Sharpsburg, PA historic home of Heinz Glassware

Since its incorporation in 1841 Sharpsburg became an industrial town, manufacturing iron, brick and glass with goods transported through the canal that bisected the borough, along with the Allegheny River. One of the borough’s well-known industries was the H. J. Heinz Company. The Heinz glass works in Sharpsburg once manufactured all glassware for Heinz products. Sharpsburg population maxed out at 9,000 in 1920 and but is now down to just over 1/3 of that at 3,300. Incredibly, the borough still boasts a solid urban density. Imagine how bustling it was in the 1920s!

The quality of home construction in Sharpsburg is not the greatest with lots of cheap wooden rowhouses with ugly aluminum siding put up after WWII. Yet this is outweighed in my opinion by Sharpsburg’s quality urban form with a mostly in-tact Main St. filled with a decent amount of businesses, good transit service, quality parks & recreational spaces, and convenient access to Dwtn Pittsburgh. Due to this urban form, its location within the coveted Fox Chapel School District, and proximity to Pittsburgh, Sharpsburg’s housing market is stabilizing and seeing investment with many homes now selling in the 100Ks and 200Ks.  Areas the Borough can continue to improve from an urban perspective include better bike infrastructure, improved tree canopy, and more retail. 
Click here to view my Sharpsburg album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Good density, especially for a Pittsburgh rivertown that has lost a fair amount of its population.
* Convenient assessed to downtown and good public transit service.
* Large percentage of family households around 50%.
* Nice array of cheap and medium priced apartment buildings.
* The for sale market is stabilizing in Sharpsburg offering a nice range of prices. Most homes sell between 75K-200 but a wide range of options between 50K-300K depending on size and condition.
* Sidewalks are consistent throughout but up to date ADA curb ramps is hit or miss here.
* Several decent small to medium sized parks throughout (Kennedy Park, Marion Gerardi, Heinz Memorial Field & James Sharp Landing, and a recreation center. The expansive Meadow Park is located just across the line in O’Hara Township.
* Nice array neighborhood retail including several drug stores, a post office & library, banks, a bakery, floral shop, and a fair amount of specialty stores.
* Crime is pretty low here.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Pretty high poverty rate (around 25%). This helps drive the median income to around 35K.
* Tree cover is not the best.
* No bike infrastructure
* Cultural amenities are a bit limited. They include a decent set of restaurants, a bars, two breweries, a cafes. There are also a handful of art galleries.
* This is a gritty town and therefore lots of blight. It certainly has a strong Pittsburgh aesthetic.
* Sadly there are not schools within the Sharpsburg limits but it is in the desirable Fox Chapel district. But one must drive or get a bus.

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