Scott Township is located in the Chartiers Valley School District. It has a land area of approximately 3.86 miles and a population of 17,288. It is surrounded by Green Tree Borough, Upper St. Clair Township, Mt. Lebanon Township, Bridgeville Borough, Collier Township, Carnegie Borough, Heidelberg Borough, and the City of Pittsburgh.
|Land Area:||3.86 Miles|
|State Roads:||6.4 Miles|
|County Roads:||2.5 Miles|
|Local Roads:||39 Miles|
A Little History of Scott Township
Scott Township, located approximately 3 miles southwest of Pittsburgh along Chartiers Creek, is a commuter suburb with few physical traces of its early history. Until its incorporation as Scott in 1861. The township was named for General Winfield Scott, prominent in the War of 1812 and the Mexican War of 1846-48 and a Presidential nominee of the Whig Party in 1853.
Scott’s settlement was an indirect result of an earlier military battle. General John Forbes’ expedition versus the French at Fort Duquesne in 1758. Accompanying Forbes on that mission was General William Lea (also spelled Lee), an Englishman, who eventually returned to the area to settle in the vicinity of St. Luke’s Church. That area acquired the name Leasdale, and when the Chartiers Valley Railroad was put through the Creek Valley, Leasdale Station was one of its stops. General Lea’s daughter, Jane Lea Nixon (1774-1859), is buried in the cemetery at St. Luke’s Church. Her tombstone read “First white child born in Chartiers Valley,” and allusion to the presence of Indians int he region in the late 18th century. A 19th century history reports an Indian raid on St. Luke’s Church during one of its services.
Other early settlers in Scott Township were Irishman Alexander Long and Andrew McFarlane and John Henry. The Turner, Ross, and Glenn families were also early arrivals.
Brigadier General John Neville (1731-1803) settled in the valley just across Chartiers Creek from Scott Townhip in the area called Woodville (now Collier Township), where he built a house in 1785 (the Neville House, still standing and owned by Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation.). General Neville served as an inspector of the whiskey tax collection. Several years later, he built a house in Scott Township in the area known as Bower Hill. The Bower Hill house was burned in 1794 by insurgents in the Whiskey Rebellion and there is no visible evidence of it today. Neville was, with General Lea, the organizer of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church c. 1770, the first Episcopal church west of the Alleghenies. The log church was razed in the Whiskey Rebellion. The third and present building is a vernacular Gothic stone structure built in 1852 which may be eligible for the National Register (003-98-144B-10; R1-F2-5).
Today, Scott Township is bounded by the municipalities of Carnegie and Greentree Boroughs ont he north, Mount Lebanon Borough on the east and south, Bridgeville Borough on the south, and Collier Township and Heidelberg Borough on the west. Its size has been halved by the creation of Mt. Lebanon Borough on the east. The Township appears on the Pittsburgh West and Bridgeville Quadrangles of the USGS Topographic Map, 7.5 Minute Series. Its rolling terrain ranges from approximately 800 to 1100 feet above sea level. At least until the early 19th century, the land remained wild, as described in history written in 1876: “The howls of the wolves at night were fearful, and they prowled close to the cabin walls. Panthers dropped upon the unwary traveler from the trees, and the bears were so bold as, on one occasion, to walk indoors and take possession of a log house.” (Everts, p. 153). Indeed, a “Panther’s Run” appears on an 1876 atlas in the southeastern part of the township, although on modern maps it is labelled “Painter’s Run.”
Chartiers Creek has a winding course which forms the western boundary of the Township. The major waterway running north to the Ohio River, it was declared in 1808 by act of Congress “navigable and a public highway forever.” (Warner, Vol. II, p. 56.). The Creek was a significant factor in the early development of the Township, with many of the Township’s early enterprises located along or near it. These included the Lindsay Glassworks, established in 1870, a planing mill and several coal mines which opened in the 1870s. A schoolhouse and post office were located near the Creek at Leasdale by 1876 as well. Roughly paralleling the Creek’s course was the Chartiers Valley Railroad, with local stops at Leasdale and Woodville.
The largest of the township’s several coal mines was the No. 2 mine of the Mansfield Coal and Coke Company which opened in 1883. 500 men were employed to produce 600 tons of coal daily. The Glendale, Nixon, Diamond, Leasdale, Summer Hill, and Bower Hill mines also operated in the latter part of the 19th century.
Little evidence of the extensive coal activity in the township remains today, but some of the modest vernacular housing for miners can be seen in the area of the Mansfield operations known as Glendale (003-98-R3-F19). Glendale was described in 1889 as “an important suburb of Mansfield Borough.” (Warner, Vol. II, p. 65), a village which was laid out c. 1870 and incorporated as a borough from the northwestern part of Scott in 1872.
Glendale got its name, no doubt, from the several members of the Glen family who owned the land in the 1870s. The name survives today in the names Glenn Avenue and the Glendale Chapel, the latter a modest frame church probably dating to this area’s period of growth (003-98-R3-F15). More vernacular workers’ housing lines Washington Avenue (003-98-R3-F18).
Indicative of the other end of the economic spectrum in early Scott Township is a house at 2335 Old Greentree Road (003-98-100F–190; R2-F10,11; R3-Fl-8). While it is a vernacular interpretation of the Greek Revival style fairly typical for Allegheny County, it is, nevertheless, Scott Township’s most distinguished house architecturally, maintaining excellent integrity. It appears to date to the 1840-1860 period, and appears on an 1876 map as the “SI. Nixon Residence.” (Hopkins, 1876). Samuel Nixon was one of four sons of the aforementioned Jane Lea Nixon, and the grandson of General Lea. The house’s well preserved architecture combined with its historic background may make this house eligible for the National Register. The “Nixon Mines” east of Leasdale Station are mentioned in 1889 (Warner, Vol. II, p. 65). They were opened by the Chartiers Valley Coal Company in 1878. Samuel Nixon’s involvement with the coal company and the mines bears further investigation.
Two other substantial 19th century houses are located along Greentree Road, one of the rownship’s older routes. 1426 Greentree Road has been the residence of the Haudenshields and their descendants since it was built in 1852; its architectural integrity has suffered, however (003-78-R2-Fl,2). 1848 Greentree Road was the Nathaniel Plummer house (003-98-655-180; R2-F3-6), a two-story, 5-bay house now in need of restoration.
A steel truss bridge built in 1898 crosses Chartiers Creek at Vanadium Drive (003-98-CC17-06; R1-F8-10); plans are to move the crossing downstream in 1984 and demolish this bridge. Above Rt. 376 (the Parkway West), the trestle of the Norfolk and Western Railway Company, originally built by the Wabash Railroad, is a notable structure (003-98-66G; R1-F17, 18).
With these exceptions, the landscape of Scott Township is overwhelmingly suburban in character today, dominated by tract housing developments. The earliest of these is the WWII-era “defense housing” project on Victory Drive (003-98-R3-F10,11); more recent construction is the housing on Magazine Street (R3-F21). In the south-central part of the township, Kane Hospital dominates the landscape and is undergoing expansion (003-98-R1-F11-14).
In spite of predictable growth and change, interest in and concern for the heritage of Scott Township is evidenced by its citizens’ diligent efforts to maintain and restore St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, this township’s most significant landmark.