A History of Baden
Military history seems to have surrounded Baden. Treaties were signed and councils were held between the Native Americans and settlers at Logstown, a Native American village. General (Mad Anthony) Wayne established a military camp, which he called Ligionville, at the site of the former Logstown Village in 1792. This was the nation’s first camp for the exclusive purpose of training troops.
The south of Baden was bordered by the site of General Anthony Wayne’s training grounds for the troops he led to victory over the Native Americans at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. This victory opened the Northwest Territory to settlers. It was at Legionville that George Washington and Christopher Gist came to converse with the Native Americans under Queen Aliquippa.
Many Native Americans, along with French, English and colonial fur traders traveled through this area. State Street, known to early settlers as the “Big Road”, provided a main thoroughfare for travelers and traders to take their stock from farming areas to the markets in Pittsburgh, George Washington may have traveled along State Street on his way to Fort LeBoeuf, following his 1753 conference with Native American leaders in Logstown.
Baden was founded in 1838, and was made up of Depreciated Lands given by the Federal Government in exchange for Revolutionary War currency. Christian Burkhardt, proprietor of the land known as Baden today, recorded the land in 1839 and named it the village of Baden. Baden was named after a fashionable resort town where visitors bathed in hot springs surrounded by West Germany’s Black Forest. The mineral waters of Baden-Baden, (pronounced BAH-dun Bad-dun) West Germany, attracted thousands of visitors seeking health benefits from the hot springs or just play in the area’s parks.
The first owner to settle in Baden was Jonathan Hill in 1819. A part of his original property remains in Baden as the Hillcrest Cemetery. Revolutionary soldiers and members of the Hill Family were laid to rest in this historic cemetery. Today, the Hill Cemetery is part of the Borough of Baden, which is located along Route 65, twenty miles north of Pittsburgh.
The oldest recorded home in Baden, built in the early 1800’s, is the stone house at the corner of Mellon Avenue and State Street. The stone house was a stop off place when farmers drove their sheep, hogs and turkeys to markets in Pittsburgh.
Christian Burkhardt laid out the first plans for lots in Baden. This was the part of town lying between Tevebaugh Road and All Fours Run, known today as Rotteck and Schiller Streets. The original village was between the railroad and the Ohio River. A significant amount of history was made near or around Baden; however, Baden for most of its history was a residential town.
The forests, sloping river banks and the beautiful river views attracted many river boat captains to settle in Baden. Captain John H. Dippold piloted the “Joseph B. Williams” when it set records in 1899, carrying 812,000 bushels of coal from Pittsburgh to Louisville. Today Captain Dippold’s original house, built in the 1850’s overlooking the river, was moved in 1910 to its present location on State Street. River Boat Captain Calvin Blazer purchased the house at State Street and Bryan Avenue in 1870 from the Machesney family. Currently, the captain’s house is occupied by a florist and financial company.
In the early days Baden had two boat building yards, two quarries, a lath mill and a gristmill. In latter days, there was a small steel mill, several small coal mines and gas and oil wells. Baden was incorporated as a Borough in 1858. Baden grew with the formation of railroads and steel mills causing farm lands and farmers to disappear. The population in 1900 was 427.
At the beginning for World War I, Baden had a population of 600 residents. It was during this period that Mount Gallitzin Academy and the Conway Railroad Yard (currently Norfolk Southern Railroad) were built. Also at this time the town of Remington was renamed Conway. In 1938, the population of Baden was between 2,500 and 3,000 and according to the 2000 census the population was 4,377.
Today, Baden is home to the Lutheran, Methodist and Catholic Churches. Within Baden’s Borders are varied businesses and professional offices, as well as numerous civic, recreational and service organizations for all ages. The recently renovated State Street Elementary School (Ambridge Area School District), The Baden Memorial Library and Baden Memorial Park, are all located in the center of town. The Police and the Fire Department are housed in the new Municipal Complex, as is the town’s government.