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Homestead, Pennsylvania
The Bost Building, built in 1892, was AA union headquarters during the Homestead Strike that year, and today is a National Historic Landmark and museum of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area
The Bost Building, built in 1892, was AA union headquarters during the Homestead Strike that year, and today is a National Historic Landmark and museum of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area
Location in Allegheny County and the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
Location in Allegheny County and the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
Coordinates: 40°24′22″N 79°54′44″W / 40.40611°N 79.91222°W / 40.40611; -79.91222
CountryUnited States
 • MayorBetty Esper
 • Total0.64 sq mi (1.66 km2)
 • Land0.58 sq mi (1.49 km2)
 • Water0.07 sq mi (0.17 km2)
 • Total2,884
 • Density5,006.94/sq mi (1,932.88/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code412
FIPS code42-35424

Homestead is a borough in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States, along the Monongahela River 7 miles (11 km) southeast of downtown Pittsburgh. The borough is known for the Homestead strike of 1892, an important event in the history of labor relations in the United States. The population was 2,884 at the 2020 census.[3] It is part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area.


See also: Homestead strike

A 1902 map of Homestead

The area on the south bank of the Monongahela River now comprising the boroughs of Homestead, Munhall and West Homestead saw the first white settlers arrive in the 1770s. One hundred years later, much of the existing farmland on the flats and hillsides by the river was purchased, laid out in lots and sold by local banks and land owners to create the town of Homestead. The town was chartered in 1880. The building of a railroad, glass factory, and in 1881 the first iron mill began a period of rapid growth and prosperity. In 1883, Andrew Carnegie bought out Homestead Steel Works, adding it to his empire of steel and coke enterprises. Carnegie had recently acquired a controlling interest in Henry Clay Frick's coke works on the Monongahela, setting the stage for the dramatic labor clash in Homestead.

Homestead gained international notoriety in July 1892 as the site of a violent clash between locked-out steelworkers and hired Pinkerton guards, known as the Homestead Strike. When Henry Clay Frick, manager for Andrew Carnegie, owner of the local Homestead Steel Works, announced in the spring of 1892 that skilled workers would receive a reduction in wages, the advisory committee of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers refused to sign a new contract. Carnegie's management locked the workforce out, declaring that the union would no longer be recognized at the steel works.

State militia passing the railroad station to disperse groups of strikers.

To break the strike and secure the mill from the disgruntled workers, industrialist Henry Clay Frick hired hundreds of armed toughs from the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. When barges carrying the Pinkertons arrived at the mill on the morning of July 6, workers and townspeople met them at the riverbanks. Though eyewitness accounts differed on which side first fired a shot, a day-long armed battle ensued which resulted in eleven deaths and dozens of injuries. The governor of Pennsylvania eventually called out the National Guard to restore order to the town and take control of the mill. Frick successfully destroyed the union in Homestead and, by extension, in most of his other steel mills through the nation. The "Battle of Homestead," as the event came to be known, represented a stunning setback for unionization in the highly mechanized steel industry. It also set the stage for the future steel strike of 1919, in which Homestead played an important role.

At the turn of the 20th century, in 1900, the population of Homestead was 12,554 people, of whom some 7,000 were employed in the plants. Due mostly to immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe, by 1910 the population jumped to 18,713, then to 20,452 in 1920. In the first decade of the 20th century, Homestead was studied as part of the sociological Pittsburgh Survey, the results of which were eventually published as Homestead: The Households of a Mill Town.

"Steel for Victory. Many scenes filmed at Homestead."

In 1940, 19,041 people lived in Homestead. During the early 1940s half the population was displaced as the United States government added to the steel mills to have the capacity for armor plating for ships and tanks (preparing for World War II).[4] After the end of the war, a decline in the steel-making industry of the United States took place.

By 1980, it had become difficult to obtain employment at the Homestead Works, which was not producing much steel at that time. In 1986, the mill closed. The Homestead Works was demolished in the early 1990s, replaced in 1999 by The Waterfront shopping mall. As a direct result of the loss of mill employment, the number of people living in Homestead dwindled. By the time of the 2010 census, the borough population was 3,165. The borough began financially recovering in 2002, with the enlarging retail tax base.


Homestead is located at 40°24′18″N 79°54′28″W / 40.40500°N 79.90778°W / 40.40500; -79.90778 (40.405069, −79.907785).[5] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2), of which 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2), or 11.11%, is water.

