After the end of the Revolutionary War, an inn was built along a wagon trail that stretched from Philadelphia west over the Appalachian Mountains to Fort Pitt, now the city of Pittsburgh. A tiny settlement known as Newtown grew around the inn, today the center of Greensburg's Business District at the intersection of Pittsburgh and Main Streets. At Pittsburgh, the wagon trail became Penn Avenue.
In 1782, a raid by Guyasuta-led Seneca Indians accompanied by Canadian rangers burned Hannastown, the original Westmoreland County seat, north of Greensburg, and the first county seat west of the Allegheny Mountains. Newtown became the new county seat in 1785. In 1786, the county built a log courthouse on land purchased from two residents, Christopher Truby and William Jack. The Westmoreland County Courthouse, in its various incarnations, has stood on this site. The area surrounding the courthouse became the original borough of Greensburg, named for American Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene, and formally incorporated as a borough in 1799.
In the early 19th century, Greensburg had very little growth. After 1850, Greensburg became a growing county seat with inns and small businesses. It was a railroad stop and the discovery of large areas of soft coal nearby made it the center of a vigorous mining industry in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
Seton Hill College, formerly St. Joseph's Academy, became a four-year women's institution in 1918. Greensburg became a Third-Class City on January 2, 1928. After World War II, more residential areas were developed in various sections of town. Greensburg's cultural status grew as the Westmoreland County Museum of Art opened in 1959 and the University of Pittsburgh founded the branch campus, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, in 1963, now located in Hempfield Township.
The opening of Greengate Mall and Westmoreland Mall in 1965 and 1977, respectively, marked a new era for retail shopping in the area, but negatively impacted retail businesses in Downtown Greensburg's shopping district. Changes in local shopping habits had already taken its toll by the late 1970s when Troutman's Department Store closed. By the mid-1990s, city officials shifted its revitalization plans on the cultural aspects of Downtown Greensburg, such as the restorations of the Palace Theater and the historic Train Station, as well as a new, recently opened performing arts center for Seton Hill University. Also, in July 2009, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, the largest medical school in the country, opened a satellite campus at Seton Hill University. Now over 200 students study at LECOM at Seton Hill every year. As part of this ongoing transition, an expansion of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art was completed in 2015.
The city is home of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg.Greensburg's first log school house was located at the site of St. Clair Park.
St. Clair Park was originally a cemetery. When the borough banned cemeteries, St. Clair cemetery was moved to its current location, just east of town.
Mt. Odin Park was originally the estate of Dr. Frank Cowan, attorney, physician, author and former Secretary to President Andrew Johnson. Dr. Cowan willed his land to Greensburg to be used for recreational purposes.
The city of Greensburg is currently composed of eight wards, most of which were formerly boroughs and are divided into several neighborhoods. Bunker Hill, now Fifth Ward, was merged into Greensburg in 1894. The name originated because of fights at the rowdy Bushfield Tavern in the early 1840s to mid-19th century that were compared to the Battle of Bunker Hill.
In 1905, Greensburg absorbed three adjacent boroughs, including Ludwick, now Sixth Ward, which was named for Ludwick Otterman, an early settler for whom the street is also named, as well as East Greensburg, now Seventh Ward, and Southeast Greensburg, unofficially known as Paradise (Eighth Ward). South Maple Avenue was originally named Kinderhook (Third Ward). Second Ward, located north of Downtown Greensburg, is the largest ward and includes the neighborhoods of Saybrook Village, Evergreen Hill, New Salem Acres, Country Club Meadows, Northmont, Devonshire Heights, Rose Fountain Farms and Academy Hill. Hilltop, a neighborhood in Eighth Ward, was originally settled by Italian immigrants and borders South Greensburg and Underwood on either side. First Ward features Chestnut Hill and Shuey Plan, and is also home to Seton Hill University. Other Greensburg neighborhoods include Eastern Estates, Underwood, Shogan and Hillcrest.
