Thursday, November 17, 2011

McKeesport: "Long-Abandoned Ruins of the Dreams You Left Behind"

McKeesport was once a major, bustling city, with a population of over 50,000 people. It was the second largest city in Allegheny County, behind Pittsburgh. Downtown McKeesport was full of people during the day, from office workers and steel-workers to shoppers. McKeesport boasted several fine department stores, movie palaces, restaurants, and nightlife. The residential areas included streets with many fine mansions. The city was hit hard by surburbanization in the 1960s, when Eastland Mall opened and retail began trickling out. In 1976, several downtown landmarks and city blocks burned to the ground. By the 1980s, the collapse of the steel industry put the final nail in McKeesport's coffin. The city today is a hollow shell of what it once was. The population stands at 19,731, a far cry from its glory days. There are abandoned buildings all around, many with historic character and significance. Many more have fallen down and burned over the decades, leaving great empty parcels of urban prairie. Still, there are some gorgeous buildings left, like some of the ones I have photographed below.

Evans Street


"East Park"

Evans Street


Carnegie Library of McKeesport - Library Avenue. Built 1902.


Olive Street







McKeesport skyline, from Port Vue.




View of Downtown McKeesport.


Victorian overlooking Downtown McKeesport from Port Vue.











Shaw Avenue - Millionaire's Row




A pair of abandoned Victorians on Shaw Avenue.





Downtown McKeesport

City Hall and YMCA

Fifth Avenue

"Masonic Temple"



A McKeesport landmark, built 1866.

The faded "Penn-McKee Hotel" was once McKeesport's grand hotel. It is now vacant and shuttered.


There were originally many examples of Italianate architecture in McKeesport's old neighborhoods near downtown, but most have fallen down or are vacant shells.


Abandoned church. Yes, it's a Brownstone!


Evans Street

"Shotgun" houses on Scott Street.

"Shotgun" Houses on Scott Street Rear (alley)

Abandoned mansion near Colfax and Park Street.



Madison Street


Corner of Jenny Lind Street and Scott Street

Park Street

Park Street

Park Street











Olive Street

91 comments:

  1. One correction, Jonathan: The Redevelopment Authority only took possession of 626 Market St. (the former Eagles lodge) this year. It's been deteriorating for many years. It was previously owned by something called the "Museum Hair Institute."

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    1. The last time I was home. The Eagles building was demolished. It was also very sad to see St. Peter's Church gone. I grew up in McKeesport and it was a wonderful thriving place to grow up. So sad to see it now.

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  2. AnonymousMay 20, 2012

    Last time I was in town I rode down to look at those houses (cuz I love them and would sink everything I had into them given the chance) I did not know the names of the streets and I could not find them. were they demolished? My father bought a former funeral home on Jenny Lind in McKeesport and gutted it and redid it. It is his wish to get a tax base back into that city and restore it. Unfortunatley his house is almost like a 10k sqft embassy or island -we are safe inside but after dark we hear gunshots etc..He has tried to get the city to see him the half burnt down building across the street for parking and gardening but they would rather let a dilapidated house stand then work through the paperwork. Another thing is all the riverfront propety US Steele is sitting on and not developing or using--develop...make it better...or forfeit I say.-- T. Turnbull

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    1. My granduncle Richard Fait once owned a funeral home on Jenny Lind.

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    2. I have been in the house...Your father is a wonderful man and I wish he had the energy to run for city office...after speaking to him, he makes me want to move back to the hometown that I once loved! McKeesport needs more people like him!

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    3. I have seen photos of the house your father restored. I hope to visit him on my next trip home and see his handiwork first hand.

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    4. That would be a great idea to garden the land next to your fathers place shame on the city of McKeesport

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    5. This is Tami-Duane's daughter. The owner of the house at Jenny Lind and Soles Street (and the first comment above lol). Yes Richard Fait used to own th home when it was a funeral home. My father's girlfriend is his daughter Marlene. She lives there now with my Dad. Tommy Turnbull is my cousin, and my Uncle Tom (Tommy's father) was a McKeesport Police Officer. He passed a few years ago -he was my favorite -he is very missed.
      Thank you for your kind words about my Dad. He has gone to bat for the city-and I have helped him put together plans/slideshows.graphics etc for revitalization. My father has been ill recently, I am heading up there in a week 1/2. I hope to do some exploring and get him out too. I hope that the homes on Shaw are still there as they are my favorites. Thanks again.

