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Monaca Borough

Monaca Borough Hall is located at 928 Pennsylvania Avenue, Monaca PA 15061; phone: 724-775-9606.

Beginnings [1]

Monaca, the principal town of the south side of Beaver County, is in the northern part of Moon township, and lies at the extreme northern point of the great bend which the Ohio River makes in its course from Pittsburgh. It is beautifully situated on a broad plateau overlooking the river, with an ideal location for building. Nature seems to have designed this spot for a large town, and the citizens of Monaca have every confidence that a city is destined to grow there. For many years the growth of the town was slow, as it was cut off from the northern and more thickly settled part of the county by the river, which could only be crossed by a ferry. But with the construction of the Pittsburg & Lake Erie Railroad in 1877 communication was made with Pittsburgh, the great centre of population to the south, and the river was spanned to Beaver, giving access to that place and the upper valley towns, while the erection of the Ohio River suspension bridge in 1895 connected Monaca with Rochester. An extension of the Beaver Valley Traction Street Railway Company's lines across this bridge was a later improvement, which has added much to the comfort and convenience of the people on both sides of the river.

The first white settler at what is now Monaca is said to have been a Polish nobleman named Helvedi, who was exiled from his native land and, emigrating to America, came to this place and engaged in breeding Merino sheep, being the original importer of this valuable breed into this section. The origin of the town dates back to about 1822, when Phillips & Graham established on its site their extensive boat yards. It was first named for Stephen Phillips of this firm, and was long known as Phillipsburg. In 1832 Phillips & Graham sold the entire tract of land on which the town was located to the emigrants from the Harmony Society at Economy, and removed their boat yards to what is now Freedom, about one mile above and on the opposite side of the river.

The secession from the Harmony Society took place as a result of the differences which arose in that society between the founder, George Rapp, and an adventurer from Germany named Count de Leon. De Leon and his adherents, numbering some two hundred and fifty persons, removed to Phillipsburg, which they had purchased with the money obtained in a compromise with the leaders of the Harmony Society. Here they established a colony under the name of the New Philadelphia Society, erecting a church, a hotel, and other buildings, some of which are still standing. The count was made president of the new society, to be aided by twelve trustees. Financial and other difficulties arose in the society in the lapse of about seventeen months, and a dissolution was decided upon.

  1. Bausman, Rev. Joseph H, A.M., History of Beaver County Pennsylvania and Its Centennial Celebration: Volume II, The Knickerbocker Press, New York, 1904
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