PA Chem Alms House black and white picture

Beaver County Almshouse

Please find links to an historical report and oral histories and an accompanying booklet related to the Beaver County Almshouse, which was originally established in 1853 for the poor and needy of Beaver County, Pennsylvania (PA). Over time, the institution would come to be referred to by a number of different names: Beaver County Home, Beaver County Home and Poor Farm, County Home, Poor Farm, County Farm, Poorhouse, Almshouse, and Beaver County Home and Hospital; several of these names are referenced herein. The Beaver County Home was closed in 1959 and sat largely dormant for the next 55 years, until it was removed by Horsehead Corporation in 2014-2015.  This historical reports provide documentation of the role and impact the Beaver County Almshouse played in shaping local history.

PA Chem Smelting operation black and white photograph

St. Joseph Lead Company, Zinc Smelting Division

Please find a link to an historical report and oral histories related to the former St. Joseph Lead Company, Zinc Smelting Division, which came to Potter Township, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, in 1930 at a site along the Ohio River approximately 28 miles west of Pittsburgh. The smelter—a facility for extracting or separating base metals from ores—operated continuously until 2014. The various units that comprised St. Joseph’s 263-acre site transformed zinc ore (or concentrates) into zinc products and other metal byproducts that fueled diverse industries and supported national defense.  Throughout its first four decades, the St. Joseph Lead Company, Zinc Smelting Division was known familiarly as “St. Joe.”  Following acquisition by Horsehead Industries in 1987, “St. Joe” became Zinc Corporation of America (ZCA) and, finally, Horsehead Corporation in 2003.  The smelter closed in 2014, and with the removal of the facility by Horsehead Corporation in 2014-2015, the physical reminder of St. Joe and Horsehead was removed from the landscape. Horsehead Corporation sold the property in 2015 to Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC (Shell) for the construction of a petrochemical complex.  This historical report provides documentation of the role and impact the St. Joe/Horsehead site played in shaping local history.

PA Chem Lock black and white photograph

Merrill Lock and Dam No. 6

Please find a link to an historical report regarding Merrill Lock and Dam No. 6, the remaining structures of which sit across the Ohio River from the Shell petrochemical facility in Beaver County.  The Merrill Lock and Dam No. 6 was completed in 1904 as part of a federally sponsored system of locks and moveable dams on the Ohio River that provided a reliable, year-round slack-water navigation for commercial and passenger traffic between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the mouth of the Beaver River.  The Merrill Lock and Dam No. 6 played an instrumental role in Ohio River navigation until the completion of the Montgomery Locks and Dam in 1936 rendered Merrill Lock and Dam No. 6 obsolete.  This historical report provides documentation of the role and impact Merrill Lock and Dam No. 6 played in shaping local history.