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  3. AnonymousMay 25, 2012

    Recently bought a house in McKeesport on foreclosure. After sinking considerable money and time I have to say in the beginning I did not like the area, but after seeing it come to life, have started to see it in a new light. The areas in question, are a lot of the inner parts where you find abandoned housing, etc. These slowly being sold off, and you may start to see a revival of the area. They police I have to say from watching them in my experiences are extremely pro-active. Have noticed, when they get a serious call, they are on it like no tomorrow. With that said, I believe, based on actions of people like myself willing to come in and invest and help bring the area new life. It will be a matter of no time before this area comes back. Not sure to its full glory, but it will come back, there is no doubt in my mind. Its just a matter of unloading the houses to new owners that are willing to come in and invest. Either provide motivation through tax rebates, and discounts for the larger buildings, even providing tax-free incentives to investors willing to take the risk or possibly bring jobs. Its really the attitude of the local politicians. I'm coming from Long Island, NY and I'm willing to give McKeesport a chance. McKeesport is no different than parts of Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx in my opinion. Regards, SH.

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  4. AnonymousMay 30, 2012

    So sad to see what's become of my old home town. I remember many of the buildings shown and walked past most of them in my youth. Even the old Penn-McKee where my wife and I had our wedding reception back in '79.

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  5. diane mihucJune 27, 2012

    MOST OF THA FALL BESIDE THE STEEL MILLS....WAS the hud projerct that movesd harrison village into houses that hud bought....the new 'OWNERS" COULD NOT MAINTAIN THE HOUSES ... on their walfare and food stamp budget... and the increase of drug CRACK HOUSES....brouht the neighborhood down those who could move did....including my parents,brother ,sister and myself.....ex DUQUESNE AVE...had an apt building that was turned into A CRACK HOUSE....the city had to tear it down to get the filth out of it..... as go MCkeesport....

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  6. Hi Jonathon, I seen your blog page but first I seen the two Victorian houses on Pinterest

    and fall in love, I am a interior designer and it hurt me to see the historic houses

    that ones have been some ones home and pride just standing there and falling

    in pieces. Thank you for sharing with us all those amazing photos.

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  7. It all started in the mid 1970's when the older original residents started to die off and their family wanted no part of the city. We lived in the heart of 7th ward and my parents had several businesses within that area. Our family was very large with many uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters and not one lived in McKeesport after 1979 except for my grandparents (both deceased by 1984). My parents decided enough was enough in 1977 and moved. The problems was not with one group but the overall trash that moved into the areas and into homes that were transformed into section 8 housing. You had for a very long time people who cared about their neighborhoods, schools and city but that all changes when you have people renting and no responsibilities. I love McKeesport and have written many articles about the city but gave up hope many years ago. You know most of those homes that you see along Shaw avenue etc were built by my great grandfather and grandfather along with other family members when they were very young. I was absolutely sick when I drove down Jenny Lind Street 6 years ago and from that point on I never returned to see what has turned into a nightmare. McKeesport had many chances to turn itself around throughout the 1980's and 1990's but failed leadership wanted no parts of any improvement. They would of rather collect government grant money to keep the street lights on instead of improving the overall quality of life in that once great town. The other problem was also the age and neglect that sent many of these great homes into rubble. In 1987 there was a push to preserve many if not all of the great homes in areas like Shaw Ave, Library, Jenny Lind, Versailles Ave etc but like anything else it a collective effort of many to make it happen and nobody wanted to step up to the plate and make it happen. We see the results. To close my heart just sinks seeing the pictures of these once great homes, homes that I can vividly remember visiting as a child. Mckeesport is just a memory in my book.

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    1. I am from McKeesport also. Upper Soles St., my mother was from Jenny Lind. I went to Centennial And South Park Schools. Also relatives lived in Grandview and Haler Hgts. Drove around last time and our house on Soles St. Was gone. Such a shame the town is on its shape! So close to Pittsburgh where there are jobs. Would think people would bring back McKeesport. It was a wonderful place to grow up!

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  8. My dad was born in Mckeesport and so was I. I moved to Florida more than 15 years ago and it's sad to see it so broken and withered. I wish I could go back in time and see some of these beautiful homes in their heyday. What did they look like, who lived there, did they sit on those massive porches in the summer?

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    1. yes we did sit on those massive porches, and sleep on them at night, and run the streets with no crime just harmless fun!

