Ford City, on the Allegheny River, is more intensely industrial than Kittanning its neighbor four miles to the north. With easy access to sand, coal, gas, and cheap transportation, Ford City was ideally situated for glass manufacturing. The enormous Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG) plant, built along 3rd Avenue in 1916, was reputedly the largest plate glass plant in the world until 1950 (see AL24). The borough also produced ceramics and brick. Architecturally, the finest building in town is the stone, Gothic Revival St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church (1911–1915; 738 4th Avenue), designed by an architect of German heritage, Edmund B. Lang, for a predominantly German parish. A row of one-and-one-half-story workers' housing in the 800 block of 4th Street was built in the 1890s for PPG workers. The wide, squat profile and steeply gabled roofs of the houses are reminiscent of early workers' housing built by the Pennsylvania Salt Manufacturing Company at Natrona in Allegheny County.
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