by Karen Fetter
Known as the Proud City of Proud People, the city of Arnold is located along the northwest corner of Westmoreland County. As with many cities and towns in Westmoreland County, it is rich with history and community pride.
Much of Arnold’s heritage begins in its heyday when the steel industry was booming in the Pittsburgh area. Arnolds success was due to its prime location along the Allegheny River. However, this small town suffered when the steel mills started to close in the 1970s and 1980s. Yet despite this adversity, the community pulled together to begin a rebirth. Arnold is involving itself with community projects, trying to bring in different industries, and adding more people to the community. Arnold residents enjoy living here and spread their family values and pride throughout the area.
Visit the Arnold Website.
Surrounded by New Kensington, Arnold is .74 square miles with a population of 6,113.
Indian fighter Major Andrew Arnold first settled the community of Arnold in 1852. It is from Major Andrew that the area derives its name. He later gave this land to his daughter, Sarah E., wife of Colonel Robert Parks Crawford. The land was just beginning to settle when the Chambers Glass Company became established in 1891. Now the quiet little village began its transformation into a thriving industrial town. Its population had risen with the increase in work, and immigrants poured into the community to make their homes.
With the increasing industrialization, the community began to develop into political wards. In 1892, New Kensington was incorporated with Arnold as a ward of it. Then in October 1895, a movement was started to have the second ward (Arnold) incorporated into a separate borough. The separation from New Kensington and Arnolds incorporation as a borough was completed on January 14, 1896.
Arnold has a number of historic landmarks which help preserve its rich history.
On the corner of Leishman and Richmond Avenue is the Morris Davis home. It was built by Morris Davis who had a major role in the political history of Arnold as a city councilman. It was one of the first homes in Arnold to have electricity.
This home stands midway in the 1600 block of Leishman Avenue. It was once the home of Harry Koessler, one of the early Burgesses of Arnold.
In 1917 John Fedan built this structure to be rented out to other merchants. When no one rented the office space, he started a hardware business for himself. He later added a furniture and appliance store.
Arnold Traffic Store
Another long time standing building in Arnold is what was once the Arnold Traffic Store, now home to Arnold Furniture. The building had been a general store, a meeting place, a temporary church for Arnold Presbyterians, an office for ALCOA, an amateur playhouse, a nightclub, and W.R. Gotts Furniture Store.
The Arnold Station
When the Allegheny Valley line extended its tracks, it laid a double line to Arnold and a single track continued on. At that time, a very unusual agreement was signed between the railroad company and W. H. Crawford that every train was required to stop and sign a registry. As a result, many trains came to a complete halt and the conductor would leave the train and reboard when passing through Arnold. The three daily express trains always stopped in Arnold, despite the fact that New Kensington was larger and more populous.
Students from the City of Arnold belong to the New Kensington-Arnold School District. The average number of students is 2,700 with a 17 to 1 student ratio. The school district is comprised of seven schools located throughout the cities of New Kensington and Arnold. Located within the City of Arnold are two of seven schools – H.D. Berkey School and Valley Middle School. The H.D. Berkey School houses all of the fourth and fifth grade students in the school system and was the former elementary school for Arnold. Valley Middle School takes in all sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students in the district and was formerly Arnold High School.
Senior citizens are considered a valuable resource and asset to the community of Arnold. There are two high-rise apartment buildings in the city, which are both located on Horne Boulevard. Arnold was instrumental in forming the Alle-Kiski Valley Senior Citizens Center in 1975 and the acquisition of it’s new building in 1986.
Ambulance, Fire, and Police
Arnold Emergency Medical Services is an advanced life support pre-hospital care and medical transportation service whose goal is to provide quality patient care throughout the Alle-Kiski Valley and surrounding communities.
Volunteer Fire Department
Arnold Volunteer Fire Department consists of two “companies” named the Citizens Volunteer Fire Co. #1 and Arnold Volunteer Engine Co. #2. The department has approximately 60 active members staffing the two fire stations on a volunteer basis.
Arnold Police Department
Arnold Police Department prides itself on being one of the most modern police departments in Westmoreland County. The department has 10 full time officers that respond to a wide variety of emergencies.
The Valley Family Points YMCA
The Valley Points Family YMCA is built from two successful branches – the New Kensington Branch and the Kiski Branch. The New Kensington YMCA opened its doors to people of all ages, races, religions and incomes for the past 103 years. The Kiski Branch YMCA serves over 1,100 members. Together, the Valley Points Family YMCA is one of the largest social service agencies in the Alle-Kiski Valley. It offers aquatics, fitness, sports and child care services. Visit the Valley Family Points YMCA website for more information.
The Arnold Chamber of Commerce was organized on October 8, 1964 by a group of civic-minded business people. At that time Arnold was facing a loss of its two major employers – Alcoa and American St. Gobain. The Chambers goals were set for every facet of community life. The objective was to improve public facilities, housing, schools, and health care, while at the same time promoting the free enterprise system. This group remains enthusiastic, creative and cooperative about the future of the City of Arnold. They are dedicated to the ideal that only by “Dreaming big dreams, can mountains be moved.”
For more information. contact the Chamber at 724-337-0400.
Arnold is experiencing a redevelopment project a Park Improvement and Expansion Project at the Kennedy Riverside Park along the banks of the Allegheny River. This project, to be completed in the spring of 2006, will include new walkways and lights. The next phase of the project will take place next year. Part of keeping a community alive is by preserving it and that is what Arnold has plans to do.
Arnold is also rezoning the 1300 blocks of Third and Fourth Avenue for light industrial and commercial use. This will encourage more industry to stay in the community.
Activities and Events
Arnold High School Reunion
Despite the fact that Arnold High School is now a part of Valley High School, there is a large homecoming this summer for former graduates. If you are a graduate, please contact the Arnold Chamber at 724-337-0400 for more information.
The Hope Center is joining with the Alle-Kiski Medical Center for a gala event to be held May 10 at the Clarion Hotel in New Kensington from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The event is to raise awareness of local agencies that help battered women and children. There will be crafts, art, and free admission.
Community Days is a three-day event held in memorial Park in New Kensington. The date for the 2006 event is still being planned. Contact the Arnold Chamber of Commerce at 724-337-0400 for more specific details.
For cities to remain vibrant, they need commerce and people to keep them alive and growing. With its location near the new Pittsburgh Mills Mall and downtown Pittsburgh, Arnold has many advantages. There is shopping, entertainment, and dining in close proximity. It also shares its community life with nearby New Kensington. This friendly community has always been a tremendous resource to the history, community spirit, and commerce of Westmoreland County, and will continue to be so in the years ahead. Visit Arnold to see why it is the Proud City of Proud People.