The Borough of Homestead


Historical Background

As late as 1870 the area that later became Homestead was farmland. This flat and fertile riverbank, frequently nurtured with doses of silt from the Monongahela River, was prime for agriculture. That all changed in 1879 when the town’s first glass works factory opened and then in 1883 when Carnegie, Phipps Company Ltd. took control of a local steel mill. By the turn of the century Homestead became one of the largest and most important plants of the Carnegie Steel Company and later the United States Steel Corporation.

Initially populated by people of Western European backgrounds, the presence of the mills and with the need for laborers, the area soon became a destination for immigrants of many countries and cultures. The population grew rapidly and by 1900 there were 12,554 residents. The population peaked at 20,452 in 1920 The mill eventually encompassed the entire riverfront area stretching into the boroughs of West Homestead and Munhall. The Homestead Works became the largest steel plant in the Mon Valley and one of the largest in the world. Twelve thousand (12,000) were once employed there and this along with other steel mills became the life-blood of commerce in the region.

The town’s main street, Eight Avenue was the central shopping area for the three boroughs and the outlying areas. The four to five blocks in Homestead were once brimming with retail stores, bars, movie houses, and shoppers. 

In 1986 the Homestead Steelworks finally closed its doors and with it went the region’s lifeblood and historical identity.

Homestead Today

As the steel foundries and blast furnaces were being decommissioned and demolished, the Borough of Homestead and neighboring municipalities were left to pick up the pieces. What was once a reliable source of tax revenue, both in Real Estate and Earned Income Tax, left the families and the facilities of the steel factory. Since then, the towns which dot the Monongahela are struggling to stabilize their neighborhoods and cope with the economic side effects of shrinking budgets and populations.

However, some progress has been made. The Borough of Homestead, in coordination with West Homestead and Munhall,  has been trying to shrug off the past by concentrating its efforts on the revival of its 8th avenue business district and residential neighborhoods. It’s even beginning to embrace and foster a new identity as a regional destination for retail and commercial headquarters. With the establishment of “The Waterfront”, a shopping district with dozens of national and local retail stores which stands on what used to be the Homestead Works, Homestead is making a concerted effort to be an up and coming locality in Allegheny County.


Total Population:3,165
Minority Population:1,998
Total Housing Units1,895
Percent Vacant Housing Units:21.6%
Median Household Income:$32,593
Per Capita Income:$20,250
Individuals Below Poverty Level:$25.6%

Community Profile


Borough Offices and Council

Borough Offices are open Monday through Friday and can be reached by Phone at (412) 461-1340 or Fax at (412)-461-4067. They are located on 221 East 7th Avenue, Homestead PA 15120. 

Borough Staff

Staff PersonPosition
Ian McMeansBorough Manager
Jeffery DeSimonePolice Chief
Jim BarcaFire Chief
Dan KellyPublic Works Foreman
Joyce StypeTax Collector
Bernie SchneiderSolicitor
Republic ServicesGarbage Collection

Borough Council

Elected OfficialPosition
Betty EsperMayor
Lloyd CunninghamCouncil President
Barbara BroadwaterCouncil Vice President
Rev. Donald TurnerCouncil Member
Susan TitmusCouncil Member
Drew BorsikCouncil Member
Lynette MarinerCouncil Member
Wanda BurwellCouncil Member

Important Days:

  • The Borough Council meets the second Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm
  • The Planning Commission meets the fourth Wednesday of every month at 7:00 pm
  • Garbage is collected every Monday. 

For more information please visit the Borough’s Homepage.