Thursday, February 28, 2013

McKees Rocks and Stowe (Part II)

This is Part II of a series of photographs documenting McKees Rocks and Stowe Township.  McKees Rocks is a historic railroad town about three miles west of downtown Pittsburgh. While the town was settled as early as the 18th century, its greatest period of prosperity came with the opening of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad in McKees Rocks in the 1880s. Many immigrants came to McKees Rocks during this time and worked in the various industries, including the Pressed Steel car plant.  Around the turn of the 20th century, the urban suburbs in Stowe Township sprang up and provided housing for workers, families, and gentry of the overcrowded and polluted industrial town.  

The old P&LE railyards, before most of the buildings were demolished in 2011.

St. Mary's Cemetery

View of McKees Rocks from St. Mary's Cemetery.

Catherine Baker Knoll House, Chartiers Avenue

St. Mary's Church on Church Avenue, built circa 1905.

McKees Rocks Post Office, built in 1927.

One of the surviving Victorian structures on Chartiers Avenue

331 Broadway Avenue

One of many vintage apartment buildings

Island Avenue apartment buildings

Business district in "The Bottoms," which is a neighborhood located in the shadow of the McKees Rocks Bridge.

St. Mary Ukrainian Church, built in 1923.

Kanai Funeral Home, built in 1925. 

One of many beautiful ethnic churches in The Bottoms, this is St. Nicholas Church, which was built circa 1914.

Dargate Auction Galleries, adaptive reuse of a historic church in "The Bottoms."


Business district of "The Bottoms," on Ella Street

Ella Street

Ella Street

This house may be a rare survivor from before the P&LE Railroad boom years.

Overlooking Chartiers Avenue

Chartiers Avenue and Broadway

St. Mary's

Grand old home on Church Avenue
Island Avenue. Abadoned and Endangered. Available through the Allegheny Co. Vacant Property Recovery Program

Island Avenue. Abandoned and endangered. Available through the Allegheny Co. Vacant Property Recovery Program.

Island Avenue

Patterson Street. Abandoned and endangered. Available through the Allegheny Co. Vacant Property Recovery Program.

Island Avenue


  1. Great photos! Thanks for such a good photographic essay!

  2. Johathon, regarding the 13th picture from the bottom, (it's just after the text "This house may be a rare survivor from before the P&LE Railroad boom years."). Would happen to know which street that building is on? I'm wondering if it might the the old synagogue, Ahavath Achim, which supposedly was on Munson Ave.

    1. Great job, family was from Island Ave,
      Pat Faherty

  3. I want thank you looking at the pictures brought back a lot of childhood memories

  4. Wouldn't it be great if some of these homes could be renovated? Great pictures!

  5. Does anyone have a picture of the Old Keystone Lumber Co Corner of Munson and Catherine St? It was a business along with Pgh Builders and Exhibitors Service . Would be nice to see along with the great pictures here.

    1. I would like to see a before and after take I know this shoot was about older buildings, but if you could see all the businesses that were there and the people that lived there iit would be more appreciated. It was the people who made the area so livable. The pictures brought back a lot of memories as I lived in Presston and the Bottoms. Thank you.

  6. Thanks for the memories!

  7. Beautiful pictures. They bring back a lot of memories. My family is from the Bottoms and I saw my grandparents' and great-grandparents' houses in these pictures. A lot of forgotten history down there.

  8. I am looking for pictures of my childhood home. It is 907 Island Ave, it actually sits behind an apartment building, you access it through a tunnel under the apartment. It is next to the empty lot where the incline used to be. I now live in sc, and would loive to see the old spooky place now!