The city of Duquesne is located on the banks of the Monongahela River, about 12 miles south of Pittsburgh. It’s name comes from Fort Duquesne. It was originally settled in 1789 and incorporated as a city in 1891. The Duquesne Works, part of Carnegie Steel Corporation and later U.S. Steel, was the main employer and soul of the community. Home to the largest blast furnace in the world, the “Dorothy Six”, Bob Dylan actually dedicated a song to it… “Duquesne Whistle”.
The early 20th century saw this Pittsburgh suburb as a key player in U.S. Steel’s production and also a “showcase” for the company’s venture into what was known as “welfare capitalism”… or what we know today as pension plans, health benefits, etc. As the steel industry came into prominence, the population grew and peaked in the 1930s.
Unfortunately, as with many Pittsburgh suburbs, the decline of the steel industry and deindustrialization beginning in the 1960s let to a steep decline in many rust belt towns, and the city was not spared. Today Duquesne is focusing on trying to rebound, with help from the Steel Valley Authority, launched in large part due to the outcry when “Dorothy Six” the blast furnace was facing destruction.