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  9. I am so sad that McKeesport looks even worse than the last time I visited there(2003). My relatives grew up there and I can remember attending several weddings and Christmas parties in the Penn-McKee Hotel. I grew up in Port Vue and I cannot even count how many hundreds of times I have crossed the Fifth Ave Bridge to go shopping downtown. I hope that the positive comments about people investing and cleaning up the area do indeed happen, although some things have deteriorated so badly from age and neglect. I do wish to thank Jonathon Denson for publishing this for us to view.

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  10. I moved to McKeesport about three years ago from the west coast and have seen some inprovement. I respect and admire the history of McKeesport and have hope for its future. The only way that it will get better though is if we stop saying "it USED to be great and now its just a pit", this is my home now and I am tyred of people that lived here 20 years ago bashing the city.

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  11. I have friends that live in McKeesport who were born and raised there. Although crime is a problem (hey, where isn't it these days?) they couldn't imagine living anywhere else. My valley (The Alle-Kiski Valley) has managed to survive well but mainly because our steel industry never disappeared and is actually growing again! Anywhere you go, there needs to be some elbow grease applied to some part of a region. It's people with hardcore dedication, like my friends, who are needed to ensure areas such as McKeesport will survive and flourish.

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  12. I have friends that live in McKeesport who were born and raised there. Although crime is a problem (hey, where isn't it these days?) they couldn't imagine living anywhere else. My valley (The Alle-Kiski Valley) has managed to survive well but mainly because our steel industry never disappeared and is actually growing again! Anywhere you go, there needs to be some elbow grease applied to some part of a region. It's people with hardcore dedication, like my friends, who are needed to ensure areas such as McKeesport will survive and flourish.

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  13. born in Monessen,pa, a ghost town now, moved to mck. in 1955. educated my children in st. Stephen and st. Mary's schools, mck. public schools and serra h.s. mck was a boon town, loved the five and ten stores. sad the mills went out, my six children live all over the country now and I live in n.c. all different nationalities in mck, enjoyed mck. church fairs and music and food. great memories

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  14. Born in McKeesport and worked at National Tube. Was back in the city in October and visited the Tenth Ward district where i lived. It was so sad to see the house i grew up in so run down and houses on blocks boarded, Drove threw downtown in the afternoon and it was a ghost town. McKeesport was never a ghost town. SO SAD.

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  15. My mom actually still lives in the green the shootgun house in your pic labled shotgun houses scott street rear. The alley way is called Irene Alley beautiful pictures. I forgot what it looked like there I live in n.c. now have been traveling with my husband in the army.

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  16. I was born & raised in McK. each time I look at pics of McK, I expect to see the house I was raised in. Mom sold it a year before she died b/c the man next door was throwing flaming wads of paper onto her back porch. (Police did little about it.) When I lived in McK (1938 - '73) it was fairly prosperous town b/c the mills were working. the rise of industry in Europe & Asia, & increased union wages, brought about the decline of US industry. Thank you for posting these pics & for moving to McK to help restore the town.

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  17. I worked what started out to be Equibank in McKeesport for several years, later on I heard that the Waterfront wanted to build in McKeesport but the people running the city at the time turned them down.

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    1. That is true. Before they even built the Waterfront in Homestead,they offered to build it in McKeesport. Washowich who was mayor at the time,turned down the offer because he didn't think it would be prosperous. That deal could have turned this city around.

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    2. no anonymous it was the housing dept not the city that did not want to sell the land for the waterfront........

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  18. we live in McKeesport now. Up on the hill from the school off Grand View. Our neighborhood isn't really that bad, but sadly... when you get into the areas of those huge beautiful historical sites the surrounding areas are nothing but trash, ghetto punks & section 8 rift raft who don't give 2 sh*ts about the area.

    I pass a few humongous homes when I drive the back way into downtown through the ghetto areas... I'd love to buy one or a few and restore them using original material (if reclaimable). But not until the 5-6 police officers they say is on duty at any given time can do anything about the crime.

    Those homes have got to be 8 bedrooms & over 5,000 sq ft.

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    1. Thought I'd reply to my own...

      We once had a neighborhood meeting and Mayor Cherepko came out. He told us that they were doing demo here and there due to limited $ on hand. If they do a bunch at a time the EPA and other costs skyrocket due to hazardous material collection & handling so they can only do a small number.

      He did mention to the homeowners if a house next to them was vacant and/or was unsafe for living to see him and he'd look into scheduling a demo & for them to possibly buy the lot from the city at a great price. Cool dude I thought.

