Indian settlements of the south bank of the Ohio River, such as they were at the time, typically relocated to more populous areas of the north bank in the current locales of Sewickley, Aliquippa and Ambridge.
On the southern banks of the Ohio, political disputes clouded the ways and means of appropriate settlement. Generally, land was apportioned to owners through grants by the Pennsylvania Land Office. However, some of the land encompassing what is now the Coraopolis Heights, Thorn Run valley, and Narrows Run valley were claimed through the process of “Tomahawk Improvements.”
Settlement processes were often convoluted because of differences among land policies of the several colonies claiming the land, specifically Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Each colony had its own means of either granting or restricting settlement opportunities. Regardless, the process of obtaining land in what is now regarded as “Moon Township” meant that each settler claiming land had to go through a multi-level process of application for grant, warrant of property and survey to ensure the physical boundaries of the property and patent approval where the applicant paid for the land and title was conferred.
In 1769, Henry Andrew Montour, an Indian interpreter who had provided service to the settlers during the war, was granted one of the first land patents for approximately of what would later become the borough of Coraopolis and Neville (or Long) Island.
It wasn’t until 1773, when settler John Meek was awarded a land grant above the river bottom and between the Thorn Run and Montour Run valleys that “Moon Township” was born.
In addition to the grants mentioned above, there were three other grants that were warranted by either Virginian or Pennsylvanian land speculators. The boundaries of these land tracts are hard to identify, but it is generally thought that they encompassed about 700 or so acres and were occupied by anonymous squatters. The reasons for occupation of these lands by squatters, and their subsequent abandonment is questionable at best. But it is widely held that squatters were somehow social outcasts or opposed to social order. In abandoning their lands the squatters ceded any potential claims to settlers who would otherwise improve and/or cultivate the land.
As the 18th century drew to a close, abandoned lands were taken up by new settlers who were drawn to the region by the fertility of the soil. These pioneers were, by and large, wealthier than their predecessors and had the means by which they could transform the broken and hilly areas into ones more suitable for farming.
At this time Moon Township was an enormous tract of land - possibly 145 square miles. The sheer difficulty of residents to perform their civic duties (i.e., report to assigned polling places or attend jury trials) made it necessary for local governing authorities to parcel out the land into smaller municipalities. So in 1790, the current Fayette County was portioned off from Moon Township, to be followed by Findlay and Crescent townships, respectively.
At the start of the 19th century, Moon Township was both ready and willing to take off.
Moon became home to Pittsburgh's modern day airport in 1951, replacing the Allegheny County Airport as the main terminal for the region. The area developed mainly due to the airport. Prior to this time, the western hills of Allegheny County consisted largely of rolling farms and small residential developments.
Development of Route 60 to the Pittsburgh airport, plus the addition of the Parkway West from Pittsburgh and nearby exits of Interstate 79, allowed Moon to become the area's crossroads for transportation via air and road.
In 1991, the relocation of the landside terminal of the Pittsburgh International Airport to nearby Findlay Township resulted in a loss in traffic to the township. Moon experienced a significant loss of tax revenues but has since rebounded as the cargo area for the airport.
A majority of the airport's runways and facilities are still located within the boundary of Moon Township.
The township is home to the Air Force Reserve 911th Airlift Wing, which was established in 1943. Moon is also home to the 171st Air Refueling Wing of the Pa. Air National Guard. Additionally, the Army has its 99th Regional Readiness Command, built in the late 1990s in Moon Township.
Since the loss of the airport terminal, the township has shifted its focus from airport commerce to corporate development, residences and university hub. The main campus of Robert Morris University is also located within the township.
Ground was broken in late 2006 on the new Cherrington Parkway extension. The extension, anticipated to be opened in early 2008, will create additional shovel-ready land for Class A office space, for corporate development.
As a result of Robert Morris University, the college feeds much of the economy along the township's University Boulevard area.
A new Walgreens is near completion and should be opening soon.
A new Target and Giant Eagle are also rumored to be in development.
Wal-Mart officials announced their plans to build a supercenter location on the site of what's now the West Hills Shopping Center. The company also purchased two adjacent parcels of land along Brodhead Road. The store could open as soon as 2010.
The new road name also depicts the township's efforts to re-emerge as a business-dominant community. Since the 2003 re-naming, township officials have researched various zoning ordinances to piece together Moon's main business corridor.
The township is also situated next to Hopewell Township in Beaver County.
BusinessWeek.com ranked Moon one of five best affordable suburbs in the North East.
Township officials had no idea the community received the award until Greg Smith, the township's manager, found the report online. The recognition includes the 15108 zip code covering Coraopolis and Kennedy and Moon townships.
Moon also was included in the 2007 "Best Places To Raise Your Family" published by Wiley Publishing, Inc. Moon is featured on pages 166-167. This listing included Coraopolis and Moon as the rankings are based on zip code.
There were 8,445 households out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.9% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% were non-families. 26.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the township the population was spread out with 22.1% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 97.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.1 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $57,173, and the median income for a family was $68,256. Males had a median income of $48,444 versus $31,073 for females. The per capita income for the township was $26,457. About 2.2% of families and 4.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.6% of those under age 18 and 3.5% of those age 65 or over.