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McKeesport, Pennsylvania
McKeesport City Hall, built circa 1890
McKeesport City Hall, built circa 1890
Nickname(s): Tube City
Location in Allegheny County and state of Pennsylvania
Location in Allegheny County and state of Pennsylvania
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Allegheny
Settled 1795
Incorporated (borough) September 3, 1842
Founded by John McKee
 • Total 13.9 sq mi (36 km2)
 • Land 12.9 sq mi (33 km2)
 • Water 1 sq mi (0 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total 19,731
 • Density 1,419/sq mi (548.1/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-4)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-5)
Zip Code 15132
Area Code 412

McKeesport is a city in Allegheny County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania; it is situated at the confluence of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers and is part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. The population was 19,731 at the 2010 census. By population, it is Allegheny County's second-largest city, after Pittsburgh.

Settled in 1795 and named in honor of John McKee, its founder, McKeesport remained a village until 1830 when coal mining began in the region. Large deposits of bituminous coal existed.

McKeesport was incorporated as a borough in 1842 and as a city in 1891. Its population grew steadily until the mid-20th century, when it peaked in the 1940s. The city's population in 1900 was 34,227; in 1910, 42,694; in 1920, 45,975; and in 1940, 55,355. The decrease in the population since the 1940s is attributable to the general economic malaise that descended upon the region when the steelmaking industry moved elsewhere. The major employer was the National Tube Works, a manufacturer of iron pipes, which once employed 10,000 men. McKeesport was the site of the first G. C. Murphy five-and-ten-cent store.


Early history

John McKee, an original settler of Philadelphia and son of David McKee, built a log cabin near the confluence of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers, the site of present-day McKeesport. After taking over his father's local river ferry business, he devised a plan for a city to be called McKee's Port. John set out his proposal in the Pittsburgh Gazette, as part of a program under which new residents could purchase plots of land for $20.00 (a lottery was used to distribute the plots to avoid complaints from new land owners concerning "inferior" locations).

Around the time of the French and Indian Wars, George Washington often came to McKeesport to visit his friend, Queen Alliquippa, a Seneca Indian ruler. After being settled by the McKee family in 1795, McKeesport began to grow in 1830 when coal mining began. The first schoolhouse was built in 1832, with James E. Huey as its schoolmaster (Huey Street in McKeesport is named for him). The city's first steel mill was established in 1851.

The National Tube Company opened in 1872 and became part of U.S. Steel. In the years directly following the opening of the National Tube Company, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, McKeesport was the fastest growing municipality in the nation. Families arrived from other parts of the eastern United States, Italy, Germany, Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, with most working at the National Tube Company.


McKeesport rose to national importance during the 1900s as a center for manufacturing steel. The city's population reached a peak of 55,355 in 1940

National Tube closed in the 1980s, along with other U.S. Steel plants in the Mon Valley. The city with the help of regional development agencies has conducted efforts to revitalize the former mill sites.

Kennedy-Nixon debate

Thirteen years before both faced off in some of the most memorable televised Presidential debates, future presidents (and contemporary U.S. Representatives) Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy met in McKeesport for their first of five debates on April 22, 1947, to debate labor issues.


McKeesport is located at 40°20′38″N 79°50′56″W / 40.34389°N 79.84889°W / 40.34389; -79.84889 (40.343919, -79.848844). McKeesport is about 12 miles (19 km) upstream from (south of) Pittsburgh, at the confluence of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.4 square miles (14 km2), of which 5.0 square miles (13 km2) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2), or 7.06%, is water.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, McKeesport has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.

Climate data for McKeesport, Pennsylvania
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 3.9
Average low °C (°F) -5.6
Precipitation mm (inches) 69
Source: Weatherbase

Demographics and culture

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 1,392
1860 2,166 55.6%
1870 2,523 16.5%
1880 8,212 225.5%
1890 20,741 152.6%
1900 34,227 65.0%
1910 42,694 24.7%
1920 46,781 9.6%
1930 54,632 16.8%
1940 55,355 1.3%
1950 51,502 −7.0%
1960 45,489 −11.7%
1970 37,977 −16.5%
1980 31,012 −18.3%
1990 26,016 −16.1%
2000 24,040 −7.6%
2010 19,731 −17.9%
Est. 2015 19,453 −1.4%

The population has fallen to little more than a third of its wartime high, with the 2010 census recording fewer than twenty thousand residents in contrast to the fifty-five thousand of 1940.