      So many of the houses are on top of each other, who wouldn't want an expanded yard and still live in their historical house?!

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  19. My grandma used to live on Park St. and I remember some of the houses shown. I was baptized, confirmed, married in and had all three of my children baptized in the church pictured, St. Stephen's Roman Catholic Church. My mom grew up there and attended St Stephens school. It broke her heart when that church was closed. It is heart breaking to see all the run down homes.

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  20. It brakes my heart to see St. Stepens church like that sometimes I wish they would tear it down I loved growing up in Mckeesort we had it all I and now its sad to know what it use to be and whats its become

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  21. I'm Sorry I grew up in Mckeesport but I have to admit that it is sad what happened. Maybe if they would start making people pay for thier homes and not just being section 8 or really cheap houses people would want to move back into there its not safe at this point by no means. People who live there from my experience are either ghetto or try their hardest to be ghetto like it cool these days. It makes my sick how such a beautiful town turned to this. I personally have a certain type of people that I blame it on and no its not just race its the whole personality thats down there its just trashy, white or black it doesnt matter trash is trash and just like cockroaches they all attract to each other.

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  22. I actually took a lot of the same photos that you have when I was in college for photography. Even though it looks so desolate, there's still some beauty to it. At least there is to me.

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  23. We traded tradition for progress and now we have neither!

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  24. Greed killed the city. Too many people trying to wring the life out of the few things that made money. Politicians, the Mob, entitlement slaves... I grew up there and watched it be stripped down almost brick by brick. The Lyndon Johnson Great Society was neither great nor society... it just created a generation of slaves to serve the Democratic masters. The Unions and the Mobs choked the life out of the businesses there and eventually the largest companies could no longer compete. We used to make things that mattered. But the unions made sure nothing would ever grow again in that poisoned land. The best thing that could happen for McKeesport is for every building to be razed and let go back to seed. Then give it back to the Indian tribes that once freely roamed the land between the rivers living in harmony.

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    1. Best Comment on this page...

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    2. Amen!!!

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    3. Well said.

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  25. I lived on Park Street as a child, as did my grandfather and uncle. It is so hard to think about how it's deteriorated. I remember walking (unsupervised!) with my cousins and sisters to the lower "park," and walking up the hill past the church to visit my pappy.

    The house we lived in is gone now. It was my other grandfather's house and I am glad he didn't live to see it torn down.

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  26. THanks for posting this! I grew up in McKeesport.

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  27. of couse my post didnt get posted, it was only the truth

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  28. Thanks for posting. I remember these old buildings as they were when I was growing up there in the 1960s and 1970s. I worked at G.C. Murphy's during high school and college. I always imagined that I would live in McKeesport all my life. But I moved away after college and marriage, living in Florida these past 30 years. I still have family in the area but don't get back often to visit. There were run down areas of Florida - yes ! - that have been rebuilt and restored. I hope that there will be interest in saving some of these structures and that families will return. I loved growing up there.

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  29. I was born in McKeesport, lived on Jenny Lind street first for a few years. My father had an apartment in 5th Avenue. I haven't been there since 1985. I remember a lot of these old buildings and sites...thank you for posting them even though it's so sad to see everything crumbling.


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  30. Born and raised in McK--I still live on Shaw, ironically in the house captioned: "Once grand homes on Shaw Avenue." This is my childhood home, I've been here 18 years and to see the way it's changed is both heart-breaking and inspiring

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  31. Joanne WelchDecember 18, 2013

    If only I won the mega millions last night! Love these old houses and almost bought one on Park Street years ago. They almost seem to wisper," Someone help me." Although some look like they are taking their last breath and have been ravaged by a cancer of neglect.

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  32. Anyone that believes that the city will tear down the abandon houses take a ride up on bailey ave , all they do Is repo cars and let all the city workers use them at the tax payers pay for the gas and up keep on them . The city Is in ruins due to the ex mayor brewster who distroyed the city and didn't care less now he's a senator and his daughter is ln city council guess most in the city are getting paid off by him and his staff

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  33. The house on the right in the 2 millionaire's houses on Shaw Avenue was where me and my first wife had our first apartment. Shortly after we were married we bought a house on Evans Avenue, which was really Evans Street and we had our first child. My brother worked at the Penn McKee hotel as a bellhop and made very good tips before being drafted into the Army near the end of WWII. and my wife and friends used to go tto the Penn Mckee Hotel on Saturday night to dance to the now almost extinct "big bands" and then go to the diner (cannot remember the name) acrosss from the B&O RR station to have breakfast in the early morning hours. Unfortunately I do not think it will ever recover w/o some creative thinking and the public wanting to educate themselves and their children. The way to remember it is from the golden years when you could hardly get through the crowds on Saturday night in downtown Mckeesport. Does anybody remember Balsamo's with the sawdust on the floors and the restaurant with roast beef cooking in the window on Fifth Avenue next to the Capitaol Theater? I think the name of the restaurant was Eddy's.

