Ford City, PA- a Company Town Originally built by PPG Industries

Ford City was founded in 1887 as a company town by the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company (now PPG Industries) as the site for its Works No. 3 glass factory. The town was named in honor of the company founder, John Baptiste Ford. In its heyday the factory employed as many as 5,000 workers. The PPG plant shut down 1990s and another large employer, Eljer Plumbing, shut down in 2008. Like most Western PA towns, Ford City’s population peaked in 1930 at 6,000 residents and has been in a steady decline ever since and now stands at just under 3,000 residents. Ford City has done a good job managing its decline quickly demolishing abandoned homes and allowing neighborhoods to purchase them for expanded yards. Most of the vacancies are empty storefronts.

From an urban perspective Ford City does well with well maintained sidewalks and updated ADA curb cuts, quality walkable schools, a wonderful street grid, good distribution of parks, high levels of safety, and decent retail amenities. I don’t see much hope for a population reversal, so the most biggest positive urban impact would be revitalizing Dwtn’s many vacant storefronts and building up the vibe in the town.

Click here to view my Ford City album on Flickr


* Good sidewalk infrastructure and most intersections have up to date ADA curbs.
* Highly connected and efficient street grid.
* Nice recreational trail running along the river.
* Decent generational diversity.
* Well rated middle/high school along with a Catholic grade school within Ford City. Elementary school is just outside of Ford City.
* A couple buildings dedicated to affordable rentals.
* Several small-medium sized parks well distributed throughout Ford City.
* Decent retail amenities including a supermarket, a couple drug store, a couple dollar generals, several banks, lots of salons, a Hallmark store, a couple dessert/bakeries, a gym, several medical offices and churches, and a public library & post office.
* Pretty safe community and not a lot of blight here other than vacant store fronts.
* Some nice historic architecture, esp. in the business district, but homes are generally rather plain.
* Good streetscaping done on Ford St maybe 30 years ago. Other commercial streets are pretty dated.


* Density is so so and pretty low for a urban area.
* Very limited public transit access.
* 45 minute drive to Dwtn Pittsburgh. No feasible public transit options.
* Largely a White City with a small Black and likely growing Hispanic population.
* Not much for sale diversity as housing stock is generally very affordable. 1 beds very limited. 2-beds sell btwn 50K-90K,3 & 4 beds sell btwn 50K-150K.
* Rentals are very limited but affordable.
* Cultural amenities are limited to some restaurants, bars & cafes.
* In-fill is limited to a couple decent mixed-use and apt bldgs in the center of town.
* Pedestrian traffic is pretty limited.