Scottdale, Pa. was incorporated as a borough in 1874 and became an important industrial center in the late 19th century, when the H. C. Frick & Company located the main offices of its coke operation in the borough. Scottdale also became a transportation hub in Westmoreland County.
A small Jewish population settled in the borough starting in the early 20th century. In 1904, approximately 20 families organized Beth Shalom Congregation. The congregation met at the Eicher Building at the corner of Pittsburgh and Chestnut streets until 1907 and on the second floor of the Porter and Stoner Building at 167 Pittsburgh St. until 1926, when it purchased a church at 706 Arthur Avenue, according to a Works Progress Administration Church Archives survey. A doorway added to the front of the building gives a date of 1910, which might refer to a date of incorporation for the congregation. Beth Shalom remained on Arthur Avenue until it dissolved, sometime after 1940. As of early 2017, the building still existed, with “Beth Shalom” engraved over the front door.
The Jewish community of Scottdale ran a religious school under the auspices of the Southwestern District of Pennsylvania Jewish Religious Schools program, and the Southwestern District included Scottdale in its Valley Institute alongside schools in nearby Mt. Pleasant, Greensburg, Latrobe and Connellsville. Some members of the Jewish community of Scottdale took part in a regional B’nai B’rith lodge with members from Mt. Pleasant and Connellsville.
The Jewish community of Scottdale was among the smallest in Western Pennsylvania with a synagogue. The American Jewish Yearbook listed a population of 57 for Scottdale in its 1928-1929 edition and 40 in its 1940-1941 edition. By 1940, according to the Works Progress Administration survey, the community no longer maintained any organizations, but approximately eleven families took a monthly collection to hire a rabbi from Pittsburgh to lead High Holiday services.