern living. The town’s proximity to Pittsburgh International Airport and other key locations within the Pittsburgh metropolitan area further enhances its accessibility and attractiveness to residents and visitors alike.

Education System in Imperial

Children in Imperial, PA, receive their education through the West Allegheny School District, which encompasses a broad spectrum of educational institutions. This district is notable for its comprehensive educational offerings, ranging from preschool to senior high school, and includes:

  • Elementary Schools: Wilson Elementary, Donaldson Elementary, and McKee Elementary
  • Middle School: West Allegheny Middle School
  • High School: West Allegheny Senior High School
  • Special Programs: West Allegheny Virtual Academy for alternative learning environments

The district prides itself on a diverse curriculum that includes Academics, Arts, Athletics, and various district services, aiming to cater to the holistic development of its students. With a student body of 3,335 and a favorable student-teacher ratio of 15.09, the West Allegheny School District ensures personalized attention to students, fostering an environment conducive to learning and personal growth.

Achievements and Recognitions:

  • National Blue Ribbon School for 2023, acknowledging excellence in academic performance
  • AP Courses and Capstone Diploma Program: Offers advanced placement courses and a distinguished diploma program for high-achieving students
  • U.S. News and World Report Ranking: Positioned in the top 17% of schools nationwide, according to the 2022 Best High School rankings
  • Career and Industry Certifications: Boasts a 100% student pass rate, highlighting the district’s commitment to preparing students for professional success

These accolades reflect the district’s dedication to providing high-quality education and preparing students for future challenges, aligning with Imperial, PA’s commitment to fostering a vibrant and educated community.

From its roots as a coal mining town to its evolution into a community enriched with contemporary amenities, Imperial offers a distinct narrative within the broader context of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. The exploration of its history, geography, demographic dynamics, community life, and education system underscores the town’s appeal, showcasing how it maintains its small-town charm while adapting to the demands of modern living.

The significance of Imperial goes beyond its historical landmarks and geographical convenience; it lies in the heart of its community and the forward-looking vision of its residents. As the town continues to grow, maintaining a balance between preserving its heritage and embracing innovation will be key to its sustained vibrance and appeal. This reflection on Imperial’s journey not only highlights its place in Pennsylvania’s tapestry but also sets a precedent for the thoughtful development of similar communities across the nation.


Q: What is the origin of the name “Imperial, PA”? A: Imperial, PA, was founded around 1879 as a mining town by the Imperial Coal Company. Initially called Montour City due to its location along Montour Run on land that was previously Robert Wilson’s farm, the town eventually adopted the name of the coal company. The Imperial post office was established in 1880, solidifying the town’s name.

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