In the early 1800s, Monroeville was just a small village 13 miles east of Pittsburgh tucked between many farms. The predecessor of modern highways, the Northern Turnpike, was constructed in 1807 across the state from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. Monroeville was the first stagecoach stop heading east. A local farmer, Joel Monroe, began selling his land along the road, forming the core of what was later to become part of Patton Township.
The 19th Century saw the growth of coal mining around Pittsburgh and it began to move eastward. Many residents of Patton Township found work in the mines or on the railroads. By the beginning of the 1900s with the decline of the coal boom, the area fell on hard times. A new Westinghouse plant in nearby Wilmerding offered a chance for employment as well as rail yards in Pitcairn.
William Penn Highway (Route 22) was constructed and in the 1940s began to evolve into what is today Monroeville’s major business district. 1950 saw the neighborhood become the Pittsburgh Interchange for the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
At the time, the Miracle Mile Shopping Center was the largest of it’s kind between New York and Chicago. This led to a boom in commercial development to include other shopping strips, car dealers, fast food and financial institutions. As Monroeville grew, more roads were built and eventually a direct route to Pittsburgh, the Penn-Lincoln Highway, was completed in 1963. The area was experiencing a boom. Companies and corporations began to locate to this Pittsburgh Suburb. Among them were U.S. Steel, Westinghouse, Koppes, Bituminous Coal and PPG Industries.
The growth led to the construction of the Monroeville Mall in 1969, long a destination for shoppers from around the Pittsburgh region.
The later part of the 20th century saw a decline in Monroeville’s population, along with the hard times that fell on Pittsburgh due to the aging steel industry. It’s convenient location to Pittsburgh and the turnpike kept Monroeville from suffering the worst of the hard times that other municipalities experienced.
UPMC recently constructed a modern new medical facility, UPMC East, and Forbes Regional Hospital has undergone a transformation within the Allegheny Health Network. This, along with a renewed interest in the affordability of housing and commercial and shopping districts that are undergoing their own revitaliztion has enabled Monroeville to remain a vibrant and now growing community.