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Courtesy of Beaver County Bicentennial Atlas


In 1906, the Orenstein-Koppel Co., a German manufacturing concern, purchased 558 acres of land above the Beaver River in Big Beaver Township. The land was purchased largely from the Beatty, Ellis, Huffman, Blair, and Smiley families. Rows of houses were built in the same year, and the plant was constructed in 1907. Special types of railroad cars were built here, for such diverse uses as sugar cane and crushed rock. The Borough of Koppel, named for Arthur Koppel, was incorporated in 1912. Within the next year, a municipal building and a public school were built on land donated by the company. In 1917, the buildings of the Orenstein-Koppel Co., which included the manufacturing plant as well as most of the town, were confiscated by the United States government and sold to the Koppel Industrial and Equipment Company. The Pressed Steel Car Company was founded in 1919 and became the chief industry of the community, but it was crippled by the depression and closed in 1937.

The Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler and New Castle Street Railway was built through town in 1915, assuring good transportation to Beaver Falls and Ellwood City, and beyond to Pittsburgh as well. The "Harmony Line" closed in 1937, coincidental with the plant shutdown, and left its Beaver River bridge to be used as a highway toll bridge. The tolls (10¢) were finally removed in 1957 when the bridge was purchased by the state.

Following the destruction by fire of the St. Teresa Roman Catholic Church in nearby Hoytdale, (1944), the former plant office building was converted for use as a church.

Koppel remained a depressed community until the late 1950's, when the Babcock and Wilcox Company began construction of a steel processing plant on the eastern edge of town. Encouraged by new prosperity, Koppel residents observed the Bicentennial Year with great pride in their community. A new elementary school was recently completed in the borough, a member of the Big Beaver Falls Area School District.