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Edgeworth Borough

Edgeworth Borough was incorporated in 1904, as was Leetsdale, from part of Leet Township, with additional land acquired by voluntary annexation in 1928. Incorporation was proposed by Edgeworth’s landowners, because they believed that Leet Township was becoming too diversified to be under township government. Leetsdale and Edgeworth were opposite in character, with Edgeworth being agrarian and residential, while Leetsdale had industrial roots. Edgeworth Borough occupies 1.7 square miles and had a population of 1,669 in 2020. It borders Leetsdale, Leet Township, Bell Acres, Sewickley Heights, Sewickley and the Ohio River.

Tract number 2 in Leet’s District of the Depreciation Lands, known as Way’s Desire – 200 acres that stretched from present day Academy Avenue to today’s Edgeworth School and from the hilltop to the Ohio River – was purchased by Caleb Way, whose third son, John, and his wife Mary Ann were the first permanent settlers in what is now Edgeworth, having built a log cabin about 1797 near the river, at the foot of Hazel Lane. Mary Ann Way had been raised a Quaker, but had been “disowned” by the Society for marrying a non-member. However, the Ways were widely known for their charitable acts, and in that spirit, we today have the Quaker Valley school system, Quaker Road, Quaker Run, etc. The first brick house between Pittsburgh and Beaver, the Way Tavern, was built on the Beaver Road in Edgeworth in 1810. Situated on adjacent property above the Beaver Road, the Abishai Way House, completed in 1840 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The borough was named for Maria Edgeworth, an English/Irish author whose name was given to Mary

Gould Oliver’s school for young ladies, the Edgeworth Female Seminary, which moved to Sewickley Bottom from Pittsburgh in 1836. It was built on property purchased from descendants of surveyor Daniel Leet, Eliza and David Shields, whose estate, Newington, had been constructed between 1816 and 1823 and is today listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Newington served as the Sewickley Bottom post office from 1824 to 1857. After the railroad came through in 1851, the stop at Sewickley Bottom came to be known as Shields.

Edgeworth is home to the Edgeworth Club, Quaker Valley’s Edgeworth Elementary School, Sewickley Academy and three parks, Walker, Way and Morrow-Pontefract. Among its native sons were musician Ethelbert Nevin (died 1901), composer of “The Rosary” and “Narcissus,” and J. Frederick Haworth, who took aerial photographs of the area in the 1890s from a camera mounted on a balloon.

Edgeworth Borough Centennial, 1904-2004, Betty G. Y. Shields, Editor, Centennial Celebration

Steering Committee, 2004.

Pictures:Way Tavern

Edgeworth Club

Sewickley Academy

Abishai Way House

Haworth photos


A Shields family record states succinctly, "David Shields removed to Sewickley Valley from Washington, Pa. in 1823 and was sworn in as P. M. (Postmaster) January 9, 1824." This Greek Revival style house -- one of the oldest in the Valley -- was in construction seven years, with bricks fired on the place and native trees felled for exterior and interior trim. Through the years, the house has been added to and ornamentation applied, but no matter the changes, members of of the Shields family have been in continuous residence since the beginning. The family gathering above, taken about 1857, shows the Misses Rebecca and Hannah Shields, whose attendance at Mrs. Mary Olver's Braddock Fields School encouraged that lady to settle here and establish her Edgeworth Female Seminary in the Valley. Also in the picture is Daniel Leet Shields, who left a bequest for perpetual care of the Shields Church building and grounds. Mr. & Mrs. J. Judson Brooks

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