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    1. Thanks for the memories dad, good to hear stories of you and mom.

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  34. Wow! Great work! I had a couple friends and family members that shared this on facebook. I almost didn't realize how much of a connection I had growing up a few miles away. But in your photos you captured great pictures of two places I worked as a teen and then in my 20's along with where I went to my first years of school K, 1 and 2. Along with the church I made my first holy communion. I'm just 35 and haven't lived in the area for almost 10 years now.

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  35. The name of the diner next to the B&O tracks was called the Club Car..fried shrimp for .35. Two Balsamo's shopping bags were considered matched luggage.

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    1. Never was there, but my grandma was a waitress there for years.

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    2. The Club Car was a McKeesport institution. Ate there MANY, MANY times with my mother. Fantastic food...so sorry it no longer exists!

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  36. What a wonderful trip down memory lane. Too bad the city has deteriorated to this point. I grew up in White Oak and remember going Downtown with my mother and sister to shop at Cox's and the thrill of going upstairs to the children's department. My great aunt worked in the restaurant at Rigg's and we'd always stop there for a meal. Getting our Christmas dresses and Easter dresses was always such a great time. Shopping at the Famous for back to school was always a favorite of mine. Don't forget all of those Saturday afternoon double features long before Eastland came in with it's huge theaters!
    I've been gone for 40 years but my mom still lives there. It was a great city to grow up in, where else could you ice skate on a frozen pond in the middle of the city? (Lake Emily at Renzie)
    I hope that someday it can all be restored to it's beautiful past.

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  37. I went to St. Stephen's Church growing up. It was so sad when the Catholic Diocese shut down that church. It was soooo beautiful.
    All of these buildings should be restored.

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    1. My family were members of St. Stephen's since the beginning. I was at the 95th. anniversary and while the facility was beautiful the congregation was shrinking. There was little hope for inner city parishes. The beautiful St. Mary German, Holy Trinity Slovak, St Pius and the historic St. Peter were torn down. Sacred Heart was sold and St. Stephen's was sold and is currently in ruins. I lived in a beautiful home on Jenny Lind that I see is under foreclosure and the house next door is gutted and in ruins. McKeesport is always in my heart and I hope one day for a brighter future.

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  38. I live in kansas now, but when i go to mckeesport to visit my family i feel like im taking a trip through a recording of The Walking Dead

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    1. That's what makes it such an interesting and unique place. Alice in Wonderland.

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  39. My grandfather, and two uncles were past masters in the McKeesport Masonic lodge. I learned to play basketball at the YMCA when I was a kid in the early 80's. McKeesport may look dead but the memories of that old town are still very much alive.

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  40. I lived on Jenny Lind in the 50's and my dad worked for Finney Funeral home next door. Went to the YMCA to swim and play Duck Pin Bowling, worked as an usher at the Memorial Theater and used to have lunch at the Club Car and Murphy's. What nice memories

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  41. I am a fourth generation McKeesporter. My great grandfather emigrated here from Ireland, and worked as a contractor specializing in carpentry and masonry. He built many of the huge Victorian style homes along Versailles Avenue, Park Street and Huey Street. The architecture and woodwork incorporated in these homes was elegant, just beautiful. My mother grew up in a house that her grandfather built on Versailles Avenue. The house had five fireplaces and two carved wooden staircases. I saw the interior of this house only once, when I was about 23 years old (about 31 years ago). I remember thinking that it was one of the most beautiful homes I had ever seen. The house is still standing, although it looks as if it has been turned into apartments. The exterior woodwork hasn't been painted in decades, there are cracks in the brickwork and concrete , and the house is falling apart. Three houses across the street have been abandoned for years. It just breaks my heart to see such beauty and elegance go to hell like that. My wife and I now live in a very well preserved Sears & Roebuck catalogue house just off Jenny Lind Street. Our home is very well cared for, but there are abandoned houses all through our neighborhood, with one right across the street. At what point do people just stop caring about history and give up? With us, it's almost to that point. Soon it will be time to leave.

