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Bethel Park
Home Rule Municipality
Official name: Municipality of Bethel Park
Country  United States
State  Pennsylvania
County Allegheny
Elevation 1,197 ft (365 m)
Coordinates 40°19′38″N 80°2′15″W / 40.32722°N 80.0375°W / 40.32722; -80.0375
Highest point
 - location Rocky Ridge
 - elevation 1,370 ft (418 m)
Lowest point
 - location Piney Fork and Alsip Run
 - elevation 980 ft (299 m)
Area 11.7 sq mi (30.3 km2)
 - land 11.7 sq mi (30.3 km2)
 - water 0.0 sq mi (0 km2), 0%
Population 33,556 (2000)
Density 2,869.8 /sq mi (1,108 /km2)
Settled c. 1800
 - Incorporated (borough) March 17, 1949
 - Home rule 1978
Timezone EST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 15102
Area code 412
School District Bethel Park
Location of Bethel Park in Allegheny County
Location of Bethel Park in Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the United States

Bethel Park is a home rule municipality in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States, and is part of the Pittsburgh Metro Area, approximately 8 miles (13 km) southwest of Pittsburgh. The population was 33,556 at the 2000 census, at which time it was a borough.[1]



Bethel Park is located at 40°19′38″N 80°2′15″W / 40.32722°N 80.0375°W / 40.32722; -80.0375 (40.327102, -80.037491).[2]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 11.7 square miles (30 km2), all of it land. Its average elevation is 1,197 feet (365 m) above sea level.[3] Bethel Park lies at the margin between the Pittsburgh Low Plateau and Waynesburg Hills Sections of the Allegheny Plateau physiographic province.[4] The area is characterized as a maturely dissected region where the ephemeral minor tributaries converge into the tributaries of principal streams.

The highest point in Bethel Park is Rocky Ridge in the southwestern portion of the municipality, 1,370 feet (420 m), and the lowest point is at the intersection of the Piney Fork and Alsip Run creeks, 980 feet (300 m), in the southeast corner of the municipality.


The exposed rocks in the municipality are mostly composed of sandstone, limestone, shale, and a few coal layers (Redstone, Waynesburg, Washington, etc.). The ages of the exposed rocks bracket the late Pennsylvanian epoch (Gzhelian age; approximately 303 million years ago) near the lowest elevations, and early Permian period (Asselian age; approximaetely 297 million years ago) near the highest parts of the southern part of Bethel Park (e.g. Rocky Ridge). These sedimentary rocks were deposited as the sea level rose and fell along an ancient coastline (with the region alternating between delta, shallow lake, and shallow sea), and finally being uplifted with the formation of the Appalachian Mountains.

Bethel Park is underlain by the Pennsylvania-age Monongahela Formation. The Monongahela Formation consists of the Uniontown member and the underlying Pittsburgh member, and the base is the Pittsburgh coal seam. Much of southern Allegheny County is undermined, and the PADEP indicates that all of Bethel Park was undermined.[5]

A portion of the area is underlain by the Pittsburgh Terminal No. 8 Mine (Cortis and others, 1975), which was commonly known as the "H" Mine and the Coverdale Mine. The mine opened around 1920.[6] The historic operations of the Coverdale Mine are apparent on a Bridgeville 7.5-minute topographic map. A “Mine Dump” is shown adjacent to the Montour Railroad tracks and South Park Road. Coal was mined through vertical shafts accessing inclined slopes following the dip of the Pittsburgh coal seam. Mine voids in the inclined slope resulted from the practice of room and pillar mining during the early 1900s. The Coverdale Mine is closed and largely unflooded.[7]


The residents of Bethel Park elected a Home Rule form of Government in 1978, which resulted in Bethel Borough being renamed as the Municipality of Bethel Park. This Home Rule form of government provides the Municipality with greater powers of governance than the former Borough form of government.

Nine members of Council and a Mayor govern the Municipality of Bethel Park. Each of the nine members of Council are elected by Ward and the Mayor is elected at large; all serve four-year terms. The population of the Municipality is evenly divided into the nine wards and each Council member is required to maintain residency in the Ward they are elected to represent.[8]

Surrounding communities


The area that is now Bethel Park was originally settled around 1800 and was first established as Bethel Township, in 1866. Bethel Park was incorporated as a borough on March 17, 1949[9] and became a home rule municipality in 1978. The first armored car robbery in the U.S. occurred on March 11, 1927 when a Brinks truck, heading towards the Coverdale Mine about a mile away was attacked.[10][11] Paul Jaworski and his 'Flatheads" gang destroyed the road with dynamite to steal a mining payroll.[12]


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 33,556 people, 13,362 households, and 9,540 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,869.8 people per square mile (1,108.3/km²). There were 13,871 housing units at an average density of 1,186.3/sq mi (458.1/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 97.10% White, 1.02% African American, 0.03% Native American, 1.11% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.13% from other races, and 0.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.49% of the population.

There were 13,362 households out of which 30.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.0% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.6% were non-families. 26.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the borough the population was spread out with 23.7% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 18 to 24, 26.8% from 25 to 44, 26.5% from 45 to 64, and 18.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 91.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $53,791, and the median income for a family was $64,390. Males had a median income of $47,876 versus $32,351 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $25,867. About 2.5% of families and 3.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.1% of those under age 18 and 3.8% of those age 65 or over.

Points of interest

  • South Hills Village
  • 11 community parks
  • Bethel Park Community Center
  • South Park Wave Pool
  • South Park Hundred Acres Manor
  • Blade Runners

Bethel Park was also the location of Pittsburgh's first drive-in theater, South Park Drive-In (August 27, 1940-September 1, 1985). It was located on Route 88, just north of the entrance to South Park. South Park Commons, Jiffy Lube and Arby's now occupy the drive-in site.

Notable natives and residents

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ Sevon, 2000.
  5. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Mine Subsidence Section (2005-11-15). ""Municipality of Bethel Park, Allegheny County"". 
  6. ^ Washlaski, R.A., R.P. Washlaski and P.E. Starry, Jr. (2007). ""Coal Miners Memorial: "H" Mine, (Pittsburgh Terminal No. 8 Mine) (Coverdale Mine), Coverdale, Bethel Park, Allegheny County, PA"". 
  7. ^ Donovan, J.J., B R Leavitt and E Werner (2003). ""Long-Term Changes in Water Chemistry as a Result of Mine Flooding in Closed Mines of the Pittsburgh Coal Basin, USA.". Proceedings of 6th International Conference for Acid Rock Drainage, Cairns, Qld., Australia, July 12-18, 2003. pp. 869–875. 
  8. ^ Bethel Park web page
  9. ^ ""Allegheny County - 2nd Class"" (in English). Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Bandits Dynamite Armored Pay Car and Take $104,250". New York Times (March 12). 1927.,%20Pennsylvania&st=cse. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  12. ^ Sebak, Rick. "Gangster History in Bethel Park !". Retrieved 2009-01-10. 

Further reading

External links



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