Latrobe, PA- Childhood home of Mr. Rogers and Historic producer of Rolling Rock Beer.

Latrobe was founded in 1854 and quickly became a significant industrial hub due to its location along the Pennsylvania Railroad. Along with being the childhood of Mr. Rogers, Latrobe is famous for housing one of the largest breweries in the United States and the maker of Rolling Rock beer. Latrobe hit its population maximum in 1960 at 12K but is now down to just under 8K. This is actually a pretty manageable amount of decline for an old Pittsburgh steel town. Many are much worse off.

Latrobe has several nice blocks of in tact historic main street fabric along both Main St and Ligonier Ave. Certainly plenty of historic commercial buildings outside of this core area, but not great main street cohesion. Occupancy is spotty with some nice store fronts but plenty of vacancies or occupied 1st floor and vacant floors above.  Latrobe’s most stable housing market is east of Lincoln Ave where most homes sell well into the 100ks. The rest of Latrobe is mostly working housing selling between 50K and the low 100Ks.

To become a quality urban area again Latrobe should start with a Main St. revitalization focus reoccupying its storefronts and upper floors. This would certainly foster vibrancy and interest in the city. Other improvements include more walkable schools, better bike infrastructure, consistant ADA infrastructure, more rental options, and a hub for immigrants. Latrobe needs to more population and lacks diversity. With cheap housing, it is well poised to attract immigrants.
Click here to view my Latrobe album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* While there is certainly some blight in Latrobe crime is low.
* Very healthy medium income and a low poverty rate. High percentage of family households as well (nearly 60%).
* Solid park recreations well distributed throughout the borough.
* Decent walkable retail/neighborhood amenities including a Shop’n’Save, drug store, a library, post office, bakery, a dollar general, several boutiques, toystore, and a hospital.
* Some very nice historic architecture along Main St. and larger early 20th century historic homes on the east side of town.
* Decent urban form along Main St. for a couple blocks but it quickly breaks down to a semi-autocentric form. Ligonier also has a couple good blocks but then transitions into a gritty mixed-use street.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Pretty poor density for an urban area.
* Generally consistent sidewalks and curb cuts but few ADA standard infrastructure.
* Limited bike infrastructure but a very nice recreational trail along the Lincoln and short path along the river.
* This a very white community (~96%) with limited racial diversity.
* Homes are very affordable but a stable market. Most homes sell between 50-200K. Some large mansions selling between 200K-300K.
* Rentals are very affordable but also limited.
* Cultural amenities limited to a handful of restaurants, bars, cafes, the Latrobe historic society, the Latrobe Art Center, and a couple other small art galleries.
* Walkable schools are limited to a public elementary, Catholic school and community college. The middle and high school are located out on the edges of Latrobe.

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