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  42. I was looking back on my youth today and remembered the wonderful smell and feel of the sawdust underfoot when we entered the market. The barrels with pasta of all shapes and sized and the wonderful deli delights. I grew up around McKeesport (Dravosburg?) and remember the street cars, the Christmas carols playing when we went Christmas shopping and all the other wonderful things about the area. What are the prices on the homes?????

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  43. Striffler's Family Funeral Home, in the building built in 1886 is still operating! (Fourth or Fifth Generation!!)

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  44. My grandmother worked at Tube, my mother grew up in McKeesport, and I lived off and on in White Oak before finally graduating McKeesport High. Summers swimming at Renzie Park or Rainbow Gardens, glazed donuts at Feig's Bakery, chasing fire flies at dusk after the games of kick the can wound down, walking 2 miles with 8 friends to the Stop & Go out on Lincoln Way to buy baseball cards and Slushees, delivering the Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Press for about 20 bucks a week including tips; we were poor as hell but never felt it was "somebody else's fault", and knew if somebody threw a few stones at us on our paper routes, we never said "it's because we're black or brown or an immigrant...", we just knew it was how things always have been and always will be with the human race, ignorant people will always be around, and 'hey, that's life brutha, sometimes it ain't easy'. That was the spirit of Old America. But that spirit is fading away, while our borders are invaded by hoards of people who don't love this country for its ideals; or ransacked by some of its actual citizens, such as those in Ferguson, always looking for somebody else to blame and their base, low culture spewing ugliness and insanity; they loot and burn like animals when a rare instance of a white on black killing occurs, while they kill their own in staggering numbers, week after week, year after year, their leaders nettled with a low I.Q. greed that completely overrides their compassion towards children of their own race, the true victims. And the rest of us, the intellectually gifted, can only be silent while watching America fade; and now of course almost everybody sees that Obama has been the sealing wax on the whole ugly package. So look at those pictures of present day McKeesport. And see the coming face of America. United States of McKeesport. Thank you liberals! Wish we had the high gates around our mansions like you! Wish we had doormen and limousines like you! Wish we had your private schools and hospitals! Oh well. You constantly fooled 47% of the population, and got the votes of the naive and narcissistic young people. You won. The end.

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    1. Well said !!!!!!!!

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    2. well, now its gone full circle, mckeesport was a wonderful place to grow up, then the suburbs took over, now the suburbs are trash, the human trash have won the war. it'll never come back. the best and brightest have left permanently. all thats left is overwhelming depression and crime. the liberals have destroyed my country. i feel soooo sorry for
      kids growing up in the mon valley, they will grow up to have moslem masters, mexican masters, sexually perverted masters. goodbye mon valley forever......

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    3. I left when I could no longer get a skyscraper ice cream cone at Isaly's.
      Had I known there were still a few "intellectually gifted" hanging around, no doubt waxing sentimental on the lawn behind the Carnegie Library, I might have reconsidered.
      We could have had great fun picking apart every liberal we ever knew who complained they had to walk to school.

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    4. Yep you are right...I grew up in White Oak and remember everything you said and went back in 1995 to take care of my Dad and could not understand what happened to it either! I left in 74 and did not go back till 95. Big change! WOW

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  45. Nickie Ochoa BesawDecember 02, 2014

    I was born in McKeesport in 1954 in lived right in the middle of town. My grandmother was Nicolene Mustacchio of Mustacchio's Restaurant on Locust Street and my mother (Vernie Ochoa) and I lived right above it with her. I remember actually getting "dressed up" just to go to the Memorial Theater or shopping! My how times have changed. Then there was the 7am shift coming out of the mills to stop at our restaurant and others for their beverages! I remember seeing JFK when he spoke and was at the dedication of the park in his name. We later moved up the hill to Union Avenue a few blocks down from the library. What grand homes were in that area. When I visit, It is very sad to see what the town has become for whatever reason that caused its downfall. I want to remember the good times and beautiful sights of Old Home Week and International Village. Those I'll cherish forever.

