Clairton, PA: The City of Prayer

One of my favorite Pittsburgh suburbs, Clairton, lies half an hour south of downtown.  Called the City of Prayer, it was so named for little protest signs posted around the city limits dissenting the Supreme Court’s 1963 ban on sponsored school prayer.  By 1988, Clairton had been designated a Distressed Municipality by Pennsylvania’s Department of Community Affairs, another casualty of the steel industry’s mid-’70s decline.

More recently, most of its schools were closed and condensed into a single building. Its tiny little downtown strip of vintage, partially vacant storefronts is punctuated by park bench advertisements, randomly placed children’s artwork, and playfully designed retro streetlights.   Even some of the businesses that remain open have boarded windows, and can be difficult to distinguish.


I have very much enjoyed every visit, and I look forward to returning.


6 thoughts on “Clairton, PA: The City of Prayer

  1. Not long ago, people might have looked forward for days to a trip to Nettie’s or Ken’s or the Miller Bar or, of course, Craft World. Those places could be fleshed out with old photographs and advertisements, but it is fascinating to explore what is there. It lends hope that some of the shopfronts can come to life again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, it would be so cool to find old advertisements from them! I’ll start hunting.
      The other day, I picked up a free dresser and the newspaper liner inside had an ad for an old appliance store I have taken many photos of in Detroit, which was exciting.


  2. When I see storefronts like these I always wonder what became of the Kens, Netties, and Millers whose names they bear. It’s wonderful that you’ve so lovingly documented and preserved their names, at least. But … that bench! Yikes. It’s tough to know whether to cringe or to laugh, isn’t it? Thank you for another wonderful post.

    Liked by 1 person

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