For many, the notion of a village conjures up quaint images of a time gone by…tree-lined neighborhoods surrounding a business district of small shops all supported by a local government and accompanying community services (e.g., fire and police, library, post office, hospitals, churches, etc.). Anthropologists point out that early American villages were formed by locally homogeneous groups of people in rural and semi-rural, undeveloped areas to meet their common needs. In the process, a social community was formed that represented the shared values and interests of the residents themselves, thus reinforcing a bond between village neighbors.
Clearly, Sewickley’s formative years in the late 18th and early 19th centuries followed this pattern as travelers and adventurers in the new America moved west from Pittsburgh…by river, road and rail. The village itself grew to provide the increasing demands for goods and services required by both the country manors on the hill and the households of village residents. By the time Sewickley was incorporated in 1853, it had already been through a substantial amount of development and evolution – a process that continues today. But even as change has come in both small and large measures, the Sewickley village still reflects its history and traditions while nurturing its own unique identity as a place that celebrates a commitment to a rich, rewarding community life.
Today, Sewickley is a modern urban village that is defined by many of the features sociologists consider common to this form:
- Small and intimate setting
- Unique identity
- Designed for social interaction
- Locally driven and locally responsive
- Resourced for functionality
- Mixed, heterogeneous community
Taken together, these features highlight the basis for the Sewickley village’s continued vitality and success in the 21st century. They also serve as a foundation for our future evolution toward the village we will become in the years ahead.