Borough History

Brownsville: Celebrating Our History

2015 Brownsville Community Festival, Bicentennial Celebration
The 2015 Our Town Album features 151 images from the Brownsville Community Festival, which was held Sept. 11-12. The event, which commemorated the 200th anniversary of the borough’s incorporation, attracted at least 1,000 people. The event was made possible by scores of volunteers, each contributing many hours of hard work to make the event an incredible success for local organizations and the borough.

Aug. 1, 2013, marked the 100th year for Brownsville’s Community Day at Kennywood Park, which is sponsored by the borough’s volunteer fire departments. A commemorative publication, custom T-shirt and limited edition holiday ornament were produced to celebrate the milestone.

1865, Brownsville
1858, Brownsville
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Just A Few Facts
1759Settled with the establishment of Fort Burd (also Redstone Old Fort) by Pennsylvania Militia Col. James Burd; first settler, Michael Cresap.
1785Laid out by Thomas Brown
Jan. 1, 1795Post Office established, Jacob Bowman (Nemacolin Castle), first postmaster
Jan. 9, 1815Incorporated from Brownsville Township
April 1815First election of council officers, held at the home of Jacob Coplan. Thomas McKibben, chief burgess; Philip Shaffner, assistant burgess; and councilmen William Hogg, president, Basil Brashear, John S. Dugan, John McCadden, George Hogg Jr., Israel Miller, George Dawson.
1800Largest city in western Pennsylvania
1814The Enterprise launches from our banks, becoming the first steamboat to blaze the trail for river commerce by making a 2,200-mile trip to New Orleans and return on its own power.
July 4, 1839Dedication for Dunlap’s Creek Bridge, first cast iron bridge in America.

Explore Brownsville’s Past: Delaware Indian Chief Nemacolin, George Washington, the French & Indian War, National Road, Westward Expansion, Whiskey Rebellion, Underground Railroad, Boat-building center for keelboats, flatboats and steamboats … and more. Our story is a rich history of road, river and rail contributions that greatly impacted the making of America, the National Road Heritage Corridor and Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. Extensive histories are available about Brownsville’s past in online and print resources.

Learn More About Brownsville
Local History Collection bibliography, Brownsville Free Public Library
Pennsylvania Historic & Museum Commission
Brownsville Historical Society
Local historian Glenn Tunney’s “Looking Back” series is a collection of historic Brownsville photographs, available at the local library; Flatiron Heritage Center, 69 Market St.; and online book outlets. A historical image gallery also is available at Brownsville Area Revitalization Corp.

Credits: Pennsylvania Historic & Museum Commission; RootsWeb; Brownsville Historical Society; History of Fayette County, Pa., 1882, in Brownsville Library’s Local History Collection; Barker, Wm. J., Map of Fayette County, Surveys by McLaughlin & Kinter, 1858. Philadelphia: Wm. J. Barker & Co.

Brownsville Borough
200 Second St.
Brownsville, PA 15417
Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Phone: 724-785-5761

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