River (/ˌæləˈɡeɪni/ AL-ə-GAY-nee) is a principal
tributary of the Ohio River; it is located in the Eastern United
States. The Allegheny
River joins with the
Monongahela River to form
Ohio River at the "Point" of
Point State Park
Point State Park in Downtown
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Allegheny
River is, by volume, the main
headstream of the Ohio River.
6 Settlements along the river
6.1 New York
7 See also
9 Further reading
10 External links
River drainage basin covers parts of New York and
Pennsylvania in the United States.
Further information: Geography of Pennsylvania
The river is approximately 325 miles (523 km) long, running
through the U.S. states of New York and Pennsylvania. It drains a
rural dissected plateau of 11,580 square miles (30,000 km2) in
the northern Allegheny Plateau, providing the northeastern most
drainage in the watershed of the Mississippi River. Its tributaries
reach to within 8 miles (13 km) of
Lake Erie in southwestern New
Valley has been one of the most productive areas of
fossil fuel extraction in
United States history, with its extensive
deposits of coal, petroleum, and natural gas.
River is named as Ohio on a sketch by George Washington.
The name Allegheny probably comes from Lenape welhik hane or
oolikhanna, which means 'best flowing river of the hills' or
'beautiful stream'. There is a Lenape legend of a tribe called
"Allegewi" who used to live along the river.
The following account of the origin of the name Allegheny was given in
1780 by Moravian missionary David Zeisberger: "All this land and
region, stretching as far as the creeks and waters that flow into the
Alleghene the Delawares called Alligewinenk, which means 'a land into
which they came from distant parts'. The river itself, however, is
called Alligewi Sipo. The whites have made Alleghene out of this, the
Six Nations calling the river the Ohio."
Indians, including the
Lenni Lenape and Iroquois, considered the
Allegheny and Ohio rivers as the same, as is suggested by a New York
State road sign on Interstate 86 that refers to the Allegheny River
also as Ohiːyo'. The
Geographic Names Information System
Geographic Names Information System lists
O-hee-yo and O-hi-o as variant names. The river is called Ohi:'i:o`
(river beautiful) in the Seneca language. In New York, areas around
the river are often named with the alternate spelling Allegany in
reference to the river; for example, the Village of Allegany and
Allegany State Park. Port Allegany, located along the river in
Pennsylvania near the border with New York, also follows this pattern.
Much of the Allegheny River's course is through hilly woodlands.
River rises in north central Pennsylvania, on Cobb Hill
in central Potter County, approximately 10 miles (16 km)
south of the New York border. It flows west past Coudersport then
turns north at Port Allegany and proceeds into western New York,
looping westward across southern Cattaraugus County for approximately
30 miles (48 km), past Portville, Olean, St. Bonaventure
University and Salamanca and flowing through Seneca Indian Nation
lands close to the northern boundary of
Allegany State Park
Allegany State Park before
Pennsylvania approximately 20 miles
(32 km) southeast of Jamestown, New York.
It flows in a broad zigzag course generally southward across Western
Pennsylvania; first flowing southwest past Warren, Tidioute, Tionesta,
Oil City, and Franklin, forming much of the northwestern boundary of
Allegheny National Forest. South of Franklin it turns southeast across
Clarion County in a meandering course, then turns again southwest
across Armstrong County, flowing past Kittanning, Ford City, Clinton,
Highland Park Bridge
Highland Park Bridge crosses the Allegheny
River at Aspinwall,
Pennsylvania, just above Allegheny
River Lock and Dam No. 2.
The river enters both Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, the
Pittsburgh suburbs, and the City of
Pittsburgh from the northeast. It
passes Sligo, Karns, and Natrona in Harrison Township; Metcalf,
Braeburn, Lower Burrell, and New Kensington; Brackenridge, Tarentum,
Creighton, Clyde, Springdale, Harmarville, Plum Borough, Oakmont,
Verona, PennHills, Blawnox, O'hara Township, Aspinwall, Sharpsburg,
Etna, Millvale, Lawrenceville, Highland Park, the North Side, Downtown
Pittsburgh, and Point State Park. The Allegheny joins with the
Monongahela River at the "Point" in Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
to form the Ohio River.
Water from the Allegheny
River eventually flows into the Gulf of
Mexico via the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
Main article: List of tributaries of the Allegheny River
In its upper reaches, the Allegheny
River is joined from the south by
Potato Creek 1.7 miles (2.7 km) downstream of Coryville,
Pennsylvania and from the north by Olean Creek at Olean, New York.
Tunungwant "Tuna" Creek joins the river from the south in Carrollton,
New York (flowing north from Bradford, Pennsylvania); the Great Valley
Creek and Little
Valley Creek join the river from the north at
Salamanca, New York before becoming the Allegheny Reservoir.