Eighth Ward was originally home to many Italian immigrants from Cercemaggiore, Italy. Today, the original Our Lady of Grace church, built by the masons from Italy, still stands although used as a residence. The Hilltop Social Club, founded by a few families who lived in the areas of Bierer, Margaret, White and Catherine Streets is also located here. Every year it has become a tradition for the firehall in the Eighth Ward to throw a carnival which includes bingo, amusement rides, and of course the famous Shuey Burgers.
Two neighborhoods have been designated as U.S. historic districts, the Greensburg Downtown Historic District and the Academy Hill Historic District. Also listed on the National Register of Historic Places are the Greensburg Railroad Station and Westmoreland County Courthouse.
As of the census of 2000, there were 15,889 people, 7,144 households, and 3,922 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,746.1 people per square mile (1,446.9/km²). There were 7,734 housing units at an average density of 1,823.4 per square mile (704.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.43% White, 3.91% African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.38% from other races, and 1.47% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.08% of the population.
There were 7,144 households out of which 24.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.3% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.1% were non-families. 39.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.85.
In the city the age distribution of the population shows 20.2% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 19.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 81.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,324, and the median income for a family was $41,112. Males had a median income of $33,306 versus $24,246 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,312. About 10.8% of families and 13.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.1% of those under age 18 and 11.9% of those age 65 or over.
Greensburg is an incorporated city governed by Democratic mayor Robert L. Bell and a four-member City Council. The mayor and the City Council members serve four-year terms. The seat of government is the Greensburg City Hall.
The small size of Greensburg has not deterred it from being a player on the political scene. Greensburg has hosted its share of prominent politicians over the years, including a July 1994 visit from then-President Bill Clinton, former Democratic candidate John Kerry and his running mate John Edwards in July 2004 and Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in March 2008. It was also, according to local historians, the site of the 1854 National Republican Party convention – the first convention of the Grand Old Republican Party, despite Pittsburgh's claims.
Greensburg is home to the 14th Quartermaster Detachment, a famous Desert Storm Unit. There is also a National Guard Armory just outside the main City.
Originally a railroad stop on the Pennsylvania Railroad, Greensburg quickly became the center of the coal mining industry in the region by the late 19th century when large areas of soft coal were discovered nearby. This contributed to the growth and development of the growing county seat. Many businesses and inns flourished within Downtown Greensburg for many years, and once boasted four major department stores – JCPenney, Royers, Sears and its largest department store, Troutman's.
In August 1965, Greengate Mall opened west of the city in Hempfield Township. Greengate was part of the first wave of indoor shopping malls in the country. The mall's opening marked a new era for retail shopping in the area, but it negatively impacted stand-alone businesses in Greensburg's downtown corridor. By the late 1970s, several local stores, including Troutman's, the city's major department store, closed. The downtown area eventually rebounded as the city became a center for service industries, professional offices and banking. Today, small downtown shops and a growing number of restaurants are reviving downtown as a mercantile center.
Westmoreland Mall is currently the largest shopping complex in the Greensburg area and all of Westmoreland County. Greengate Mall suffered losses in the 1990s when anchor store JCPenney relocated to Westmoreland Mall. As the mall continued on its irreversible decline, the nationally-based Montgomery Ward and the regional chain Horne's also closed. The building was eventually razed in 2003, and a new shopping center called Greengate Centre, anchored by a Walmart, was subsequently built. Numerous shopping plazas and dining establishments also line the Route 30 corridor east and west of the city. With over 5,000,000 square feet (460,000 m2) of retail space and growing, Greensburg is considered the commercial center of the Laurel Highlands region of Pennsylvania as well as one of the largest retail markets in Western Pennsylvania.
Light to moderate industry and service industries thrive in the Greater Greensburg area. Several industrial parks are primarily located outside the city limits. In addition, the area is home to two large prisons, the Westmoreland County Prison and the State Correctional Institution at Greensburg, both in Hempfield Township. Housing growth continues on the northern end of the city, with the Saybrook Village and Evergreen Hill plans. The opening of the seven-story State Office Building on North Main Street, the completion of the four-story addition to the Courthouse Square Extension, and the Performing Arts Center of Seton Hill University are expected to add new jobs to the city and attract more visitors.
