Moon Township, Pennsylvania

Moon Township is a township in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States, along the Ohio River. The population was 27,261 at the 2020 census.[2] Located 12 miles (19 km) northwest of Pittsburgh, the township is part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area and is home to Pittsburgh International Airport.

Moon Township, Pennsylvania
Robin Hill House in Moon Township
Robin Hill House in Moon Township
Flag of Moon Township, Pennsylvania
Official seal of Moon Township, Pennsylvania
Location of Moon Township in Allegheny County and Pennsylvania
Location of Moon Township in Allegheny County and Pennsylvania
Coordinates: 40°31′N 80°14′W / 40.517°N 80.233°W / 40.517; -80.233
CountryUnited States
 • TypeCouncil
 • ChairmanJohn Hertzer (R)
 • Total24.12 sq mi (62.46 km2)
 • Land23.83 sq mi (61.71 km2)
 • Water0.29 sq mi (0.75 km2)
1,175 ft (358 m)
 • Total27,261 Increase
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,073.57/sq mi (414.52/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)412, 724
FIPS code42-003-50784
WebsiteMoon Township



18th century


The initial settlement of Moon Township was a direct result of the westward expansion of English settlers and traders who arrived in the Ohio Valley in the early to mid-18th century. During the French and Indian War, the Iroquois, who controlled the land for hunting grounds through right of conquest, ceded large parcels of southwestern Pennsylvania lands through treaty or abandonment to settlers. In some cases, the land was already occupied by squatters who were to be forced off the land. In the face of this turmoil, Native American settlements of the south bank of the Ohio River typically relocated to more populous areas of the north bank in the current locales of Sewickley and Ambridge.

On the southern banks of the Ohio River, political disputes among settlers clouded the disposition of lands. Generally, the Pennsylvania Land Office apportioned land to owners through grants. However, some of the land encompassing what is now the Coraopolis Heights, Thorn Run valley, and Narrows Run valley were claimed through the process of "Tomahawk Improvements", a non-specific and oftentimes contested method. Settlement processes were often convoluted because of differences among land policies of the several colonies claiming the land, specifically Pennsylvania and Virginia.

On April 3, 1769, Andrew Montour, an Indian interpreter who had provided service to the English settlers during the French and Indian War, was granted one of the first land patents for approximately 350 acres (1.4 km2) of what later became the borough of Coraopolis and Neville Island. In 1773, the settler John Meek was awarded a 400-acre (1.6 km2) land grant from Virginia above the river bottom and between the Thorn Run and Montour Run valleys, and "Moon Township" was born, although formal, legal recognition would have to wait until 1788.

The settlers Robert Loudon and John Vail were awarded grants to a total of 600 acres (2.4 km2). Loudon's tract was situated on the Coraopolis Heights adjacent to the Meek grant. Vail's grant was established between the current Thorn Run and Narrows Run valleys (although the exact location is open to some interpretation). Three other early grants were warranted by either Virginia or Pennsylvania land speculators. The boundaries of these land tracts are hard to identify, and the names of the original grantees are contested. But historians believe that they encompassed about 700 acres (2.8 km2) or so, and were occupied by anonymous squatters. Given that the history is somewhat hazy, it remains that in abandoning their lands, the unidentified squatters ceded any potential claims to settlers who would otherwise improve and/or cultivate the land.

As the 18th century drew to a close, abandoned lands were taken up by new settlers who were drawn to the region by the fertility of the soil. This round of pioneers were, by and large, wealthier than their predecessors and had the means to develop the broken and hilly areas into plots suitable for farming.

Moon Township was created in 1788 as one of the original townships of the newly created Allegheny County.[4] In 1789 by an act of the legislature a portion of Washington County south of the Ohio River was transferred to Allegheny County.[5] The transferred area became part of Moon Township.[6]

At this time Moon Township occupied an enormous tract of land, possibly 145 square miles (380 km2). Some reports and, more often, legends of the time indicate that it would take one man on horseback two days to travel between the boundaries of the township. The sheer difficulty of settlers performing their civic duties (e.g., reporting to assigned polling places or attending jury trials) made it necessary for local governing authorities to parcel out the land into smaller municipalities. So, in 1790, the current Fayette Township was portioned off from Moon Township, to be followed by Findlay and Crescent townships, respectively.

