Edgewood, Then and Now

EDGEWOOD

Edgewood Intersection from 1970’s to 2012 era (Photo by Karl Swigart and Pete Harmon)

Mention the name Edgewood Intersection and most drivers from around the Kittanning area will most likely identify it as the traffic intersection at the bottom of the Indiana Pike hill. The present day configuration of the Edgewood Intersection was not its first. During the initial relocation of the Edgewood Intersection in 1934, several houses would be razed to relocate the intersection by creating the railroad overpass and the buildup of the roadway from the railroad overpass down past Kings Lanes, all the way to the Kittanning Bridge, thus creating South Water Street. Then around 1972-73 approximately another 32 homes would need to be razed in order to change the Edgewood Intersection into its present day configuration. The following description along with accompanying photos will hopefully help to describe and show, those whom have heard the name Edgewood mentioned and what it looked like, prior to the houses being razed and the intersection restructured around 1972-73. 

View from across the river showing the Steel Plant, Typewriter Works, and Edgewood to the right (Old Kittanning Postcard)

Edgewood till the end was a tight knit community of lower to middle class inhabitants. In its earlier days many of the men from the Edgewood and Typewriter hill area where employed by the Kittanning Iron Works, as well as other local business that helped to support it. Edgewood was also called “Slabtown”, supposedly derived from some of the houses being built from wooden slabs of lumber, possibly deposited along the river bank after floating down the river from lumber mills operating up-river or from discarded crating discarded from the Kittanning Iron Works.

Coming north from Ford City on the “Old Road” Route 66 approaching Edgewood Intersection showing the current Park n’ Ride and how it appeared in the 1970’s. (Photos by Pete Harmon and Karl Swigart)

  Today its hard to imagine situated along and below old State Traffic Route 66 Kittanning to Ford City road once stood approximately 11 houses. These houses sat directly across from the present day Edgewood Intersection’s “Park and Ride” parking lot and was down over the hill a bit between the present day highway guard rails, and the former Pennsylvania Railroad tracks (now the Armstrong Trail). Where the Park and Ride is located today once stood two businesses, James Ward Thompson’s Garage and the Thrifty Oil Co. Gas Station. 

Today there are no signs of what was there for the generations of families that called Edgewood their home. These additional lanes were cut into the hillside eliminating the homes. (Photo by Pete Harmon and Karl Swigart)

Running parallel to and along the right side of the Indiana Pike hill (going towards Indiana) were another 17 houses and one business, Mary Carter Paints. They were separated by a small alleyway, which ran from old State Route 66 up through this grouping of houses and eventually exited at its upper end back onto the Indiana Pike roadway, just below the grouping of two homes and Kibuk Cycle Sales Inc. on the left side of the Indiana Pike hill. These houses and one business (Mary Carter Paints) were located directly across from the present day Ace Hardware store. There were an additional three houses located above old State Traffic Route 66 on the hill behind the Park and Ride. Today the area where they stood is now the excavated cut in the hill made for the new roadway going from the Edgewood Intersection toward Ford City. (Article by Karl Swigart)

This is just a short series of Edgewood that Karl will be sharing with Kittanningonline readers. He has amassed quite a bit of information regarding that area and is anxious to share, Thanks Karl.

One thought on “Edgewood, Then and Now

  1. I remember Edgewood, not as much as Mr Swigart, but as kids we would go up to the ball diamond on top of the hill. We would drag a lawn mower up the Indiana Pike Hill to the hollow where West Penn had a small substation, then up through the woods. By the time we got there we were all tired from pulling it up there and didn’t much care if we played baseball or not. Of course it didn’t want to start either.

    Aunt Anna Lee use to tell me about trucks coming down over the hill and losing their brakes and winding up in their house down where the sewage plant is now. She told me of one instance where a truck came down and somehow the trucker lost an ear in the wreck. She said her Dad, my grandfather, Lee McIlwain, grabbed the guys ear and placed it back where it was supposed to be, told her to “HOLD THIS RIGHT HERE” and put them both in his car and took them to the hospital. The stories were many but as the old ones pass they are passing with them,

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