These major corporations are headquartered in the Greensburg area:Excela Health
The Greater Greensburg area contains two public school districts. The larger of the two is the Hempfield Area School District. The school district has a resident population of over 50,000 and spans approximately ninety-five square miles and lies thirty miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Comprising Hempfield Township, and the communities of Adamsburg, Armbrust, Bovard, Grapeville, Hannastown, Hunker, Luxor, Manor, New Stanton, and Youngwood, the school district completely surrounds the city of Greensburg. Hempfield is also the largest school district in Westmoreland County with approximately 7,000 enrolled students and is one of the largest in Western Pennsylvania.
The second school district servicing Greensburg itself is the Greensburg Salem School District. The school district covers an area of fifty-one square miles. With an enrollment of 3,600 students, Greensburg Salem serves the City of Greensburg, South Greensburg, Southwest Greensburg and Salem Township. Detailed information including enrollment figures and test scores about Greensburg Salem can be found on this website.
Greensburg is home to Greensburg Central Catholic High School and Aquinas Academy (www.aquinasacademy.org), both private Catholic schools.
The immediate vicinity of Greensburg contains two major universities – Seton Hill University and the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. Seton Hill University was founded in 1885 by the Sisters of Charity on a bluff overlooking the City of Greensburg. Formerly a women's college, Seton Hill became a coeducational university in 2002. In recent years, Seton Hill has begun to expand into the downtown area with the construction of several academic buildings and a performing arts center. The Greensburg campus of the University of Pittsburgh was founded in 1963 in Downtown Greensburg, and would later grow into a large campus in nearby Hempfield Township. It was voted "Best University in the Region" for eight straight years (1999–2007) by the Tribune-Review. In addition, the branches of Carlow University, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and Triangle Tech are located within the Greater Greensburg area.
The campuses of Saint Vincent College and Westmoreland County Community College are also located in the nearby communities of Latrobe and Youngwood, respectively.
The Greensburg Hempfield Area Library serves the City of Greensburg and Hempfield Township.
Greensburg is a major cultural center in Western Pennsylvania. It is the home of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, which specializes in American Art circa 1750–1950. The Palace Theatre, in the heart of the city's emerging cultural district, is the site for various performances throughout the year. Additionally, it is the home of the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra, and the Summer Sounds Concert Series at the Robertshaw Amphitheater in St. Clair Park.
The Westmoreland Cultural Trust has played a major role in the revitalization of Downtown Greensburg in recent years. Its accomplishments include the ongoing renovation of the Palace Theatre and the restoration (Before/After Pictures) of the circa 1910 Train Station. They are also responsible for renovating several commercial buildings in the downtown area.
Stage Right! also contributes to the culture of the region, offering classes in musical theatre for young people and staging professional productions at the Palace Theater and Greensburg Garden and Civic Center.
Greensburg Civic Theatre, one of the few long-established volunteer-based community theatre organizations in Westmoreland County, has been presenting both adult and children's theater productions for over 60 years. Founded in 1951, they are the resident theatre company at the Greensburg Garden and Civic Center.
The Performance Arts Center of Seton Hill University opened its doors to the public in September 2009. This multimillion-dollar complex, located in the city's Cultural District, is expected to serve as an additional catalyst for the future growth of the downtown core.
A hands-on science center, to feature a wide range of interactive exhibits, was proposed for the former Mellon Bank building downtown, but it has since been put on hold indefinitely. Titled the Discovery & Interactive Science Center (DISC), it was to be a regional attraction for Westmoreland, Fayette, Indiana, Somerset and Bedford counties. It would've also been the only interactive science center between the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh and the Harsco Science Center in Harrisburg.Just north of Greensburg is Old Hanna's Town, the first county seat west of the Appalachian Mountains.
