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Richard King Mellon

Richard King Mellon

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Richard King Mellon commonly known as R.K., was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 financier from Ligonier
Ligonier, Pennsylvania
Ligonier is a borough in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 1,695 at the 2000 census. Ligonier was settled in the 1760s. The borough is well known for nearby Idlewild Park, one of the oldest amusement parks in the country, and nearby Seven Springs Mountain Resort...

, Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...



The son of Richard B. Mellon
Richard B. Mellon
Richard Beatty Mellon , sometimes R.B., was a banker, industrialist, and philanthropist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania....

, nephew of Andrew W. Mellon
Andrew W. Mellon
Andrew William Mellon was an American banker, industrialist, philanthropist, art collector and Secretary of the Treasury from March 4, 1921 until February 12, 1932.-Early life:...

, and grandson of Thomas Mellon
Thomas Mellon
Thomas Alexander Mellon was a Scotch-Irish American, entrepreneur, lawyer, and judge, best known as the founder of Mellon Bank and patriarch of the Mellon family of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.-Early life:...

, he and his sister Sarah Mellon Scaife
Sarah Mellon
Sarah Mellon was the niece of Andrew W. Mellon . She was one of the heirs to the Mellon fortune, including Mellon Bank and major investments in Gulf Oil and Alcoa...

 and cousins Paul Mellon
Paul Mellon
Paul Mellon KBE was an American philanthropist, thoroughbred racehorse owner/breeder. He is one of only five people ever designated an "Exemplar of Racing" by the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame...

 and Ailsa Mellon-Bruce
Ailsa Mellon-Bruce
Ailsa Mellon Bruce , born in Pittsburgh, was a prominent socialite and the daughter of the banker and diplomat Andrew W. Mellon. She served from 1921 to 1932 as her father's official hostess during his tenure as United States Secretary of the Treasury, and again when he was U.S...

, were heirs to the Mellon fortune, which included major holdings in Mellon Bank, Gulf Oil
Gulf Oil
Gulf Oil was a major global oil company from the 1900s to the 1980s. The eighth-largest American manufacturing company in 1941 and the ninth-largest in 1979, Gulf Oil was one of the so-called Seven Sisters oil companies...

, and Alcoa
Alcoa Inc. is the world's third largest producer of aluminum, behind Rio Tinto Alcan and Rusal. From its operational headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Alcoa conducts operations in 31 countries...

. In 1957, when Fortune
Fortune (magazine)
Fortune is a global business magazine published by Time Inc. Founded by Henry Luce in 1930, the publishing business, consisting of Time, Life, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated, grew to become Time Warner. In turn, AOL grew as it acquired Time Warner in 2000 when Time Warner was the world's largest...

prepared its first list of the wealthiest Americans
Wealthiest Americans (1957)
In 1957 Fortune magazine developed a list of the seventy-six wealthiest Americans; the list was republished in many American newspapers. The primary source of wealth was indicated as being inherited or stemming from a particular business or industry...

, it estimated that the four cousins were all amongst the richest eight people in the United States, with fortunes of between 400 and 700 million dollars each.

Military Service

Mellon served in the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 in both world war
World war
A world war is a war affecting the majority of the world's most powerful and populous nations. World wars span multiple countries on multiple continents, with battles fought in multiple theaters....

s and remained active in the United States Army Reserve
United States Army Reserve
The United States Army Reserve is the federal reserve force of the United States Army. Together, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard constitute the reserve components of the United States Army....

, receiving the Distinguished Service Medal
Distinguished Service Medal (United States)
The Distinguished Service Medal is the highest non-valorous military and civilian decoration of the United States military which is issued for exceptionally meritorious service to the government of the United States in either a senior government service position or as a senior officer of the United...

 and rising to the rank of Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General (United States)
In the United States Army, the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps, lieutenant general is a three-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-9. Lieutenant general ranks above major general and below general...


Urban Renewal

He is chiefly remembered for his urban renewal
Urban renewal
Urban renewal is a program of land redevelopment in areas of moderate to high density urban land use. Renewal has had both successes and failures. Its modern incarnation began in the late 19th century in developed nations and experienced an intense phase in the late 1940s – under the rubric of...

 efforts in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States...

, undertaken in an unlikely partnership with postwar mayor David L. Lawrence
David L. Lawrence
David Leo Lawrence was an American politician who served as the 37th Governor of Pennsylvania from 1959 to 1963. He is to date the only mayor of Pittsburgh to be elected Governor of Pennsylvania. Previously, he had been the mayor of Pittsburgh from 1946 through 1959...

. After returning to the city after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Mellon developed an interest in improving Pittsburgh's severe flooding, pollution, and urban blight. Under the auspices of the Allegheny County Community Development Association, massive demolition and redevelopment projects transformed the city, backed politically by Lawrence and financially by Mellon and his companies. Mellon also used his economic power to push companies and landowners to comply with new regulations.


He married Constance Prosser McCaulley, daughter of a New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 banker, in 1936. They had four children: Richard P. Mellon, Seward Prosser Mellon, Constance Barber Mellon, and Cassandra Mellon Milbury. Richard King Mellon was also the primary financial founder of Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University is a private research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States....

's Heinz College, then known as the School of Urban and Public Affairs.

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