Incorporated as a town on January 9, 1892, Ben
Avon has a long and storied history. The name Ben Avon was proposed by resident
James C. Lewis who thought the area reminded him of a hamlet near his birthplace
in England. The name Ben Avon when translated by the Scots means, “Hill by the
The present Ben Avon Municipal Building was
built in 1920 for municipal purposes. Until that time, the Borough Council had
met at Ben Avon Elementary School. The Borough began with five members, and by
1904 had increased to seven members. By 1906 twenty-eight streets had been laid
out in the borough. Since then only a few streets have been added.
Growing populations in the early 1900’s
required the building of schools. First was a two story four room brick school
at the corner of Dickson and Sturgeon finished in the fall of 1893. A high
school building was built in 1912. In 1938, the Avonworth Union School District
was formed, becoming the first union school district in the state. Made up of
the communities of Ben Avon, Ben Avon Heights, Emsworth, and Kilbuck Township,
and later Ohio Township, it dropped Union from the name in 1970 and became as it
is known today, Avonworth School District.
the time of World War I, there were three churches in Ben Avon, each in a newly
constructed building. Ben Avon Presbyterian Church was at Church and
Perrysville. Ben Avon United Presbyterian (later Woodland U.P.) was at Dickson
and Woodland. Ben Avon Methodist Church was on Breading Avenue. In 1987, the
two Presbyterian churches consolidated into Community Presbyterian Church of Ben
Avon. Soon afterwards, the Methodist church closed its doors.
Since its incorporation in 1892, Ben Avon has
grown steadily, with the largest number of residents in 1970 with 2,713.
Numerous additions and changes have made Ben Avon more accessible to
Pittsburgh. The addition of the Ohio River Boulevard in 1930 made for a scenic
drive through Avalon and Bellevue. The road was not connected in Pittsburgh
until some sixty years later. The additions of Rts. 79 and 279 have made
Pittsburgh very accessible to Ben Avon residents through Camp Horne Road.
Today, Ben Avon is as vibrant as ever,
populated by a few businesses, and over 2,000 residents who are dedicated to
preserving the storied past of Ben Avon through organizations such as the Avon
Club and the Ben Avon Area Historical Association.
If you would like to learn more about Ben
Avon's history, you can order your copy of the Centennial History of Ben Avon
1892-1992. It costs $8.00. Your check should be made out to the Ben Avon Area
Historical Association and sent to BAAHA, 136
Dickson Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15202.