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Lawrenceville History

  • Lawrenceville Sign

    In the early 1700s, the area now known as Lawrenceville was settled by the Delaware Indians and was an important trading post for both English and French settlers.


  • William Foster, father of the composer Stephen Foster, laid out the town of Lawrenceville and named it in honor of Captain James Lawrence. Capt. Lawrence’s dying words, “don’t give up the ship” became the rallying cry of Americans in their struggle against the English during the War of 1812. Lawrenceville was incorporated into a borough in 1834 and annexed by the City of Pittsburgh in 1868. Lawrenceville was also home to the Allegheny Arsenal, which manufactured munitions for the Civil War.


  • An explosion rocked the Arsenal and killed 78 people, marking it as the worst civilian disaster of the American Civil War.


  • Lawrenceville and the Allegheny Arsenal experienced immense growth. Wave after wave of German and Irish immigrants settled in Lawrenceville to work in the “Cradle of America’s Industry.” Iron and steel production, glass factories, breweries, petroleum industries and other manufacturing all thrived in Lawrenceville during the 1800s and early 1900s.


  • Companies such as U.S. Steel, Alcoa, Westinghouse, and Pittsburgh Brewing Company got their start in and around Lawrenceville.


  • New ethnic groups arrived in Lawrenceville including Poles, Croats, Slovenes, Swedes, Italians, Russians, Lithuanians, and African Americans.

    Late 19th and early 20th centuries