Glimpse of the Past: Officials Gather Moon Township History, Seek Input
A firm is now reviewing Moon Township's roots as part of an effort to have the Mooncrest neighborhood included in the National Register of Historic Places.
Moon's Historic Architectural Review Board in April will learn more about its effort to have the Mooncrest neighborhood added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The designation could aid in restoration efforts in Mooncrest, a cluster of 400 homes situated off Old Thorn Run Road. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission named the neighborhood a historic district in 2004.
Lora Dombrowski, Moon's code enforcement officer and a member of Moon Township's Architectural Review Board, said the 42-acre neighborhood was central to life in Moon Township—the community's police department, school and municipal building were all once located in Mooncrest.
Constructed in 1943, Mooncrest's homes once housed Neville Island shipyard workers. After 1945, the ward was operated by the Air Force, and by the mid-1950s its housing stock was sold individually to private owners.
"We actually had a gentleman who came in the other day and told us 'Mooncrest was ahead of its time,' " Dombrowski said. "There was a market there, a barber shop there. Everything was there."
The neighborhood has since fallen into disrepair. Moon officials are now gathering photographs and oral histories of former Mooncrest residents, which will be compiled in a book documenting the neighborhood's history.
"Anyone can submit photographs up until May, when our first draft of the book is due," Dombrowski said. "We're always collecting photographs. We want to get them now before we loose them—before people throw them away."
The Historic Architectural Review Board will hold a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. April 24 to learn more about the project's status with the historic register.
In December, Moon supervisors awarded a $34,000 contract to the firm T&E Planning to expand historic preservation efforts outside Mooncrest.
The Historic Architecture Review Board received a $10,000 grant toward the project. The remainder of the funding will be contributed by the township.
T&E will work to identify historic homes and structures in Moon and compile a documentation of the township's history.
"Interestingly enough, there was a lot of development in Moon Township that occurred after Mooncrest, with the (Pittsburgh International) airport and the parkway," Dombrowski said. "And so we want to learn more about that pre-World War II and post-World War II history."
"The objective is really just education, and we want to find out what is historic here in Moon, and what is not," Dombrowski said. "There are a lot of new people here in the township, and we want a document (of Moon history) that could be used as a discussion tool."