Introduction to Donora, Pennsylvania

Donora, Pennsylvania, in Washington county, is 19 miles S of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.The town is in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, and as of the 2000 census, it had 5,653 residents.

Donora History

The history of the area dates back to the early 1800s when Charles DeHaas established a settlement by the name of "Pittsborough". This name later changed to "Columbia", and then to "West Columbia". Even though some houses and a post office were built in the 1810s, development of the community gradually waned. For the next few decades, until the arrival of the Union Improvement Company in the late 1890s, lots were sold for very small sums. The Union Improvement Company laid out the town of "Donora" which was officially incorporated in 1901. The community name was derived from a combination of two names - businessman William Donner's, and banker Andrew Mellon's wife, Nora Mellon's. The Union Steel Company set up shop in the region in 1900, and has since grown into one of the largest plants in the United States. This company was largely responsible for bringing about industrial growth in the region. The town also witnessed the infamous Donora Smog of 1948 which resulted in the death of a large number of people.

Donora and Nearby Attractions

  • Carnegie Museum of Natural History
  • West Overton Village
  • Bushy Run Battlefield
  • Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
  • Point State Park
  • National Aviary

Things To Do In Donora

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History showcases artifacts and memorabilia of historical significance, while the Westmoreland Museum of American Art features collections of landscapes, portraits, and still lifes. Bushy Run Battlefield marks the site where the Anglo-Americans won a victory in 1763, during the Pontiac's War. Clayton - Henry Clay Frick Estate, Andy Warhol Museum, Fort Pitt Museum, and Frick Art & Historical Center are some of the other museums and historic sites near Donora. Opportunities for boating, camping, swimming, hiking, and picnicking are available at the Ohiopyle State Park, and Keystone State Park. National Aviary, which is home to several hundreds of endangered and exotic birds, is another popular attraction in the area. Among other places to visit are the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Caddie Shak Family Fun Park, and Point State Park.

Donora Transportation

Air transportation is available from Pittsburgh International Airport.

Donora Higher Education

California University of Pennsylvania, Carlow College, Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham College, and Community College of Allegheny County are some of the colleges near Donora.


Total Population 4,697
Male Share of the Population 46%
Female Share of the Population 54%
Senior Citizens 19.8%
Employed Population 16+ 1,818
Age of the Population 40


% of people married 36.5%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 19.6%
Median Earnings25+ $26,528
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $2
Median Earnings With High School Degree $22,401


Median Family Income $50,262
% Above Poverty Level 75%
% Below Poverty Level 25%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 27 minutes
% Working from Home 0.8%
% Walking and Biking to Work 2.8%
% Using Public Transportation 6.1%


People Living Alone 36.5%
Median Gross Rent $564
Median House Value $52,900


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 18.7%
US/American 0%
English 10.3%
Irish 14.2%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Donora Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 19 miles S of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
County Washington
Metro Area Pittsburgh
Standard Zip Codes 15033
Phone Area Codes 724
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 40.173
Longitude -79.857

Donora Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Station DONORA 1 SW
Distance 0.7 miles
Jan Temp 20 to 38 F
Apr Temp 38 to 62 F
Jul Temp 63 to 85 F
Oct Temp 43 to 66 F
Annual Precip 37.6 inches
Distance 17.2 miles
Jan Temp 17 to 34 F
Apr Temp 36 to 59 F
Jul Temp 60 to 82 F
Oct Temp 40 to 62 F
Annual Precip 38.1 inches
Distance 26.7 miles
Jan Temp 18 to 34 F
Apr Temp 36 to 60 F
Jul Temp 59 to 78 F
Oct Temp 39 to 61 F
Annual Precip 54 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Belle Vernon 1,100 $47,708
Charleroi 4,062 $34,362

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Donora Public Libraries

Donora Public Library
Donora, Pennsylvania
(724) 379-7940
Library Web Site

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More Information for Librarians

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