McKeesport, Pennsylvania, located at the junction of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers, is a distressed city near Pittsburgh. The town, settled in 1795 and named in honor of John McKee, its founder, was based around heavy industry. For some time, McKeeseport was the fastest growing town in the United States.
The population of McKeesport peaked at 55,000 in the 1940’s before declining as its industrial fortunes waned. It’s major employer, National Tube Company, manufactured iron pipes and employed over 10,000 before downsizing and eventually closing in the 1980’s. Another major source of employment, G.C. Murphy, a major retailer in the nation, was merged into another chain in 1985 and the headquarters vacated. Additionally, a major fire on May 21, 1976 in the heart of downtown claimed 15 buildings and several residences, destroying the Famous Department Store and many businesses. Most were not rebuilt.