Greensburg is home to a great deal of interesting architecture including many historic and large homes as well as many old churches and cathedrals. The inner city has many small 1950-style shops and restaurants.
The World Conference Center for The Church of Jesus Christ is located west of Greensburg on PA Route 136. It is the third largest branch of the Latter Day Saint movement.
The national headquarters of the Kappa Delta Rho Fraternity is based in Greensburg.
The Saint Emma Monastery (founded 1931) is a Roman Catholic retreat house and monastery for the Sisters of Saint Benedict located in Greensburg.
Since Greensburg is overshadowed by nearby Pittsburgh, radio and television stations are mostly based out of the larger city. On a much lesser scale, some Johnstown-area media outlets are also available in parts of Greensburg. The following information is about media based exclusively in Greensburg.Greensburg's major newspaper is the Tribune-Review, which is owned by the Tribune Review Publishing Company. In 1992, this company founded the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, a competitor to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. This occurred immediately following the demise of the Pittsburgh Press. The Tribune Review Publishing Company was owned by noted philanthropist and conservative figure Richard Mellon Scaife. Since starting the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the original Tribune Review that circulates in and around Greensburg has upgraded its national and international news coverage but continues to maintain a robust local news section.
The Greensburg-based WHJB-FM, branded as Classic Hits 107.1, is a classic hits radio station that was reintroduced to the Greensburg market in January 2006. It was originally whjb-am 620, WOKU-FM, WSSZ-FM, WJJJ-FM and WGSM-FM.
LCS Hockey, a newsletter turned internationally renowned website, was founded in Greensburg.
In 2004, Greensburg attorney P. Louis DeRose, published the book, Greensburg through the Arcadia Publishing Images of America Series.
In 2006, Greensburg resident Rachel E. Smith, published the book, Greensburg through the Arcadia Publishing Postcard History Series.
Mystery novel writer K.C. Constantine has used various elements of Greensburg as a basis for the fictional town of Rocksburg in his novels.
From 1890 until 1900, Greensburg was the home of the Greensburg Athletic Association, one of the earliest professional football teams. The team began as an amateur football club in 1890 and was composed primarily of locals before several paid players were added for 1895. In 1894 it was discovered that the team had secretly paid formerly Indiana Normal (now Indiana University of Pennsylvania) player, Lawson Fiscus, to play football and retained his services on salary. The team was the chief rival of another early professional football team, the Latrobe Athletic Association.
On December 3, 1898, two players from the Greensburg Athletic Association joined with the Latrobe Athletic Association to form the very first professional football all-star team for a game against the Duquesne Country and Athletic Club, to be played at Pittsburgh's Exposition Park. Duquesne went on to win the game 16-0.
Aside from Fiscus, the Greensburg Athletic Association included several of the era's top players, such as: Charlie Atherton, George Barclay, Ross Fiscus, Jack Gass, Arthur McFarland, Charles Rinehart, Isaac Seneca and Adam Martin Wyant. Several of these players revolutionized the game during their playing careers. Charlie Atherton is credited with inventing the place kick, and George Barclay invented the first-ever football helmet. Meanwhile, Isaac Seneca became the first Native-American to earn All-American honors and Adam Wyant made history by becoming the first professional football player to be elected to the United States Congress.
In 1907, Greensburg fielded the Greensburg Red Sox, a Minor League Baseball team in the Class D Western Pennsylvania League that played for one season in 1907. Then from 1934 until 1939, Greensburg was also the home of the Greensburg Red Wings, a Class D Minor League Baseball team was affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals, Brooklyn Dodgers and Washington Senators. The team's name changed several times over the years. In 1934, the team was founded as the Greensburg Trojans. A year later, they took on the Red Wings moniker. By 1937, the team was renamed as the Greensburg Green Sox and finally the Greensburg Senators in 1939.
