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McKEES ROCKS TURNS 130: Historical society raising funds for timeline and historical markers


By Jamie Wiggan

The McKees Rocks Historical Society is raising funds to create a large printed timeline in celebration of the borough’s 130-year anniversary in March.

The goal is to bring more attention to the town’s rich history, but also to capture some historical moments for future generations.

“That’s our fear – that this will one day all go away,” said Sandy Saban, historical society president.

While the borough was incorporated in 1892, the history of the land it rests on stretches back much further. As far as human habitation goes, the ancient Adena are believed to have settled here around 1,000 B.C, amassing one of the largest burial mounds in Western Pennsylvania upon a bluff in the Bottoms.

To determine just which events to include from the 3,000 or so years since then, the historical society is forming a special committee.

The finished product will be a large freestanding timeline with photographs and text carefully interwoven, that could be placed inside the borough’s municipal building on Bell Avenue.

But first, they need to raise the funds. To that end, the society is hosting a “Valentine's Day Oldies Party” on Feb. 12 at the McKees Rocks VFW on Chartiers Avenue. Local favorites, the Doo Wop Doctors, will provide the night’s entertainment.

Saban said the event is as much about getting community members interested in the society’s work as it is about raising funds. She said the group has built a strong online presence since its inception in 2007, but still struggles with getting boots on the ground for historical projects.

“I think the historical society has made people aware of our past, but I don’t think we’ve done enough,” she said.

The society will continue its fundraising drive with other events throughout the year in hopes of installing historical markers with text and illustrations at several key locations, but Saban said this could in reality take several more years.

Site candidates include the former Corny Mann’s Hotel near the Chartiers Avenue five-point intersection, several key sites in McKees Rocks and Stowe where the 1909 Pressed Steel Strike waged on, the McKee mansion, whose owner Alexander McKee was the town’s original namesake, and, of course, what remains of the ancient burial mound in the Bottoms.

The Valentine's Day Oldies Party will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb 12. Tickets cost $15. To purchase, contact Liz Condeluci at 412-427-1613 or


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