History of Charleroi, Pa.
From: A History of Washington County, Pennsylvania
By: Earle R. Forrest
Published By The S. J. Clark Publishing Company, Chicago 1926

Free Trial - Ancestry.com World Deluxe Membership



About sixty-five years ago a Scotchman named Robert McKean emigrated from his native land and went directly to the Monongahela Valley. purchasing one of the farms where the town of Charleroi now stands. Other farms that made up the present site of the "Magic City" were owned years ago by Thomas Redd and William McMahan. In 1870 the Pennsylvania Railroad was built up the Monongahela Valley. and a station was established at the site of the present town, which was called "Railroad Crossing." In the course of years a glass manufacturing plant was erected near the station, and a little town grew up around the factory. In 1890 the railroad erected a station and changed the name to Charleroi.

It was in this same year. 1890. that A. F. Chandler. M. J. Alexander. George W. Crouse and A. M. Sloan organized the Charleroi Land Company. They purchased the farm of the late Robert McKean and laid out a plan of lots, which was the beginning of the present town. These lots were sold at auction and almost immediately a building boom started. The men who purchased lots were enterprising, and almost in a night a substantial city was erected. Its growth was so rapid that within less than two years the people saw the necessity of a municipal government, and on February 8. 1892. a borough charter was granted by the court. Much credit is due James S. McKean, a son of Robert McKean. for the development of the city. It was through his influence that the McKean farm was selected as the site of the town. He was postmaster of Pittsburgh at one time years ago and later held a position in the Union Trust Company of that city until his death. Besides being the center of an immense coal district Charleroi has many industries, one of the principal ones being the MacBeth Evans Glass Company. Although this town is only thirty-five years old, many interesting details of its early history cannot be secured, as those who are in a position to know have failed to respond to urgent requests for information, and therefore it will have to be left to some future historian.

One of its leading citizens is Hon. John K. Tener, already mentioned as one of the two governors of Pennsylvania elected from Washington County. Mr. Tener has again announced his candidacy for the Republication nomination for governor in the campaign of 1926.

Gilbert Uptegraph, who celebrated his ninety-fifth birthday December 17, 1925, is Charleroi's oldest resident. He has lived in that place for more than thirty years, and he had supervision of the construction of the Redstone branch of the Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charleston Railroad. He was a member of the first volunteer fire department of Pittsburgh, and is a veteran of the Civil war.

Charleroi has a volunteer fire department of which 0. Henderson is president: G. Jacobs, vice president; J. G. Wolfe, secretary; R. M. Jimeson, treasurer: Henry D. Lowstuter. chief; Carl McGuire, first assistant chief. and D. S. Sims, second assistant chief.

The Methodist Church was organized in Library Hall, Lock No. 4, by Rev. W. E. Cummings, of the Venetia Circuit; and it has grown until now it is one of the largest in the Monongahela Valley. In 1907 the present church was erected at a cost of $20,000. Rev. J. E. Morrison, the present pastor, has been in charge for the past two years.

The First Presbyterian congregation was organized March 5, 1891, and chartered April 25. 1892. Services were first held in the Allen building but in 1891 the present church was erected at the corner of Fifth Street and Lookout Avenue. The following have been the pastors: Rev. S. R. Farmer, from January, 1892, to November 1, 1894; Rev. C. E. Edwards, October, 1895, to April. 1897; Rev. G. W. Snodgrass, May 1, 1898, to 1904; Rev. M. Custer. 1905-08; Rev. J. T. Hackett, 1908-14; Rev. A. J. Whipkey, 1915-17; Rev. C. A. Keller, 1918-20; Rev. R. J. Shields, 1921 to the present time.

The Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church was organized March 15, 1891. as a Cumberland Presbyterian congregation with eighteen members by Rev. J. W. McKay, in the Allen Building. In 1893 a church was erected and dedicated, with Rev. James Hamilton as the first pastor. The present church was built in 1906, at a cost of $20,000.

The French Presbyterian congregation was organized to accommodate the great number of French residents of Charleroi, many of whom are of the Protestant faith. Rev. G. Charles, in charge of French Protestant churches in the Pittsburgh district, started holding services in Charleroi in 1896, and this resulted in the organization of the present congregation in 1898, when Rev. J. E. Charles was called as the first pastor. Meetings were held in the First Presbyterian Church until 1906, when the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was purchased.

The first christian Church is probably the oldest congregation in Charlerol. It dates back to 1890, when on October 13, it was organized at the home of Theodore J. Allen, at Lock No. 4, with a membership of fourteen. Rev. A. C. Jobes, of Claysville, was called as the first pastor. Services were held in the Library Hall, Lock No. 4, until 1891, when a church was erected on Tenth Street, where services were held until June, 1901, when the congregation moved into the present edifice on Fallowfield Avenue.

St. Mary's Protestant Episcopal congregation dates back to 1891, when a Sunday school of this denomination was organized on November 23, with F. L. Bayley as superintendent. During the years following Dr. J. P. Norman, of Monongahela, held occasional services until October 30, 1898, when Reverend Blacklock was installed as the first rector. remaining until May 6, 1900. F. L. Bayley was the main man in the organization of this church and may be said to be the father of the congregation. Its edifice, known as "The Little Church on the Hill," was erected at a cost of $5,000.

The Christ English Evangelical Lutheran congregation was organized September 22, 1901. Worship was held in the Masonic temple building and in the Bank of Charleroi Building until 1908. when the corner stone of the present church was laid. This building was erected at a cost of $42,000.

St. Jerome Roman Catholic congregation dates back to 1890. when meetings were first held in the Dowd home by the Rev. Robert McDonald. In 1893 the first church was erected on Crest Avenue. followed in 1913 by the present edifice at the corner of Washington Avenue and Seventh Street. Rev. Robert McDonald served the parish until January 21. 1905. when he was succeeded by Rev. William Fries, the present rector. Father Fries has been assisted by the following: Rev. Thomas Connors. Rev. O. J. Kirby. Rev. B. N. Axmacher, Rev. S. A. Welch. Rev. John R. McKavney, Rev. C. H. Dermorest, Rev. James McKeever. and Rev. James Baley.

Return to [ Washington County ] [ PA History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ]

.Blind Counter