19th century


In 1800, when Beaver County was created from Allegheny and Washington Counties that portion of Beaver County south of the Ohio River that it received from Allegheny County was in Moon Township. Upon the creation of Beaver County that portion of Moon Township that Allegheny County lost to Beaver County was divided into two new townships: First Moon and Second Moon Townships, Beaver County.[7]

20th century


In 1943, the federal government designed and built a housing plan known as Mooncrest for defense workers. Mooncrest residents produced armor plates, munitions and ships at the nearby Dravo Corp. during World War II. Operated by the U.S. Air Force after 1945, homes were sold to private investors in the mid-1950s.

Moon became home to Pittsburgh International Airport in 1951, replacing the Allegheny County Airport as the main terminal for the region. The area developed mainly due to the airport. Prior to this time, the western hills of Allegheny County consisted largely of rolling farms and small residential developments. On April 1, 1956, TWA Flight 400 crashed on takeoff from the airport, killing 22 people just past the east end of the runway, which lies in Moon Township. Development of Pennsylvania Route 60 (now Interstate 376) to the Pittsburgh airport, plus the addition of the Parkway West from Pittsburgh and nearby exits of Interstate 79, allowed Moon to become the area's crossroads for transportation via air and road.

During the Cold War, Moon Township was the location of Nike Site PI-71, which was a battery of Nike Ajax and/or Nike Hercules surface-to-air missiles, used by US armed forces for high – and medium-altitude air defense. The former missile site is now a nature preserve.

In 1991, the relocation of the landside terminal of the Pittsburgh International Airport to nearby Findlay Township resulted in a loss in traffic to the township. Moon experienced a significant loss of tax revenues but has since rebounded as the cargo area for the airport. A large part of the airport's runways and facilities are located within the boundary of Moon Township, although the terminal and about half of the airport's land area are in Findlay Township, to the west.

Since the loss of the airport terminal, the township has shifted its focus from airport commerce to corporate development, residences and university hub. The main campus of Robert Morris University is also located within the township.

Playing off the township's unique name, supervisors in 2005 gave Moon a new slogan, "Explore Our Universe". "The slogan is a play not only on the township's lunar name but also on Robert Morris University and the University Boulevard business corridor, which township officials would like investors and consumers to explore a little more thoroughly," wrote the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2005.[8]



According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 24.1 square miles (62 km2), of which 23.7 square miles (61 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2), or 1.41%, is water.

Climate data for Moon Township, PA (1991-2020 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 35.6
Daily mean °F (°C) 27.5
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 19.4
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.06
Source: NOAA[9][10]

Surrounding and adjacent communities


Moon Township has six land borders, including Crescent Township to the north-northwest, Hopewell Township (Beaver County) to the northwest, Findlay Township to the west and southwest, North Fayette Township to the south, Robinson Township to the southeast, east and northeast, and the borough of Coraopolis to the north-northeast. Across the Ohio River to the northwest, a section of Moon runs adjacent with (from north to south) Edgeworth, Sewickley, and Glen Osborne. The Sewickley Bridge is the direct link between Moon Township and Sewickley.


Historical population
2022 (est.)26,782[3]−1.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[11][12][13][14][15][16][17]

As of the 2000 census,[18] there were 22,290 people, 8,445 households, and 5,767 families residing in the township. The population density was 939.1 inhabitants per square mile (362.6/km2). There were 9,200 housing units at an average density of 387.6 per square mile (149.7/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 93.17% White, 3.58% African American, 0.06% Native American, 1.94% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.25% from other races, and 0.97% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 0.99% of the population.

There were 8,445 households, out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.9% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% were non-families. Of all households, 26.8% were made up of individuals, and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the township, the population was spread out, with 22.1% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.1 males.

The median income for a household in the township was $57,173, and the median income for a family was $68,256. Males had a median income of $48,444 versus $31,073 for females. The per capita income for the township was $26,457. About 2.2% of families and 4.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.6% of those under age 18 and 3.5% of those age 65 or over.



Moon Township is home to Pittsburgh International Airport, the primary international airport serving Greater Pittsburgh, with Findlay Township. The township is home to the Air Force Reserve Command 911th Airlift Wing, which was established in 1943.[19] Moon is also home to the 171st Air Refueling Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard. Additionally, the Army has its 99th Regional Readiness Command, built in the late 1990s.