As of the census of 2000, there were 24,040 people, 9,655 households, and 5,976 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,806.9 people per square mile (1,856.4/km²). There were 11,124 housing units at an average density of 2,224.3 per square mile (859.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 72.40% White, 24.46% African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.59% from other races, and 2.14% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.50% of the population.

There were 9,655 households, out of which 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.7% were married couples living together, 21.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.1% were non-families. 33.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.4% under 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 24.8% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 20.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40. For every 100 females, there were 84.8 males; for every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $23,715, and the median income for a family was $31,577. Males had a median income of $27,412 versus $21,977 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,242. About 18.1% of families and 23.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35.9% of those under age 18 and 12.1% of those age 65 or over.

McKeesport's population is a diverse mix of races and nationalities. As a celebration of these heritages, McKeesport hosts an annual ethnic food festival and community celebration referred to as International Village. Started in 1960, the three-day festival is one of the Pittsburgh-area's largest and oldest ethnic festivals and features traditional cuisines from Africa, China, Croatia, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hawaii, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, the Mediterranean, Mexico, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, and Vietnam.

Community services

Police and law enforcement

The McKeesport Police department (McKPD) has 55 full time and 10 part time officers, plus a number of civilian support staff and clerks. At any given time, the patrol division has 6 to 10 officers on duty in cars throughout the City with a Lieutenant and Sergeant in charge. It is one of the few departments in Allegheny County with its own Detective Bureau and Traffic Division. The McKeesport Detective Bureau consists of 4 investigative divisions: Juvenile, Narcotics, Computer Crimes, and Criminal. It operates closely with the Allegheny County Police Department which has a station in nearby White Oak. As of July 2013, the department has units that participate in Crime Prevention Programs including D.A.R.E., River Rescue, C.O.P.S., D.O.T., and Bike Patrol. It also has several special unit including Detectives, Traffic and K-9.

McKPD operates a large fleet of Ford Crown Victoria's, F-550s, Chevrolet Impalas and SUVs for patrol duties. In addition, it jointly operates a rescue boat with the McKeesport Fire Department.

Fire department

As of July 3, 2013, the McKeesport Fire Department has two fully staffed fire stations. Station #1 is the administrative headquarters for the Fire Department and is located in the Public Safety Building (formerly the City Hall building) at 201 Lysle Blvd next to the Downtown business district. The minimum staffing for Station #1 on standby is three firefighters, however it is often staffed by four firefighters. Station No. 2 is located at the intersection of Eden Park Blvd. and Tulip Drive in Renziehausen Park. The minimum staffing for Station #2 on standby is two firefighters, however this station is sometimes staffed with three firefighters. In 2011, several members of the department completed training to become certified at the Technician Level for water rescue. The Fire Department also became a participating member of the Allegheny County Swiftwater/Flood Response Team.

As of July 3, 2013, the McKeeesport Fire Department is equipped with the following:

Engine 190: 2008 Seagrave Marauder II 2000GPM,
Ladder 190: 2001 E-One HP75' Sidestacker 2000GPM,
Command 190: 2013 Tahoe Command Vehicle,
Boat 190: 24' Firehawk Harbor Guard Boat,
Engine 190-X: 1996 KME Renegade


Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in McKeesport are provided by McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Service (MARS) which operates three Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances 24-hours a day. They are based at 1604 Evans Avenue, McKeesport, PA 15132. The closest hospital, UPMC McKeesport does not operate any ambulances of its own. MARS provides emergency medical services to the residents of McKeesport, Duquesne, Port Vue and Dravosburg. Additionally, MARS employs approximately 50 Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians who respond to approximately 6,000 - 7,000 emergencies annually.


Founded in 1894, UPMC McKeesport offers 216 beds for acute care patients and 56 beds for patients who need skilled nursing care. Located at 1500 Fifth Ave, the hospital joined the UPMC network in April 1998. In addition to an Intensive Care Unit and Cardiac Care Unit, the hospital offers ongoing rehabilitation and educational programs to patients with cardiac, neurologic, and orthopaedic diagnoses. A new, state-of-the-art emergency room opened in December 1999.

Surrounding and adjacent communities


  • Renziehausen Park Rose Garden and Arboretum
  • Penn State University - Greater Allegheny Campus
  • McKeesport Area High School
  • Great Allegheny Passage Trail
  • Steel Valley Trail
  • Youghiogheny River Trail
  • St Mary's German Church
  • First Methodist Episcopal Church of McKeesport
  • Carnegie Free Library
  • Jerome Street Bridge
  • McKeesport Marina
  • McKeesport National Bank
  • Dead Man's Hollow


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