About This Place
Avella is an unincorporated community in Independence Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania, United States. It is located at 40.27° north & 80.45° west.
Avella's early history included American frontiersmen, grist mills and refuge forts during the 18th century, when the area was part of the western frontier. It remains the site of a significant farming community. However, it began to grow after the arrival of the railroad in the early 20th century (the last railroad tunnel was completed in 1903 and served the Wabash Railroad. Completion of the railroad enabled coal mining companies to open numerous mines, making the Avella/Burgettstown area one of the world’s most important bituminous coal mining regions.
The mining and railroad opportunities attracted many immigrants in the early 20th century, principally southern and eastern Europeans, and the area grew greatly in size and importance in the first third of the 20th century. However, it began a gradual decline as the local coal seams began to give out and the demand for and price of coal dropped. The population declined as the coal mines closed and families moved away looking for other employment opportunities.