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Becoming Brackenridge Borough

Brackenridge Borough History - Est. 1901

Brackenridge Borough is one square mile, which stretches along the right bank of the Allegheny River, approximately twenty two miles north of Pittsburgh. Population is 3,543.

Brackenridge got its name from the Brackenridge family, which once owned thousands of acres comprising what is now Brackenridge, Harrison Township, and a portion of Tarentum.   The Brackenridge's were a prominent and influential family in Western Pennsylvania. Caroline Marie Brackenridge, the wife of Henry Marie Brackenridge, had extensive land holdings in Western Pennsylvania that helped to form the towns of Brackenridge, Tarentum and Natrona. Henry Marie Brackenridge was a prominent political figure who traveled extensively in New Orleans, Florida and South America. The Brackenridge Family photographs contain the family photographs of the Brackenridge family, townspeople of Brackenridge and Tarentum and homes of family members.

Hugh Henry Brackenridge was the first member of this family to come to the American continent to join the colonists in 1753. Later he was credited with founding what is now the University of Pittsburgh.


Col. Henry Marie Brackenridge, son of Hugh Henry, brought his family to the Allegheny Valley in 1827. Here he built a homestead called Oak Grove which stood along River Road in Natrona. The homestead was later torn down to make room for the employment office of Brackenridge Works, Allegheny Ludlum Steel Corporation. Avenue citizens met on May 31, 1901, in the home of Joseph McMahon to incorporate.

A court order setting up a borough was signed by an Allegheny County court on September 21, 1901. John Long was named the first burgess.   Members of the first council were appointed by the court. On May 3, 1902, the first taxes were levied in Brackenridge, setting a property assessment at five mills.

The electric department had its beginnings when the borough purchased equipment from Tarentum on August 14, 1915, and on April 7, 1921, an ordinance was passed purchasing the Borough’s water plant from Tri-Borough Water Company for $46,000.

Brackenridge Borough celebrated 100 years July 29, 2001 to August 4, 2001.

Col. Henry Marie Brackenridge

Col. Henry Brackenridge was elected as a Whig to the 26th United States Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Richard Biddle and served from October 13, 1840, to March 3, 1841. He was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1840.  After politics he pursued literature until his death in Pittsburgh on January 18, 1871.  He is buried in Prospect Cemetery, Brackenridge, Pennsylvania.

Col. Henry Marie Brackenridge
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