Ben Avon, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania

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Ben Avon is a borough in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, along the Ohio River. The population was 1,917 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area.

The name, Ben Avon, comes from Scottish for "hill of the waters" [1]

Contents

Geography

Ben Avon is located at 40°30′27″N 80°4′56″W / 40.5075°N 80.08222°W / 40.5075; -80.08222 (40.507418, -80.082162).[2]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 0.5 mi² (1.2 km²). 0.4 mi² (1.0 km²) of it is land and 0.1 mi² (0.2 km²) of it (14.89%) is water.

Its average elevation is 928 feet (283 m) above sea level.[3]

History

Ben Avon was incorporated as a borough in January 1891, from Kilbuck Township.[4]

Like many early suburbs, Ben Avon was originally linked to Pittsburgh by train. One of the first homes in the area, the Arthur-Johnson House, was built at a bend in the Ohio River above the Pittsburgh and Fort Wayne Railroad, a route that was known to George Washington. The house was built by a merchant from Allegheny City looking for a summer retreat from the steel industry. To make the commute from Pittsburgh easier, a commuter railroad was built. Laurel Run station was located by the Arthur-Johnson House. The new railroad made Ben Avon and bordering Avalon a desirable place for wealthy merchants and executives to live. Ben Avon had its own newspaper, the Ben Avon Forum, which, in July 1930, wrote, "Ben Avon is the most desirable community to live in the entire Allegheny County - and if pressed, we might take an even larger territory".

In 1928, plans were underway to built The Pittsburgh and Ohio River Boulevard (currently Ohio River Blvd, along the northern bank of the Ohio River from Pittsburgh to the mouth of the Beaver River at Rochester, Pennsylvania). Residents feared that the new road would change their community. The wide, heavily-traveled boulevard divided the community and made it difficult for pedestrians to get from one side of Ben Avon to the other. Additionally, by 1950, the train station at Laurel Run was closed.

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