A Brief History of Wilkinsburg

History of Wilkinsburg

Wilkinsburg is a borough in Allegheny County next to the city of Pittsburgh. The history of Wilkinsburg begins with its naming after John Wilkins, Jr., an Army officer who was Quartermaster General of the Army in the late 1790s and early 1800s. As of the 2010 census, Wilkinsburg’s population was 15,930 people. Wilkinsburg was founded by European immigrants, like many other communities in Pittsburgh. The area actually has a large amount of churches (even for Pittsburgh!), mostly Protestant ones at that. Pittsburgh is predominantly Catholic, so this is part of what makes Wilkinsburg unique. The Wilkinsburg Library was founded in 1899 as a branch of the Braddock Library and was one of the first Carnegie Libraries in the U.S. 101 years ago, in 1916, the world’s first commercially licensed radio station, KDKA, began broadcasting in Wilkinsburg (from a small garage at that!). A few years later, Russian immigrant and Wilkinsburger Vladimir Zworykin designed the iconoscope on most TV cameras when they were first invented.

Fast Facts About Wilkinsburg

History of Wilkinsburg

Wilkinsburg’s Community Development Center has been working hard to make changes to the area, which has seen a population decline and economic depression over the years. They are working to get new business to move to the neighborhood and spread the word about community events. WTAE-TV is currently located in Wilkinsburg on Ardmore Boulevard. Surrounding neighborhoods to Wilkinsburg include Penn Hills, Churchill, Edgewood, Point Breeze and more. The Community Development Center recently advocated for an approved liquor license referedum that legalized the sale of up to 5 liquore licenses in Wilkinsburg. Until then, the neighborhood had been a dry community since 1935.

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