New Kensington, Pennsylvania

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New Kensington is a city in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania situated along the Allegheny River 18 miles (29 km) northeast of Pittsburgh. The population was 14,701 at the 2000 Census. The mayor of New Kensington is Tom Guzzo (D), elected in 2009. He succeeded Mayor Frank E. Link (D), elected in 2001.



New Kensington was founded in 1891. In 1890, the Burrell Improvement Company considered the advantages of the level land south of its home in Lower Burrell, and deemed it a prime location for a city and named the area "Kensington" (later changed to "New Kensington" for postal purposes, because Pennsylvania already had another city with that name). In an attempt to make New Kensington comparable to Pittsburgh, the streets were named with numbers. Avenues ran parallel to the river, while streets were perpendicular. 4th and 5th were the main commercial streets.

Once the land was surveyed, a public sale was held on June 10, 1891. Thousands of people flooded the area and investors began bringing industry with them. The first large company was the Pittsburgh Reduction Company, which later became Alcoa. They acquired a 3.5-acre (14,000 m2) property that allowed the company to exploit the closeness to the riverfront.

Eventually, such other companies as Adams Drilling, Goldsmith and Lowerburg, New Kensington Milling, New Kensington Brewing, Logan Lumber, Keystone Dairy, and many more were built late in the nineteenth century and continuing into the early twentieth century. Early achievements included a railroad station, the 9th Street bridge, a passenger boat that navigated the Allegheny River, a street car line that ran to Natrona via the West Penn Railways, the Kensington Dispatch newspaper, a fire department,hotel, opera house, and a local chapter of the YMCA.

In 1941, New Kensington became the site of a modern workers' housing project—named the Aluminum City Terrace—designed by Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius, which set new standards for federal housing design. Intended for Alcoa defense workers, it was subsequently used to rehouse displaced residents from other parts of the city.

Today, New Kensington contains the neighborhoods of Parnassus, Mount Vernon, Valley Heights, Valley Camp, Pine Manor, and 40 Acres.


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