In the late 1800s, George McMurtry, president of the Apollo Iron & Steel Company needed to expand his galvanized steel operations. Beset with labor problems and unable to acquire additional land, he selected a 650-acre farm site a few miles downstream on the Kiskiminetas River. He then approached the designer of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and New York’s City’s Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted, to design a town that would be “something better than the best.” The result was Vandergrift, a town with gently curving streets that follow the natural slope of the hills. In 1895, community planners implemented a unique idea in America–a company built a town entirely in advance and then turned opportunity for development over to workers.
The town is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.