Major corporation headquarters in Moon include Nova Chemicals, FedEx Ground, Dick's Sporting Goods, and First Health/Coventry. Moon Township is the location of the National Weather Service forecast office that serves Pittsburgh.[20]

Ground was broken in late 2006 on the new Cherrington Parkway extension. The extension, which opened in early 2008, created additional shovel-ready land for Class A office space, for corporate development.[21]

As a result of Robert Morris University, the college feeds much of the economy along the township's University Boulevard area.

US Airways was based at Pittsburgh International Airport and had its flight operations center in Moon until was closed following the 2015 merger of US Airways and American Airlines.[22][23]



The West Hills Shopping Center, once the heart of Moon's commercial business, was sold to Walmart for $4.7 million and announced to the public on January 3, 2007.[24] Walmart officials announced their plans to build a supercenter location on the site of what was the West Hills Shopping Center.[25] The store opened in fall of 2016.

On the morning of August 14, 2003, the former Beers School and Narrows Run Roads (from the I-376 Business Loop route to Thorn Run Road) became known as University Boulevard, a move that helped to promote the township as the home of Robert Morris University.[26] The new road name also depicts the township's efforts to re-emerge as a business-dominant community. Since the 2003 renaming, township officials have researched various zoning ordinances to piece together Moon's main business corridor.[27][28]

Government and politics

Presidential elections results[29][30][31]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2020 51% 7,658 47% 7,098 1% 187
2016 55% 6,875 44% 5,554 1% 94
2012 57% 6,785 42% 4,908 1% 121

The township is policed by the Moon Township Police Department.



Moon Township is home to the Moon Area School District, which consists of students from both Moon and Crescent townships. The school district enrolls approximately 3,900 students in their seven schools educating grades kindergarten through 12th grade.

Robert Morris University enrolls nearly 5,000 students and offers 60 bachelor's degree programs and 35 master's and doctoral programs at its campus in Moon.[32][33]



In 2007, Moon Township was honored with several honors as one of the country's best places to live. ranked Moon one of five best affordable suburbs in the Northeast.[34][35] The recognition includes the 15108 zip code covering Coraopolis borough, Kennedy and Moon townships.

Moon was nominated as a runner-up in the list of top Pittsburgh suburbs to raise a family in 2013.[36]

Notable people


Moon in the media

  • Scenes from the 1979 movie The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh were shot in the gym at Moon Area High School.
  • The Los Angeles–based production company Phalco Films was established in Moon Township in early 2006 before relocating to the West Coast.
  • Parts of the movie The Silence of the Lambs were filmed in Moon Township. Several Moon Township police officers had minor non-speaking roles as extras in the film.
  • Parts of the movie Adventureland were filmed in Moon Township at the Stardust Lounge.[38]

Presidential visits


Because Pittsburgh International Airport is adjacent to Moon, many presidential visits to the Pittsburgh area start in Moon. For example, President Gerald Ford made a surprise visit to Moon a day after pardoning President Richard M. Nixon on September 9, 1974.[39] In 1994, President Bill Clinton greeted Prime Minister John Major of Great Britain at a hangar at the 911th Air Wing of the Air Force Reserve at the Pittsburgh International Airport in Moon Township.[40][41] A day after securing the Democratic nomination for president, then–Vice President Al Gore held a rally at Moon's high school gym on March 16, 2000. In September 2009, President Obama visited Pittsburgh for the G-20 conference.[42] Then–Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump held a rally on June 11, 2016, at the Moon Township airplane hangar. On March 10, 2018, then-President Trump held another rally at the Moon Township airplane hangar, campaigning in support of Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone for a special election within Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district.[43]


