Kittanning, PA- Historic Native American Village and Home to the Armstrong County Seat

I included most of urban Kittanning except the portion east of Victory St as this part of Kittanning felt pretty disconnected from the center of town.  Kittanning was founded on the site of the eighteenth-century Lenape village of Kittanning at the western end of the Kittanning Path, an ancient Native American path. Sadly during the French and Indian War the village was destroyed at the Battle of Kittanning. The borough was settled by European Americans mostly  after the American Revolutionary War. By the early 20th century, the City had developed considerable industry similar to manufacturing across the Pittsburgh region. Kittanning reached its peak on 1930 at 7,800 and has been on a slow decline since hosting around 4,000 residents. Its important to note that Kittanning was one of the largest cities along the Allegheny River east of Pittsburgh through the 19th century reaching 1,700 souls during the Civil War and 4,000 in 1900.

Thanks to its designation as the County seat of Armstrong County, Kittanning has a historically expansive business district focused on Market Street but stretching several blocks to the south and a couple blocks to the north. Market street connects the riverfront and County Court House and jail creating a pretty striking visual. To the north of Market street are several blocks of attractive mid-late 19th century architecture and along the river is an expensive well designed riverfront park. Market street still retains most of its form but vacancies are quite prolific. The business district south of Market St is mixed-bag hosting many parking lots, auto centric uses, and underutilized buildings. Many walkable business and a solid public middle and high school still remain in the center city. While I’d love to see the borough’s population increase a more realistic goal for this Western PA town is strong investments in Market Street to eliminate blight, open new businesses, and create a better vibe for the town. Kittanning biggest challenge is its aging population (average age is 50 years old). This does not bode well for stabilizing the city’s population. 

Click here to view my Kittanning Album on Flickr


* Solid ADA and sidewalk infrastructure esp. in the core of the Kitanning.
* Nice recreational trail that cuts through the length of Kittanning. Limited bike infrastructure otherwise.
* Excellent gridded and connected streets.
* Good walkable high school and middle school but not much else
* Lengthy and well designed riverfront park in Kittanning. Also a good playground and an YMCA with an indoor pool.
* Good retail amenities including a supermarket, family dollar, a couple pharmacies, several banks, several clothing & consignment stores, a furniture store, a hardware store, several salons, a couple gyms, a local public library & post office, lots of churches, a couple doctor’s offices and the general hospital is a couple miles away.
* Solid imageability with a the courthouse centrally located at the end of the main business district that connects to the riverfront.
* Some excellent historic architecture esp. in the center of town.
* Lots of dedicated senior and affordable housing here.
* Good urban form and streetscaping along Market St.
* Impressive size to Kittanning’s mixed use area.


* Pretty low density for an urban area. 
* Transit access is very limited here.
* Aging population with the median age of 50 years old and not a lot of family households w/ kids.
* Very White population with limited racial diversity.
* Economic diversity not great either.
* Decent # of rentals, esp. 1-beds but all very affordable.
* Not much for sale diversity as housing stock is generally very affordable. 1 beds very limited. 2-beds sell btwn 50K-200K,3 & 4 beds sell btwn 50K-230K.
* Okay cultural amenities including a decent # of restaurants, a couple cafes, and several bars. a couple bars that do live music, a couple local museums, and a bowling alley.
* Some crime here and certainly blight but not an unsafe community by any means.
* Good amount of auto centric modern infill on the south end of town but also some decent urban in-fill sprinkled in throughout.
* Urban form and streetscaping of commercial south of Market St is hit or miss.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s