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Latrobe City

Latrobe City Hall is located at 901 Jefferson Street, Latrobe, PA 15650; phone: 724-539-8548.

Beginnings [1]

Latrobe grew from a thickly-forested site along the Loyalhanna Creek in central Westmoreland County near Chestnut Ridge. Oliver Barnes, an agent and civil engineer for the Pennsylvania Railroad, purchased the site to build a rail yard. He subsequently saw the site, forty miles from Pittsburgh, near the creek and timber and coal resources, as an excellent location for a town, one of many such towns established in southwestern Pennsylvania during this period. Barnes purchased a tract of land from Thomas Kirk in February of 1851, and in May of 1851, he planned lots on a flat area in a bend of the creek. While the rail yard was built a short distance to the northwest at Derry, a railroad station and support buildings were erected upon several acres near the town center. Barnes named the town for his fellow engineer, Benjamin H. Latrobe, Jr., who was also involved with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Latrobe's father, Benjamin H. Sr., was the nationally known architect. The nascent town grew quickly; it was incorporated as a borough in May of 1854. Early industries such as paper and grist mills developed in Latrobe because of its proximity to the creek. As Pittsburgh emerged as a steel production center during the post Civil War era, coal deposits around Latrobe, and most of southwestern Pennsylvania, were in high demand since coal was a key ingredient to steel manufacturing.

  1. Clinton Piper, Preservation Consultant, Citizens National Bank, Westmoreland County, PA, nomination document, 2002, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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