Franklin Park Borough
Franklin Park Borough Hall is located at 2344 West Ingomar Road, Pittsburgh PA 15237; phone 412-364-4115.
During the Revolutionary War, paper currency lost value and Pennsylvania had to devise a way to pay its soldiers, sailors, and merchants from whom it purchased supplies. To pay these debts, Pennsylvania issued Depreciation Certificates that could be used to purchase state-owned lands in western Pennsylvania. The Depreciation Lands consisted of 720,000 acres north of the Ohio River and west of the Allegheny River. Franklin Park was originally divided into 37 Depreciation tracts that were available for purchase.
Open conflict between Europeans settlers and Native Americans, however, made settlement in this region impossible until Native Americans surrendered their claims to the area in a 1795 treaty. Only then did European settlers feel safe enough to venture into lands north of the Ohio River.
Following Native American paths and trails, white settlers arrived in the North Hills by 1800. Perry Highway follows part of the Venango Trail that once connected Pittsburgh with Franklin, Pennsylvania. Highland, Brandt School, and Mingo Roads through McCandless, Franklin Park, and Marshall Township follow the original Kuskusky Path that led to a Native American village near the present city of New Castle, Pennsylvania. The Logstown Path passed through what is now Ambridge and brought settlers into the Big Sewickley Creek valley. By 1820, a school was operating in this section of Franklin Park and a church was established two years later at Fairmount.
The land that is Franklin Park was originally part of Pitt then Pine Township but was included in Ohio Township when Ohio ceded from Pine in 1803. At the time, Ohio Township extended nine miles along the Ohio River and northward to the Butler County line. Twenty years later, Franklin Township was the first of several municipalities to cede from Ohio. At that time, Franklin included what is today Marshall Township and Bradford Woods Borough. Not until the Civil War did Marshall cede from Franklin and in 1915, Bradford Woods Borough was established from Marshall Township. Franklin remained a second-class township until 1961 when it became the Borough of Franklin Park.
Throughout most of its history, Franklin Township remained a rural community. There were never any villages or business districts. Churches, schools, blacksmith shops, and country stores were scattered among farms.
Franklin Township and surrounding areas experienced an oil and gas boom at the end of the 19th century. Derricks became part of the landscape for many years, but in time disappeared as wells became unproductive. While exact numbers are unavailable, a few Franklin Park homes are still supplied with natural gas pumped from nearby wells and a small number of oil wells continue to pump in remote areas of the Borough.
Three outcroppings of coal were once mined in the Borough to supply local needs. They were usually single-person operations. Franklin Township did not permit strip mining.
By the end of the Depression, farming as a livelihood was declining for local families because of better paying jobs in the steel mills. Following World War II, families began selling acreage for housing. The first housing plan constructed in Franklin Township was Ingomar Manor at the corner of Reis Run and Rochester Roads.
With increased population came the demand for public services. Water and sewers were needed, as were zoning and building codes. Police officers had to be hired. Franklin Township was transformed from a rural to a suburban community and was part of the newly formed North Allegheny School District.
The opening of the interstate highways in later years brought even more changes to Franklin Park along with the challenges associated with a growing population. Today, the population of Franklin Park is approximately 13,000 persons and still growing.