McCandless was rumored to have been visited by George Washington in 1753. Native American artifacts from the Iroquois Nation have been found in parts of the area. The first European settler, James Duff, bought 400 acres in 1796. Farming was rich in the area, and in 1849, Daniel Vogel presided over citizens’ meetings to form a local government, which was accomplished in 1851. It was known as “Taylor Township”. 1857 saw the official incorporation of the area into a township, and it was named “McCandless” in honor of a District Judge… Wilson McCandless.
The early 1900s saw the area grow. An oil boom helped to spur the construction of a commuter railroad, the Harmony Line, so that residents could travel easily into Pittsburgh. As the rise of the automobile began to take hold, the Harmony Line eventually closed in 1931.
In 1927, Allegheny County Commmissioner E.V. Babcock was instrumental in establishing North Park, of which about 1600 Acres are located in the township.
McCandless became a popular area for settlement due to it’s proximity to the City of Pittsburgh, it’s acres of wooded privacy, and the growth of employment opportunities. McKnight Road, built in the 1950s became the primary access between the larger city and the little township.
McCandless is continuing to grow today. It provides many retail opportunities, sports, biking, hiking and walking trails. It is bordered by Pine Township, Hampton Township, Ross Township and Franklin Park.