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  46. Lived in Mckeesport from 1940 to 1962. All the homes on our street were old but well maintained. Everyone had an interest or a special skill in caring for their home. My farther was a machinist in the steel mill. There was nothing he couldn't build or repair,which included helping neighbors with house repair or advice. After spending twenty years in the military, went back in 1978 to the area and saw a profound lack of upkeep as all the old neighbors moved or were deceased. When I go on google map and survey the area, Tijuana Mexico looks a lot better. I'am reminded what the old marine corps friend said years ago, "you can't shine crap".

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  47. I grew up on white st have seen every one of these houses over & over it's ashame how the city dont care about the problem. The city isnt the same as when i was a kid it was safe then. I was just telling my friend how all these historical can be paid for by the state to be remodled but they don't care like its too much work to make calls & emails. i now live in duquesne but would be honered to help get these eye sores torn down/ remodled.id be willing to make calls emails talk to people.

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  48. I'd like to see them build up the waterfront like they did in Homestead and breathe some life back into McKeesport.

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  49. Denise Morgan Holland PattakosFebruary 25, 2015

    My Father was born and raise in McKeesport He was Police Magistrate in McKeesport e had his office out of our home till h moved it to the Eagles in the front of the building in 1972 His name was Wilbur A Morgan even though he was my dad he was a great man , It is a shame to see how McKeesport looks now. I remember as a kid I could walk down town and no one would bother you It was a great place at one time

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  50. guess it's no small thing that decades of our elected representatives can do to even a thriving town like McKeesport.

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  51. I grew up on Grandview Ave in the 60s. Lots of fond memories.. trips to Lamperts Market.. still in business I believe. Days fishing at lake Emily.. In the summer we kids would sleep on the porch to stay cool. Doors were never locked. As a teen I was interested in Helen Richey for whom a ballfield is named in Renzie Park. She was an aviation pioneer and one of the first female pilots.She was friends with Amelia Earhart who sometimes came to stay at the Richey home on Jenny Lind St. The story of Helen Richey like so much of the history of this once proud city are lost forever. Brian

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  52. Does anyone know the stories behind these places? I am doing a project for school and I need to find places in the pittsburgh are that are abandoned but have stories behind them. Also places that I can get in and photograph

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  53. Does anyone know the stories behind these places? I am doing a project for school and I need to find places in the pittsburgh are that are abandoned but have stories behind them. Also places that I can get in and photograph

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  54. AnonymousMay 11, 2015

    That old White house on Evans St look like the house from the movie "Anybody Fool"with Paul Newman.

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  55. AnonymousMay 11, 2015

    I grew up in a house on the 2000 block at the dead end of Federal Street,11th Ward. In my dreams and memories the street still has gorgeous tall oak trees lining the street and a fantastic view of the Mon. We moved in 1979 after only 7 years there due to the start of the neighborhood's decline. I check in every once in awhile on Google earth and I just want to cry about how that once beautiful neighborhood has changed. Our group of young families and gentle elderly folk have long ago parted ways and the dwellings where we resided are slowly being claimed by the vines and weeds or have since been boarded up or demolished. I treasure old pictures of my childhood home in its former state. If it were a person I'd say I'm sad to see you go.

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    1. AnonymousMay 19, 2015

      I grew up on the 1700 block of federal street and my father still lives in the same house which is still one of the nicer houses on the block I think, most of the people I grew up with have moved on but as much as it saddens me I do my McKeesport

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    2. I also lived on the 2000 block at the dead end of Federal St., 11th ward from 1940's to 1960. I can still remember the eight poplar trees lining the street. When I scan the area now on google map, it looks like the war zones I've seen after twenty years in the military.

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  56. AnonymousMay 17, 2015

    As the mayor lives a couple of blocks away from me in a brand new house,I think he is blind to see over the other sides of the hill in Fawcett Plan. Can not even get our alley plowed in winter on the Lincoln Way side. Never mind the deep potholes and the garbage that lines the next street up [Leech Street] and not to mention some of the houses on that street that are eyesores and rundown. These houses were always well maintained before the slum landlords moved in. One house on Franklin and Deweese has had its back porch roof falling down for years and is now only supported [the half that is still up] by a 2x6. We built what in my opinion is a very ugly and over budget addition to the high school for a dwindling population. Why? This money could have and should have been spent more wisely. I grew up and lived here all my life and yes we would walk downtown to the theaters and catch the Sat.flicks of the stooges and cartoons. All of this changed when the investors and slumlords took over and section8 housing sprang up. We really need to put a moratorium on rental units as most of the owners live out of this area and inerested in only the rent check. A lot of these homes are even delinquent on taxes and still being rented out. I would say no more than 20% of all family homes should be rentals and inspected once a year,that wuold keep the riff raff out. We really could have put some revenue generating enterprise on the mill site but it appears to me we just blundered through that too. Of course none of this will ever happen when you have all the politicos in it for the money. In a couple of years I will be retiring and I also will be leaving from this area and out of this woefull state as I have had my fill of driving down 5th ave and seeing all the jobless dregs of society just hanging out. In the mean time I keep my gun clean and loaded.