The east-west U.S Route 30 expressway bypasses Greensburg to the south, as does the north-south Pennsylvania Turnpike 66 to the west. A proposed highway called the Laurel Valley Expressway was initially planned to be built to the east of Greensburg, primarily in Unity, Derry, and Mount Pleasant townships, but that project has never materialized. The Pennsylvania Turnpike's New Stanton exit is about six miles (9 km) south of Greensburg on U.S. Route 119 where Interstate 70 splits from Interstate 76. The Turnpike's Irwin exit is located about seven miles west of the city on U.S. route 30. PA Routes 66 and 136 begin in Greensburg. PA Routes 130, 819 and U.S. Route 119 pass through the city. U.S. Route 22, a major connector from Central to Southwestern Pennsylvania runs approximately seven miles north of the city through Salem Township, accessible by routes 66, 819, and 119.
Westmoreland Transit is the mass transit system of Greensburg and Westmoreland County and operates a network of bus routes seven days a week throughout the city and the rest of the county, as well as Pittsburgh. Greyhound Lines runs regular scheduled bus service to and from Greensburg from many hubs, including Pittsburgh, Chicago, and New York City.
Air service is available at the Pittsburgh International Airport and at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport east of Greensburg in nearby Latrobe.
The city has Amtrak rail service at the restored Train Station, as well as freight rail operator Norfolk Southern and an independent shortline railroad connecting coal mines and businesses located south of the city to the Norfolk Southern line just west of Greensburg.
Greensburg is bike-friendly as it offers the Five Star Trail, which begins at Lynch Field and ends south of the city in Armbrust. It will eventually connect to the north section of the Youghiogheny River Trail, which is a part of the Great Allegheny Passage.
Electricity for Greensburg and a large portion of Westmoreland County is supplied by West Penn Power, a division of FirstEnergy. In addition, natural gas is widely used in the area due to large reserves existing throughout the region. Service is provided by Peoples Natural Gas Company and Columbia Natural Gas Company. Water utility service is provided by the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County (MAWC). Waste collection and sewage utilities are provided by Advanced Disposal and the Greater Greensburg Sewage Authority, respectively.
The Greater Greensburg area is home to several medical facilities, ranging from independent clinics and urgent care centers to full-service hospitals. The following listing is not exhaustive.Aestique Medical Center
Bio-Medical Applications of Greensburg
Excela Westmoreland Hospital
Greensburg Care Center
Innovative Health Services
Laurel Surgical Center
MedExpress Urgent Care Center
Greensburg is located within the 724 area code, which completely surrounds the 412 area code assigned to the city of Pittsburgh and most of Allegheny County, along with small portions of Washington and Westmoreland counties. In 2013, the overlay code 878 was approved for use in the area.Karen Angle – ex-wife of professional wrestler Kurt Angle and current Total Nonstop Action Wrestling performer
Paul Bartholomew – architect of various Greensburg landmarks and designer of Norvelt, Pennsylvania
Randy Bish – editorial cartoonist
James Clarke – third Governor of Iowa Territory
K.C. Constantine – mystery fiction author
Stephen Dau – author
Brett Detar – songwriter, musician, and record producer
Rebecca Franklin – food writer
Todd Gallagher – social scientist, author, filmmaker, and comedian
Doc Gessler - Major League Baseball outfielder
Paul Gilbert – guitarist for the bands Racer X and Mr. Big
Zach Jackson – Major League Baseball pitcher
Greg Jones – highly accomplished collegiate wrestler at West Virginia University
Sheila Kelley – actress
Peggy King – 1950s and 1960s pop singer and television personality
Rocco Mediate – professional golfer
Roland "Bud" Mertz – politician
Vic Mignogna – voice actor
Rikki & Vikki Mongeon, reality TV personalities better known as the Ikki Twins
Bruce Weber – fashion photographer
James C. White – radio personality
Cyrus E. Woods – lawyer and politician
Jacob Zimmerman – Illinois politician, newspaper editor, newspaper owner, and businessman.
Greensburg has two sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International: – (Belize)
– Cercemaggiore (Italy)