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Aliquippa: 1941

Aliquippa: 1941

January 1941. "Street in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania." Medium format safety negative by Jack Delano. Office of War Information. View full size.


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This street no longer exists

This street is Irons Hill Road (Iron Street) in the Logstown area of Aliquippa. People in the area will know the area as the "Baker Street" area.

If you look at Google Maps, this street ran up a hill above Baker street. The buildings on the street in this picture were basically abandoned by the early 1980's and they were torn down. The only homes left in the area today are below on Baker Street. The demolition really began when the Highway (route 51) was widened into a four-lane highway in the 1960s.

Lots of hard-working, first generation European immigrants, many blacks who moved from the South, and other hard working people lived in this neighborhood and worked in the massive Jones & Laughlin Steel mill you can see in the distance.

My mother grew up in this neighborhood in the 30s and 40s (and lived on Iron Street). She described it as a safe place where doors were unlocked and people looked out for each other and their children. When we drove through in the 1980s and she saw what it looked like, she was so sad!

Great picture of a past time and place!

Streets in my Hometown

This is my home town where I was born and raised. Winters looked like this then and now.


I live a few miles from where this picture was taken. Aside from the belching steel mill in the background that used the Ohio River as a sewer, it's still pretty much the same.

Rough sledding

Sledding was great until the ash trucks spread ashes all over our sledding streets. But then Dad could drive all the way home.

Henry Mancini, Aliquippa native

In January 1941 Henry Mancini was just months away from graduating from Aliquippa High School (his dad worked in the steel mills there)--and he eventually went on to the Juilliard School and then quite a musical career.

Winter is dreary everywhere

I lived in a nearby town, Beaver, for a couple of years. This scene probably wouldn't look very different today. The landscape is always dreary on those gray winter days, no matter where you live.

Potential Hot Rods!

Look at all that potential Hot Rod Material. Yeah with 350 or 454 Chevy High Performance with 350 Turbo Automatic. Lowered and customized, nice paint job, 21 inch wheels. If only we can go back into time and bring them forward before rust got to them.

Dreary is as Dreary Sees

Say what you will about the so-called dreariness of these photos of the old steel mill towns along the PA rivers, you'll never see the likes of them again in this country again. Where will we get our steel if we ever need it now? My Pastor was born and raised in Aliquippa and still follows his instincts back to his old home during the Holidays. Good for him!

[We'd get our steel here. The United States is the world's No. 3 producer. The industry has shifted from Pennsylvania to the Great Lakes states. - Dave]


What kind of siding is on that darkish building? I've never seen it before.

[Looks like asphalt or asbestos shingles. - Dave]

Home sweet home

I grew up in Aliquippa. When I saw you posting the Pittsburgh and Beaver Falls photos I wondered if you would get to the ones Jack Delano took in Aliquippa. (Aliquippa is a short distance down the Ohio river from Beaver Falls and almost directly across the river from Ambridge, which you've shown in earlier pictures.) I'm pretty sure this is somewhere on Superior Avenue on the hill above downtown. The houses in the middle distance are a neighborhood called Logstown.

Regarding the earlier comment, that is indeed the Jones & Laughlin mill, which closed in about 1986. But Aliquippa never had a Carnegie library. B.F. Jones Memorial Library is on Franklin Avenue and still very much open.

This view probably looks much the same today except that the mill is completely gone, nothing but dirt.

Truth and Beauty

Jack Delano was one of the great unsung heroes of photography in the 1930s and '40s. His compositions were impeccable and his images seduced you into the "there" that was there. This is not a depressing photograph.

Very evocative photo

What an interesting picture! It almost looks like the person walking down the street is from a more recent time (no fedora, plus his jacket looks like an olive-drab military jacket that people have been wearing for the last 30 or 40 years). It could be Robert De Niro after he just got back from 'Nam!

Beautiful Shot

Say what you may, but this shot catches the quiet dignity of people capturing the best of what they have. Clean with apparently well maintained homes, they took what they had and tried to elevate it to a better level. Bless them.


Aliquippa is still pretty dreary and abandoned. I haven't been there for about 5 or 10 years, but I doubt it's changed much.

The city of Pittsburgh, on the other hand, isn't the pollution-filled abandoned hole it was in the 70s and 80s. I grew up there in the 80s, and saw it go through the transformation from a depressed, dirty, abandoned town to a gorgeous city with a great arts center. Older than Yoda, you should certainly go visit if you can and see the gorgeous city it's become!

And yeah, the hills are pretty terrifying. On snow days, we used to go sled riding down some huge hills with pretty steep inclines (I lived in a neighborhood with little traffic.) Good times!

Less dreary

I'm a Pennsylvania native, and my state never looked that dreary to me. Then again, I came from the ridge-and-valley part of the state, where agriculture and lumber were the top industries, so I never saw these old coal and steel towns., whatever

Still depressing.

Reminds me of "The Deer Hunter"

The streets in these industrial sooty towns in Pennsylvania are very reminiscent of the neighborhoods depicted in that unforgettable movie. I have not been to "Pennsy" since the middle of WW2, but assume it must be more modern and hopefully a lot less dreary today. Anyone? Anyone? Thank you Shorpy for posting these pictures, they are eye-openers for sure.

Ups and Downs

Those hills have to be great for sleds and torture for drivers.

Times Have Changed

Aliquippa is the location of the long-closed Jones and Laughlin Steel Company -- presumably seen in the background. On a day off in 1987 I drove through the town and was taken by the sad state of affairs with many vacant homes, large trees growing along the elevated craneways in the steelyard and the once-proud Carnegie Library closed.

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