After re-entering Pennsylvania, the river is joined from the east by
Kinzua Creek 10 miles (16 km) upstream of Warren; from the north
Conewango Creek at Warren; from the west by Brokenstraw Creek; from
the east by East Hickory Creek at East Hickory; from the east by
Tionesta Creek at Tionesta; from the north by Oil Creek at Oil City;
from the west by French Creek at Franklin; from the east by the
Clarion River, a principal tributary, at Parker; from the east by
Crooked Creek southeast of Kittanning; and from the east by the
Kiskiminetas River, another principal tributary, at Schenley. Buffalo
Creek enters at Freeport, Chartiers Run enters at Lower Burrell, Bull
Creek enters at Tarentum,
Pucketa Creek enters near New Kensington,
Riddle Run enters at Springdale, and
Girtys Run enters at Millvale.
Many additional streams enter or join with the Allegheny
The eastern part of
Allegheny Islands State Park
Allegheny Islands State Park and the C. W. Bill
Young Lock and Dam (No. 3) on the Allegheny River
River has eight locks and dams (numbered two through
nine), which form corresponding pools.
River Lock and Dam No. 2
River Lock and Dam No. 3
River Lock and Dam No. 4
River Lock and Dam No. 5
River Lock and Dam No. 6
River Lock and Dam No. 7
River Lock and Dam No. 8
River Lock and Dam No. 9
The river is also impounded by the
Kinzua Dam in northwestern
Pennsylvania, resulting in the Allegheny Reservoir. The Seneca Pumped
Storage Generating Station is associated with Kinzua Dam.
Main article: List of crossings of the Allegheny River
Numerous bridges and tunnels span the river throughout its course. The
River Tunnel, utilized by
Pittsburgh Light Rail, went into
service in 2012.
In the 16th century, control of the river valley passed back-and-forth
Shawnee and the Iroquois. By the time of
the arrival of the French in the early 18th century, the
once again in control and formed an alliance with the French against
the incursion of British settlement across the Allegheny Mountains.
The conflict over the expansion of British settlement into the
Valley and the surrounding
Ohio Country was a primary cause
French and Indian War
French and Indian War in the 1750s. During the war, the
village of Kittanning – the principal
Shawnee settlement on the
river – was completely destroyed by British reprisal raids from
Nevertheless, the British, after gaining control of the area in the
1763 Treaty of Paris, kept the area closed to white settlement, in
part to repair and maintain relations with the Native Americans. The
pressure to open the river valley and the surrounding area to
settlement is considered by historians to be one of the root causes of
American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War in the following decade. After the war,
the entire river valley became part of the
United States of America.
During the 19th century, the river became a principal means of
navigation in the upper Ohio valley, especially for the transport of
coal. Although the building of the railroads lessened the importance
of the river somewhat, the lower river (navigable as far as East
Pennsylvania through locks) has continued to serve as route of
commercial transportation until the present day. In 1859, the first
U.S. petroleum was drilled north of the river at Titusville.
One of the underlying premises of the Genesee
Valley Canal was its
connection to the river, opening a trade route from Rochester, New
York to the west. The advent of the railroads destroyed any interest
Pennsylvania might have had in participating by improving
navigation on the river.
Seneca Chief Cornplanter
In 1965, the completion of the federally sponsored
Kinzua Dam for
flood-control in northwestern
Pennsylvania east of Warren created the
long Allegheny Reservoir, part of which is included in the Allegheny
National Recreation Area. The dam flooded parts of lands deeded
"forever" to the
Seneca Nation of Indians
Seneca Nation of Indians by the 1794 Treaty of
Canandaigua, and to lands given to
Cornplanter and his descendants.
The event was described in the
Johnny Cash song "As Long as the Grass
Shall Grow" from the 1964 album Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American
Indian, which focused on the history of and problems facing Native
Americans in the United States.
The construction of the dam and the filling of the Allegheny Reservoir
also necessitated the elimination of the small village of Corydon,
which was located at the confluence of Willow Creek with the Allegheny
River; and the small village of Kinzua, which was located at the
Kinzua Creek with the Allegheny River. All residents of
both villages were forced to move.
Kinzua Dam and Allegheny Reservoir
Many prominent individuals opposed the construction of the dam at that
time because of the damage it would do to Seneca lands, including
John P. Saylor
John P. Saylor of Johnstown, and Howard
Zahniser, executive director of The Wilderness Society and native of
Tionesta—a small settlement located along the Allegheny River
several miles downstream from Warren. During the campaign for the 1960
United States presidential election,
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy assured the
Seneca Nation that he would oppose the dam if elected. However, he
failed to follow through on his pledge upon becoming president.
In 1992, 86.6 miles (139.4 km) of the Allegheny
designated Wild and Scenic. This designation comprises three segments
of the river located in Warren, Forest, and Venango counties.
Katie Spotz became the first person to swim the entire 325
miles (523 km) of the Allegheny River; she was accompanied by
safety kayaker, James Hendershott. The team began at the river's
source in Raymond,
Pennsylvania on July 22 and finished at the "Point"
Pittsburgh on August 21.
In 2017, Rye Development received a licence from the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission to construct a hydroelectric plant to replace
the Highland Park dam. Construction of the 17-megawatt plant was set
to begin in 2018.
