The area that now comprises the city of Latrobe was divided by the Loyalhanna Creek into Derry Township to the east and Unity Township to the west. These townships consisted almost exclusively of farms, with a few grist mills and saw mills. Youngstown, though, had existed as a town for several decades before Latrobe came into existence. Located along the Forbes Road, which in the early 1800s was developed as the Turnpike Road, Youngstown became the market place and post office for the area.
By 1850, the farms comprising the present Latrobe area were:
Kirk (center of town)
Walter (First Ward, south of the Loyalhanna)
Toner (First Ward, north of the Loyalhanna)
Brinker (Third and Fourth Wards)
Bossart (Fifth Ward, near Standard Steel)
Saxman (above Lincoln Avenue)
Chambers and Davidson (Sixth Ward and the area of First Ward above the hospital).
On February 18, 1851, Thomas Kirk sold his 140 acre farm in Derry Township to Oliver Barnes, an agent of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which wanted to connect the eastern part of the state with Pittsburgh. The original plan was for railroad yards to be built at the newly acquired site; however, it was decided to build the railroad yards at Derry, and Mr. Barnes elected to keep the Kirk land for himself, reimbursing the railroad. Barnes laid out the streets and lots for a new town, which he named after a long-time friend and associate, Benjamin Latrobe. Three years later Latrobe was incorporated as a borough. In a meeting held in the home of David Williams on June 17, 1854, the first council was organized and David L. McCullough was elected the first Burgess of Latrobe.