Blawnox, another Pittsburgh Rivertown built on Steel.

The town was founded in the late 18th century, with the name Hoboken. Steel was the community’s major industry, with the area being home to the Blaw Steel Co., Knox Welded, and Pressed Steel Co. The City changed its name in the early 20th century to Blawnox Borough to reflect the Blaw Steek Co. The town peaked at around  2,200 people in  1950. Now the population is down to  around 1,400. Not a terrible population loss for an old Pittsburgh steel towns. Part of the reason is likely because the steel mill is still open along with Blawnox being in the coveted Fox Chapel School District.

Urban wise Blawnox’s strengths include a nice main street with several restaurants, bars, and shops along with a strong for-sale housing market. Blawnox is also only a 20 minutes drive to Downtown and a 30 minute bus ride. To improve from an urban perspective it would be great to see better sidewalk and bike infrastructure, and urban infill along with a supermarket and drug store. Hopefully Freeport will see more new businesses and eventually new urban infill to bolster its urban form.
Click here to view my full Blawnox Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Good access to downtown via both private car and public transit. Public transit to other parts of the region are pretty limited.
* Very good middle class neighborhood with goo economic diversity.
* Blaxnox has a surprisingly strong housing market. Plenty of for-sale homes selling in the 100Ks and 200Ks. Some more rundown homes sell below 100K.
* Decent neighborhood retail including  several vintage & antiques,  shops, a bank, and hair salons.
* Generally a pretty safe community but a bit gritty.
* Some nice historic buildings especially along the historic main street on Freeport. Also good urban fabric and streetscape.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Outside of the main street of Freeport sidewalks are pretty hit and miss. Also no bike infrastructure in the Borough.
* Not a very diverse community. Over 90% of the population is White.
* Rental houses are pretty inexpensive but limited.
* Park spaces are limited to really just a ballfield.
* Cultural amenities are limited to some restaurant, bars, and cafe.
* No supermarket, drug stores, or larger retail.
* Blawnox does not have any schools within the Blawnox Borough limits but it is in the coveted Fox Chapel School District.

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