Settlements along the river
River at Foxburg, Pennsylvania
The Allegheny (left) and Monongahela (right) join to form the Ohio
River at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The headwaters of the Allegheny
River are in this meadow in Potter
Allegheny Islands State Park
Allegheny Riverfront Park
List of rivers of New York
List of rivers of Pennsylvania
Flood of 1936
Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta
^ USGS Data Report 2009
^ a b "Allegheny River". Geographic Names Information System. United
States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2010-05-13.
^ "welhik". Lenape Talking Dictionary. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
^ "Heckewelder here does not give the strict meaning of hanne. The
word in common use among Algonkin [i.e., Algonquian] tribes for river
is sipu, and this includes the idea of 'a stream of flowing water'.
But in the mountainous parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia
sipu did not sufficiently convey the idea of a rapid stream, roaring
down mountain gorges, and hanne takes its place to designate not a
mere sipu, or flowing river, but a rapid mountain stream." Russell,
Erret (1885). "Indian Geographical Names". The Magazine of Western
History. 2 (1): 53–59. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
^ Alleghany, or as some prefer to write it, Allegheny,—the Algonkin
name of the Ohio River, but now restricted to one of its
branches,—is probably (Delaware) welhik-hanné or [oo]lik-hanné,
'the best (or, the fairest) river.' Welhik (as Zeisberger wrote it) is
the inanimate form of the adjectival, meaning 'best,' 'most
beautiful.' In his Vocabulary, Zeisberger gave this synthesis, with
slight change of orthography, as "Wulach'neü" [or [oo]lakhanne[oo],
as Eliot would have written it,] with the free translation, "a fine
River, without Falls." The name was indeed more likely to belong to
rivers 'without falls' or other obstruction to the passage of canoes,
but its literal meaning is, as its composition shows, "best
rapid-stream," or "finest rapid-stream;" "La Belle Riviere" of the
French, and the Oue-yo´ or O hee´ yo Gä-hun´-dä, "good river" or
"the beautiful river," of the Senecas. For this translation of the
name we have very respectable authority,—that of Christian Frederick
Post, a Moravian of Pennsylvania, who lived seventeen years with the
Muhhekan Indians and was twice married among them, and whose knowledge
of the Indian languages enabled him to render important services to
the colony, as a negotiator with the Delawares and Shawanese of the
Ohio, in the French war. In his "Journal from Philadelphia to the
Ohio" in 1758, after mention of the 'Alleghenny' river, he says: "The
Ohio, as it is called by the Sennecas. Alleghenny is the name of the
same river in the Delaware language. Both words signify the fine or
fair river." La Metairie, the notary of La Salle's expedition, "calls
the Ohio, the Olighinsipou, or Aleghin; evidently an Algonkin
name,"—as Dr. Shea remarks. Heckewelder says that the Delawares
"still call the Allegany (Ohio) river, Alligéwi Sipu,"—"the river
of the Alligewi" as he chooses to translate it. In one form, we have
wulik-hannésipu, 'best rapid-stream long-river;' in the other,
wuliké-sipu, 'best long-river.' Heckewelder's derivation of the name,
on the authority of a Delaware legend, from the mythic 'Alligewi' or
'Talligewi,'—"a race of Indians said to have once inhabited that
country," who, after great battles fought in pre-historic times, were
driven from it by the all-conquering Delawares,—is of no value,
unless supported by other testimony. Trumbull, J. Hammond (1870). The
Composition of Indian Geographical Names. Hartford, Conn.
pp. 13–14. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
^ a b Stewart, George R. (1967). Names on the Land. Boston,
Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 8.
^ Zeisberger, David (1999). David Zeisberger's History of the Northern
American Indians in 18th Century Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania.
Wennawoods Publishing. p. 33. ISBN 1-889037-17-6.
^ "Glossary of Seneca Words". Internet Sacred Text Archive.
^ MacCorkle, William Alexander. "The historical and other relations of
Pittsburgh and the Virginias". Historic
Pittsburgh General Text
Collection. University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 12 September
^ Allegheny Wild and Scenic
River – Allegheny National Forest
^ Shuster, Patrick; Garrone, Francine (2008-08-18). "Ohio woman
swimming length of Allegheny River".
Tribune-Review Publishing Company. Archived from the original on 18
June 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
^ Nephin, Dan (2008-08-22). "Swimmer completes 325-mile swim of
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Tribune-Review Publishing
Company. Archived from the original on 18 June 2009. Retrieved
^ Tawnya Panizzi, "Feds issue license for proposed hydroelectric plant
for Highland Park Dam at Aspinwall." The
Valley News Dispatch,
Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 2:36 p.m. Retrieved from The Trib Live
on June 2, 2017.
Schafer, Jim; Mike Sajna (1992). The Allegheny River: Watershed of the
Nation. University Park, Pennsylvania, US: The
University Press. ISBN 978-0-271-00836-3.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Allegheny River.
U.S. Geological Survey: PA stream gaging stations