By Michael DiVittorio
Published: Friday, March 15, 2013, 3:51 a.m.
Updated 13 hours ago
Those who would like to learn more about the history of Clairton will have an opportunity to do so through an interactive program at the municipal building.
A “Night of Clairton History” is scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. at 551 Ravensburg Blvd.
Guest speaker Joyce Schmidt will discuss the city's humble beginnings.
“I'm going to start from the beginning of the Ice Age clear into the Industrial Revolution as Clairton was a steel town, and when it was part of Jefferson Township,” Schmidt said.
Once known as the coke capital of the world, Clairton was incorporated in April 1903, before Wilson, Coal Valley and Peters Creek were part of the municipality. Clairton became a city in 1922 when it merged with sister boroughs North Clairton, also known as Blair, and Wilson.
Schmidt, a local historian and president of the West Jefferson Hills Historical Society, is a fifth-generation Clairtonian. She's a former Jefferson Hills Public Library librarian.
Schmidt said Clairton's first settlers were the Mound Indians, a nomad tribe following food. The Iroquois nation also traveled through the area for their powwows, she said.
Various artifacts such as clothing from the 19th century, arrowheads and replica pottery and instruments will be part of the program. Other materials include research records such as the 1920 Census.
Schmidt encourages audience participation and input.
“I want people to bring up facts that I don't know so then we'll all know them,” she said. “I'm not sure we ever learn from (history), but we can build on our history.”
West Jefferson Hills Historical Society is a nonprofit organization founded in 2000 with the goal of locating, documenting, chronicling and preserving, when possible, the sites and artifacts of historical significance from this region. Members accomplish this through the preservation of barns and houses that remain from the old farmsteads, along with buildings which housed companies throughout the years.
Other artifacts and research from Clairton and surrounding areas can be found at the Jefferson Hills Public Library, 925 Old Clairton Road.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965