On April 26, 1827, Joseph Allen, an Englishman, purchased the land that would eventually be known as Allentown from Jeremiah Warder. Incorporated on March 2, 1870 and annexed by the City of Pittsburgh on April 2, 1872, Allentown was settled by many skilled German immigrants who established businesses. Welsh, Irish, and English settlers made up the second largest immigrant population.
Allentown developed quickly due to its convenient location to downtown Pittsburgh as well as due to the available transportation. Two main roads south from Pittsburgh merged on the hilltop in Allentown: Washington Road (today’s Warrington Avenue) and Brownsville Turnpike Road (today’s Arlington Avenue). The neighborhoods were connected at first by horse-drawn streetcars and later by the electric streetcar. In 1888 Allentown became the first site west of the Allegheny Mountains to operate an electric streetcar. Ever since thenthe trolley, or ‘T’, has run through the neighborhood of Allentown, keeping the hilltop residents connected todowntown Pittsburgh. In the past there were five inclines that served Allentown, the most famous of which was the curved Knoxville incline with a station at the intersection of Warrington and Arlington. Today the T line is used primarily as an emergency route when the South Hills Transit Tunnel is down for some reason, several bus routes, and many more roads connect the neighborhood with the downtown, South Side, Mt Washington, Dormont, and beyond.
Allentown is now home to major restaurants like Alla Famiglia and Sweet Peaches, and remains a great area for local foot traffic between South Side and Mt Washington.