Transportation, the Great Depression, & World War II

Image of people on Harmony LineHarmony Line

The role of transportation marks a very prominent time for the growth of McCandless. Perry Highway was modernized around 1890, running from Pittsburgh to Warrendale. It was comprised of a three-inch wood plank surface and was eight feet wide. Soon after, the electric railway changed the method of speed of travel in the area and, suddenly, the highway was not the latest in transportation technology.

In 1908, the Harmony Line was built through McCandless, connecting the city of Pittsburgh with Evans City, New Castle, and Butler. This new line not only affected cargo hauling, but now permitted Township residents to commute to the city. Our logo showcases an old streetcar from the Harmony Line's era.

Rail stations were located at Highland and Ingomar. The rail service opened up new employment opportunities for McCandless residents and made the city schools accessible to the children of the Township. The population spiked during this time, reaching 2,700 residents in 1930. Previous to this, the population was stable at 1,400.

Ups & Downs

During the 1930s, the Depression greatly affected McCandless. Financial problems and declining patronage lead to the closing of the Harmony Line in 1931. World War II came shortly thereafter, slowing development even further. After the war, however, McCandless started to grow in a way no one ever thought possible.

A housing boom jump-started the Town and brought back some liveliness; however, growth brought increasing health standard problems, along with the ability to provide quality services. The Township soon realized that sewers, water, schools, and roads were not isolated problems. They also foresaw what uncontrolled development could produce in other areas and wanted desperately to avoid that happening to the community. As a result, the Township officials adopted their first zoning ordinance in 1947.

By 1952, McCandless was still growing. A vote moved McCandless from a second class township to a first class township, and on January 1, 1975, McCandless became the Town of McCandless, a home rule municipality operating under a charter, which voters approved on November 5, 1974.