Allegheny Arsenal (1814-1909) - A U.S. Army arsenal established in 1814 during the War of 1812 by Colonel Abraham R. Wooley in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Abandoned in 1909. Also known as Pittsburgh Arsenal.
Established 9 Apr 1814 as U.S. Army arsenal during the War of 1812. The site occupied 37 acres between 39th St. and 40th St. from the Allegheny River up to Penn Ave. The major functions of the arsenal were the manufacture of leather goods, rifle and pistol ammunition and the storage of large artillery pieces manufactured at the nearby Fort Pitt Foundry. The arsenal also test fired the cannons from the foundry.
The arsenal was rocked by a series of explosions on 17 Sep 1862 that killed 78 workers, mostly young girls. At the time of the explosion the arsenal was manufacturing rifle cartridges and Parrot cannon ammunition. Speculation was that a metal horse shoe created a spark that ignited loose powder and then powder barrels. Three explosions rocked the arsenal killing the workers.
Ammunition manufacture stopped in 1868 and the arsenal became more of a storage area. (An amusingly anecdotal account of it in 1907 is given by Frederick Phelps who was its Depot Quartermaster: Association of Graduates USMA, Annual Report for 1920, p129) The arsenal was deactivated in 1909 and portions transferred to the city for public schools while part was set aside for Arsenal Park.
A roadside marker and stone magazine building at Arsenal Park in the Central Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The powder magazine has been repurposed as a public restroom.
Allegheny Arsenal Picture Gallery