Beaver Falls, PA. Photo by HumanCity Creative.

Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Profile: Beaver County

The Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) is currently working with cities and towns across the state to put people first in community development and planning processes through Community Heart & Soul®. The program’s innovative approach uses the tools of the humanities to creatively engage residents in planning and decision-making processes as a way to strengthen a town’s social, cultural and economic vibrancy.

In February 2020, PHC officially announced its partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), the Beaver County Planning Commission, and the Orton Family Foundation to bring Community Heart & Soul® to the towns of Ambridge, Beaver Falls, and Rochester. Each of these three Beaver County communities will build their own local Community Heart & Soul® leadership teams with regional coordination and support from the Beaver County Planning Commission.


Ambridge Fall Festival of Churches. Photo by Borough of Ambridge.


Ambridge borough (pop. 7,050) was established in 1824 by the Harmony Society and officially incorporated in 1905. Its 1.7 square miles are loaded with history, including the Old Economy Village which was acquired by the state of Pennsylvania as its first historical site in 1916. In addition to annual events and celebrations, the community boasts a library, a theater, churches, and many established family businesses. Ambridge is wonderfully diverse and starting to undergo a welcome revitalization that includes investment in key public infrastructure like parks and downtown improvements.


Main Street in Beaver Falls. Photo by HumanCity Creative.

Beaver Falls

Beaver Falls (pop. 8,581) is a diverse community situated alongside the Beaver River. It is a proud city with strong ties to its historic past. The community has many assets, such as a thriving social culture and a healthy municipal infrastructure that includes the Community Development Corporation, Business District Authority, and local government, all working cooperatively towards common goals. Established churches, and other organizations, collaborate effectively with human services support networks. There is a flourishing arts community, fed by local artisans, businesses, and arts groups. Beaver Falls boasts the widest and longest main street in the region, which frequently hosts popular annual events.


Rochester Borough. Photo by Emmanuel Panagiotakis.


Rochester (pop. 3,657) is steeped in history owing to a mighty industrial past. It is at the center of Beaver County, earning it the nickname “Hub of Beaver County.” Today the borough is home to a variety of local businesses, including manufacturing, warehousing, retail, and healthcare. A public library, churches, and other institutions provide a supportive social network.  The beautiful Rochester Riverfront park rests at the confluence of the Beaver and Ohio Rivers, featuring walkable paths,  pavilions, river activities, and the patriotic Flag Plaza. The community is home to a diverse mix of longtime residents and newcomers.


More info is available at the web sites/Facebook pages of Beaver Falls Heart & Soul, Ambridge Heart & Soul, and Rochester Heart & Soul.



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