Brownsville, PA


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Brownsville is a borough in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, United States, officially founded in 1785 located 35 miles (56 km) south of Pittsburgh along the Monongahela River. The borough was an industrial center, transportation hub, outfitting center, and river boat building powerhouse acting as a gateway city for emigrants heading west to the Ohio Country, Northwest Territory and beyond on the various Emigrant Trails to the far west from its founding until well into the 1850s. Founded about the same time, industrious bustling Brownsville early on easily eclipsed both by size and dynamism the nearby city of Pittsburgh until well into the 1850s when the Railways through to Kanesville, Iowa in the Midwest left Pittsburgh with the better transportation system, and made Kanesville the newest and best gateway city to the far west. Brownsville's Flat Boats couldn't cross Nebraska, Wyoming and the Continental divide either, but by 1869 the trains could.
Even while emigrant outfitting began to decline steadily from 1853's completion of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to the Ohio, the nascent steel industry was building and adding capacity, giving the borough a new growth spurt as a Railroad Yard and Coking center. It gradually lost its diverse mix of businesses and became more fragile as a result, but in general prospered. Like the rest of the country, Brownsville tightened its belt during the slim years of the Great Depression, but managed well enough, and then resurge again as steel demand picked up and World War II drove the world economy.
In 1940, 8,015 people lived in Brownsville, and it experienced a postwar growth spurt which allowed it to develop cross-county-line suburbs like Malden, Low Hill, and Denbo Heights which were mainly bedroom communities within commuting distance, but a bit flatter too being farther out of the foothills. After the boom-bust-boom of the fifties and sixties, the borough went into a third and more severe decline again in the mid-1970s along with much of the Rust Belt so that population was just 2,804 at the 2000 census. Now in the 2011 Brownsville still has a handful of buildings condemened or just borded up. Some abandon buildings are the Union Station, some banks, and other random buisnesses. The sidewalks around the town are still intact and useable. Slowly Brownsville is fixing itself up.