  1. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "City and Town Population Totals: 2020-2021". US Census Bureau. Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "City and Town Population Totals: 2020-2022". US Census Bureau. Retrieved June 13, 2023.
  4. ^ History of Alleghany County, Pennsylvania, 2 volumes (Chicago: A Warner & Co., 1889), vol. 2, p. 5; digital images, Internet Archive ( : accessed November 3, 2018).
  5. ^ Laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 4 vols. (Philadelphia: John Bioren, 1810), vol. 2, page 492-493, Chapter MCCCCXXIV, Section II, "An Act for annexing part of the county of Washington to the county of Allegheny," September 17, 1789, an area of Washington County south of the Ohio River was annexed to Allegheny County after the survey, digital images, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau ( : November 3, 2018).
  6. ^ Joseph Henderson Bausman, History of Beaver County, Pennsylvania: And Its Centennial Celebration, 2 volumes (New York: Knickerbocker Press, 1904), vol. 2, p. 861; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed November 2, 2018).
  7. ^ Until 1789 all that area south of the Ohio River that would become part of Beaver County was part of Washington County. In 1789 by an act of the legislature all that portion of Washington County south of the Ohio River that in 1800 was included in First and Second Moon Townships was transferred to Allegheny County. There is no map of Allegheny County of that period showing townships, and there is a break in the Minutes of the Court of Quarter Sessions from 1793 to 1820, two books having been lost or burned at the time of the burning of the Allegheny County court-house, May 7, 1882. But from what is yet remaining of those minutes, that is, up to 1793, and from the Road Dockets and Miscellaneous Dockets, it would appear that this annexed territory was considered a part of one of the original Allegheny County townships, namely Moon. The dockets uniformly show under the head of Moon township the petitions for roads, etc., coming up from the inhabitants in every part of the annexed region. This is the case up to 1800, when Beaver County was formed; and until 1804, when Beaver County ceased to be connected with Allegheny County for judicial purposes,—all that part of the county, even as far down as Georgetown, is spoken of as Moon township. Joseph Henderson Bausman, History of Beaver County, Pennsylvania: And Its Centennial Celebration, 2 volumes (New York: Knickerbocker Press, 1904), vol. 2, p. 861; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed November 2, 2018).
  8. ^ Gigler, Dan (August 11, 2004). "Township invites visitors to explore". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  9. ^ "NOWData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  10. ^ "Monthly Normals 1991-2020". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  12. ^ "1850-1870 Population" (PDF).
  13. ^ "1870-1880 Population" (PDF).
  14. ^ "1890-1910 Population" (PDF).
  15. ^ "1910-1930 Population" (PDF).
  16. ^ "1940-1960 Population" (PDF).
  17. ^ "1970-1990 Population" (PDF).
  18. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  19. ^ "Air Force Reserve".
  20. ^ "NWS Forecast Office Pittsburgh, PA". September 23, 2018.
  21. ^ "Allegheny County News". Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved March 18, 2007.
  22. ^ David, Brian (March 1, 2007). "US Airways will build in Moon". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  23. ^ Belko, Mark (July 29, 2015). "US Airways operations center in Moon to close in late August". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  24. ^ Wal-Mart buys strip mall Archived January 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 3, 2007.
  25. ^ Wal-Mart offers first glimpse of Moon plans, Coraopolis-Moon Record, September 6, 2007.
  26. ^ Brandebura, Joyce (April 16, 2003). "University Boulevard unveiled with ceremony at Robert Morris". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  27. ^ Gigler, Dan (October 15, 2003). "Moon: Plan for University Boulevard includes pedestrian-friendly features". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  28. ^ Gigler, Dan (March 2, 2005). "Moon designates corridor for development". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  29. ^ EL. "2012 Allegheny County election". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  30. ^ EL. "2016 Pennsylvania general election..." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  31. ^ "Official Results".
  32. ^ "Undergraduate Programs / Robert Morris University". RMU website. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  33. ^ "Graduate Programs / Robert Morris University". RMU website. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  34. ^ Roney, Maya. "The 20 Best Affordable Suburbs in the Northeast". Archived from the original on August 23, 2007. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  35. ^ "Moon Township Voted Fifth Best Affordable Suburb". Moon Township Administration. Archived from the original on July 1, 2007. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  36. ^ ampackard (October 21, 2013). "Best Suburb of Pittsburgh to Raise a Family?". Heartland Homes. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  37. ^ "Lou Christie High School". "Lou Christie Official Web Site. Retrieved February 1, 2007.
  38. ^ Vancheri, Barbara (April 2, 2009). "'Adventureland' uses several locations in area". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  39. ^ Majors, Dan (December 28, 2006). "In wake of Nixon pardon, Ford visited Pittsburgh". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 18, 2007.
  40. ^ Tramontina, Gary (February 28, 1994). "President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister John Major visit Pittsburgh". United Press International, Inc. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  41. ^ Sebak, Rick (December 21, 2015). "Bill Clinton's Most Unusual Visit to Pittsburgh". WiesnerMedia. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  42. ^ O'Toole, James (March 16, 2000). "Gore, in Moon, asks if Bush is qualified". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 18, 2007.
  43. ^ Delano, Jon (March 10, 2018). "Trump Comes to Pittsburgh as Congressional Election Goes Down to the Wire". CBS Pittsburgh. Retrieved March 10, 2018.