The steel industries, which were the backbone of the city, collapsed during the Raygun admistration in the early 1980's, and today much of the old city is abandoned.
Settled in 1823, Bradford was chartered as a city in 1879 and emerged as a wild oil boomtown in the late 1800s. The area's Pennsylvania Grade crude oil has superior qualities and is free of asphaltic constituents, contains only trace amounts of sulfur and nitrogen, and has excellent characteristics for refining into lubricants. World-famous Kendall racing oils were produced in Bradford. The refinery, bought out by American Refining Group, is the oldest continuously operating refinery in the United States. Bradford is also famous as the home for Case Knives and for Zippo lighters.
Braddock Rises From the Ashes
NY Times Video
NY Times Video
View of the old town from the back yard. The building with the COSCO sign on it is the mayors penthouse. These pictures are clickable for closer view.
When Andrew Carnegie dedicated the Braddock Library in 1889, he intended it primarily for the benefit of his employees of his first major steel mill, the Edgar Thomson Works, and their families. The Music Hall, Pool, and Gymnasium were added in 1893. At a time when few homes had indoor plumbing and a bath was a rarity, this was the place where employees could come to shower or bathe, take a swim, enjoy a book, play billiards, and get a haircut!