Much of the land in Southwestern Pennsylvania was "Depreciation Land", tracks of land land auctioned and sold off to servicemen in the late 1700 at a time when this area was the wilderness of the west. It is therefore no surprise that Harrison Township began as a pioneer farming community in the early 1800’s
Harrison Township was incorporated in 1900 and had several neighborhoods; Natrona was there first, and as people started moving "up on the hill" they started new neighborhoods such a Ducktown, Birdville, Campton and Pughtown, all of which eventually became Natrona Heights.
The Burtner House, a National Historic Site, was one of the first homes built in what was to eventually become Harrison Township. Phillip Burtner and his two brothers, George and John, arrived in the Allegheny Valley in 1793 as scouts on the frontier and started building the home in1818. It was the residence for generations of Burtner family members and has been a reflection of the history of the community. The property once was a working farm, and people would stop at the house to water their horses before proceeding up the hill of what is now Burtner Road.
The House is now owned by the Township and has been restored by members of Burtner House Restoration Inc. under a lease with the Township. Annual events are held at the house and tours given by the Restoration Group. The Burtner House is located at the expressway exit to Natrona Heights, so all visitors to the community will see the House as soon as they enter the Township.
Allegheny Steel Company of Brackenridge (now Allegheny Ludlum, part of Allegheny Technologies) started operations in the very early 1900 as a part of the emergence of Pittsburgh as the steel capital of the world. Over the years it developed into a leader in the production of stainless and specialty steels, is one of the few steel mills in operations in the Pittsburgh area, is still growing, and is the township's largest employer.