History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.

–David C. McCullough

What might we learn about who we are by turning a careful eye toward Wilkinsburg’s history? What might we recognize in the story of our past that provides insight into the problems and opportunities we face today? Certainly there are many ways to answer those questions, but a few key characterizations emerge from a study of our past.

Wilkinsburg thrives on and values its connection to the City of Pittsburgh. The borough’s proximity to Pittsburgh and its location along main lines of transit from outlying areas were key to its founding and early development. The original village plan was drawn along both sides of the Great Road to Fort Pitt. Wilkinsburg truly began to flourish when the railroad came through in the 1850s, bringing access to jobs in other parts of the city. Nonetheless, Wilkinsburg values its independence. Wilkinsburg was annexed to the city in 1873, but Wilkinsburg residents fought to have that action reversed. Wilkinsburg returned to its independent status in 1876.

The heart of Wilkinsburg is in its neighborhoods. Even in its heyday, when Wilkinsburg businesses bustled with visiting shoppers, most Wilkinsburg residents worked outside of the borough. Wilkinsburg’s neighborhoods have long been home to commuting workers.

Wilkinsburg is a City of Churches. The borough has a high concentration of churches, and was known at certain points in its history as “The Holy City.” Bars and taverns have been prohibited in Wilkinsburg since 1870, except during the years 1933 to 1935.

Wilkinsburg has a history of innovation and education. Several important advancements in communication technology have taken place in Wilkinsburg. The first commercial radio broadcast came out of Wilkinsburg in 1919. From a very early time, its leaders placed a high priority on public education. Wilkinsburg is also the birthplace of Scholastic Magazine.

The people of Wilkinsburg have a spirit of pride and perseverance. Even amid challenges, Wilkinsburg has found ways to address its problems and pull through. When the increasing activity on the railroad tracks caused several accidents in the early 1900s, the borough undertook the hefty job of raising the tracks. As part of the project, they also lowered the intersecting streets—and most of the roadside buildings!

Constituent & Community Relations Meeting

The Constituent and Community relations meeting for today, 2/9/2017, at 10am has been cancelled due to the weather.

Posted: 2/9/2017
Community Calendar

Our website is currently under construction. If you're looking for meeting dates, they will be up within the next few days. If you need meeting dates any sooner, feel free to call the borough main office at 412-244-2900.

Posted: 2/2/2017
Municipal Service Fee (Refuse Pickup)

FYI - Municipal Service Fee statements will be mailed out soon. The fee for 2017 will be $200.

Posted: 2/2/2017
Public Forum for Wilkinsburg Gateway Sign

A public forum to share the finalist designs for the new Wilkinsburg Gateway sign will be held on Thursday, February 16th at 6PM in the 2nd floor Council Chambers at the Borough Building. All are welcome.

Posted: 2/1/2017
Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Please be advised- The Borough Offices will be closed on Monday, January 16, 2017 in Observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Posted: 1/13/2017
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Community Calendar
Special Events Committee

6:30 PM - Council Chambers

Shade Tree Committee

6:30 PM - Council Chambers

Blight Committee

5:30 PM - 1st Floor Conference Room

Capital Planning Committee

7:00 PM - Council Chambers

Joint Tax Committee

5:30 PM - Council Chambers

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Wilkinsburg Borough Building • 605 Ross Avenue, Wilkinsburg PA 15221 • (412) 244-2900