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  57. My grandmother and her sisters lived in a huge house at 1802 Duquesne Avenue in Mckeesport till the late 60's or early 70's. I am sad to say the house has long since been torn down. However I was wondering if there is any way to find old time photos of the area. I would paint it if I were an artist, but I am not. I have very vivid memories of this home. I spend so many happy summers there. If anyone know how I can find pictures of this home please contact me at skipnpat@aol.com.
    Thank you

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  58. As with illness, it's easy to blame the symptoms of terminal decline while overlooking the root cause of a disease. Crack houses and the "dregs" are only symptomatic of a much greater malaise - both cultural and economic at heart. Yet the root cause of decline is inherent to the anti-competitive corrupt and gamed monetary system; financialization and globalization by mercantilists; and the process of Empire. Seemingly lofty rhetoric, however the practical effects of predatory finance and the pursuit of Empire / foreign entanglements in conjunction with a debased monetary system has resulted in the very real woes that folks here write about. Not just McKeesport, but every working "commodity" town and city in the United States has suffered this decline, and that decline began in the former United States, from the peak of 1964. In other words towns and cities based on producerism and one industry - not enabled by predatory finance and virtual capital fantasies - only barely survive, or fail. As a beginning to comprehend the root causes of this systemic derivative blight speading like cancer throughout the West, please search online for the article How the Federal Reserve Truly Operates on panicof1907 (dot) com at least it's a start!

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  59. As with illness, it's easy to blame the symptoms of terminal decline while overlooking the root cause of a disease. Crack houses and the "dregs" are only symptomatic of a much greater malaise - both cultural and economic at heart. Yet the root cause of decline is inherent to the anti-competitive corrupt and gamed monetary system; financialization and globalization by mercantilists; and the process of Empire. Seemingly lofty rhetoric, however the practical effects of predatory finance and the pursuit of Empire / foreign entanglements in conjunction with a debased monetary system has resulted in the very real woes that folks here write about. Not just McKeesport, but every working "commodity" town and city in the United States has suffered this decline, and that decline began in the former United States, from the peak of 1964. In other words towns and cities based on producerism and one industry - not enabled by predatory finance and virtual capital fantasies - only barely survive, or fail. As a beginning to comprehend the root causes of this systemic derivative blight speading like cancer throughout the West, please search online for the article How the Federal Reserve Truly Operates on panicof1907 (dot) com

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  60. I grew up in the red brick on park street.516 It has black trash cans in front of it. For anyone interested in ghosts that place has them.

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  61. You should revisit where you took these pictures from and see how much more the place has deteriorated. Abandoned houses falling apart back when you took these are still standing...tho they have fallen apart even more. I do understand the city doesn't wanna pay to have everything torn down, cuz it's not cheap, but it's certainly not safe to leave them standing. Many have been lit on fire. Curious kids have gone inside and been hurt. Drugs being sold and used. Prostitutes using them to do their business. All of which makes it that much worse. Either ppl need to step up and invest the money to rehab these old relics, or they really need to be torn down. And yes...This is a bad area. Constant gunfire can be heard on a daily basis. But if ppl really started to come in and invest money into rebuilding these old properties, that would chase the riff raff out. This is just my opinion tho. I myself an trying to come up with the funds to purchase and rehab some of these abandoned properties.

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  62. I currently live in McKeesport pa I bought a house thats a hundred years old I love my house slowly but surely mines will shine again yet I see a empty house people throw trash on its porch same as well my around my house so it a constant task of cleaning the kids are allowed to throw rocks and beat other children in these neighborhood however the alot of red tape about these old beautiful homes hard said he'll to get funding to repair and keeps the neighborhoods nice

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    1. Good luck bro your house. I live in Oregon but once visited McKeesport with an Army friend. I love old homes. I will be returning to McKeesport this year for the 1st time since 1984. I have a feeling that I might be drawn into investing in the area.

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  63. Thanks for sharing! I love your town!

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