The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Vandergrift

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VANDERGRIFT, văn-dėr-grĭft, Pa., borough in Westmoreland County, on the Kiskiminetas River, and on the western Pennsylvania division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, 25 miles east of Pittsburgh. It is situated in a beautiful valley and is noted for its manufacture of sheet steel, the Apollo Iron and Steel Company, now absorbed by the United States Steel Corporation, being situated here, and is one of the largest steel plants in the world, having eight open hearth furnaces, a gigantic continuous bar mill, 29 complete sheet mills and a large plant for galvanizing the sheets. Natural gas is used as fuel. The mills have an output of 45 carloads of finished steel a day. The town has graded schools and a high school established in 1900; a public library and eight churches. There are two newspapers and good banking facilities. Vandergrift was founded by the Apollo Iron and Steel Company on 650 acres of land, upon which they erected their works in 1896 and 1897. The value of the works is estimated at $5,500,000. The town is very remarkable as a successful demonstration of the economic principles and is known in the iron world as the “workingman's paradise.” The town was laid out and sewered, and water, electric light and gas plants built, streets paved, trees planted, etc., before a single lot was sold to the employees. Nearly all the homes in the town are owned by those who live in them, and every lot of land was sold with a stipulation in the deed that no liquors should be sold on any of them for 99 years. The mills have never closed down since they were started, except at intervals for repairs. The workmen are well paid and of unusual intelligence, and belong to no labor union, and the town has never had any labor disturbances. A borough was formed in 1915, taking in most of the town and known as Vandergrift Heights. Pop. 3,876.