Surrounding neighborhoods

Homestead has two land borders, including Munhall to the east and south, and West Homestead to the west. Across the Monongahela River to the north, Homestead runs adjacent with the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Squirrel Hill South (direct connection via Homestead Grays Bridge) and Swisshelm Park.


Historical population

As of the 2000 census,[7] there were 3,569 people, 1,607 households, and 843 families residing in the borough. The population density was 6,281.6 inhabitants per square mile (2,425.3/km2). There were 2,071 housing units at an average density of 3,645.0 per square mile (1,407.3/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 42.64% White, 51.30% African American, 0.25% Native American, 2.83% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 2.72% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.62% of the population.

There were 1,607 households, out of which 24.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 23.3% were married couples living together, 24.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.5% were non-families. 42.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 19.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the borough, the population was spread out, with 24.2% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 18.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 80.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.1 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $16,603, and the median income for a family was $28,314. Males had a median income of $25,500 versus $21,559 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $12,690. About 23.0% of families and 26.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.0% of those under age 18 and 16.8% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

Much of Homestead and some of the surrounding communities are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Homestead Historic District. This historic district encompasses the site of the Homestead Strike of 1892, when the Carnegie Steel Company, under the leadership of Henry Clay Frick, broke the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers union.[11] Of note is the Bost Building, a restored brick structure that served as headquarters for the strikers during the 1892 strike by workers at Carnegie Steel. The Bost Building was declared a National Landmark in 1999 and now houses a museum related to the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.[12]

The Carnegie Library of Homestead was opened to the public in 1898. It was the sixth library commissioned by Andrew Carnegie in the U.S. and the seventh to open. It is the third oldest Carnegie library in continuous operation in its original structure in the U.S. after the Main Branch and Lawrenceville Branch of Pittsburgh.[13]

The historic St Nicholas Carpatho-Rusyn church, built in 1937, serves the local Rusyn community. Its domes were built using steel from local mills.[14]

In 2000, Continental Real Estate Companies opened The Waterfront, a super-regional open air shopping mall built on the former site of the Homestead Steel Works. Most of the structures associated with the steel mills on this site were demolished during construction, although some of the brick stacks from the mill still stand. In addition, near the river is a former mill structure known as the Pump House which was restored by the developer.

The Great Allegheny Passage, part of a shared-use path connecting Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., runs through the borough parallel to the river.

Government and politics

Presidential election results[15][16][17]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2020 13% 205 85% 1,276 0.7% 11
2016 11% 166 87% 1,270 4% 23
2012 8% 129 91% 1,396 1% 5


An important state route, Pennsylvania Route 837, runs through Homestead. Interstate 376 is only a few miles away from Homestead. For public transit, the Port Authority of Allegheny County has several bus routes running through Homestead that go to downtown Pittsburgh and to McKeesport.

Homestead is served by three railroads: the Norfolk Southern, CSX Transportation and the Union Railroad. All three used to have large operations when the Homestead steel mill was open. Now that the mill has closed, only one company, WHEMCO, is served by the railroad. The Union Railroad had a large yard to serve the Homestead Works, which is now Waterfront Drive.

Notable people

Further information: Category:People from Homestead, Pennsylvania



  1. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Census Population API". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  3. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Homestead borough, Pennsylvania". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  4. ^ Miner, Curtis; Roberts, Paul (February 10, 2015). "Engineering an Industrial Diaspora: Homestead, 1941". Western Pennsylvania History: 1918 - 2018. Pittsburgh History: 4–25. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  6. ^ "1990 Population and Housing Counts". US Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  7. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  8. ^ "Number of Inhabitants: Pennsylvania" (PDF). 18th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  9. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  10. ^ "Number of Inhabitants-Pennsylvania" (PDF). Seventeenth Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  11. ^ James, Earl D.; Walter Kidney; Lu Donnelly; Patricia Sands (1990). "Homestead Historic District" (PDF). National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  12. ^ Gerald M. Kuncio and John W. Bond (March 17, 1998). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Bost Building / Columbia Hotel" (pdf). National Park Service. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ Historic Landmark Plaques 1968-2009 (PDF). Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. 2010. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  14. ^ "St. Nicholas Orthodox Church ::: St. Nicholas Center".
  15. ^ EL. "2012 Allegheny County election". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  16. ^ EL. "2016 Pennsylvania general election results". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  17. ^ "Election Night Reporting".

Further reading