Pittsburgh Streets

Bedford Avenue

Neighborhoods: Bedford Dwellings, Central Business District, Crawford-Roberts, Middle Hill

Bedford Avenue is named for Dr. Nathaniel Bedford (1755?–1818), a surgeon in the British Army who came to Fort Pitt about 1765 and became the first physician in what is now Allegheny County. He was an incorporator of Pittsburgh Academy in 1787 and burgess of Pittsburgh in 1806. In 1811 he laid out the street plan for Birmingham (now the South Side between South Sixth and South 17th Streets), which he named after his hometown in England. The English city of Birmingham was a major iron center, and it was hoped that Pittsburgh would become “the Birmingham of America.”[1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9] Bedford named the main street, Carson Street, after a Philadelphia sea captain he knew.[5, 6, 7]


[1]Carlin, Margaret. “How our streets got their names.” Pittsburgh Press, Feb. 6, 1966, Pittsburgh’s Family Magazine, p. 10. Newspapers.com 149098376.

[2]DeLaney, James K. “Spectres of past haunt Pittsburgh’s corner signposts: Street names ‘pennants of tribute.’” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mar. 30, 1967, Daily Magazine, [p. 1]. Newspapers.com 88235360.

[3]Hoover, Bob. “A family prospers for generations from early foothold.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug. 10, 2003, p. A-14. Newspapers.com 89905170; https://old.post-gazette.com/localnews/20030810lewisbarr8.asp.

[4]Miller, Annie Clark. Early Land Marks and Names of Old Pittsburgh: An address delivered before the Pittsburgh Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution at Carnegie Institute, Nov. 30, 1923. Pittsburgh Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, 1924, pp. 30–31, 55. Historic Pittsburgh 00awn8211m; Internet Archive earlylandmarksna00mill.

[5]Page, Oliver Ormsby. A Short Account of the Family of Ormsby of Pittsburgh. Joel Munsell’s Sons, Albany, N. Y., 1892. Internet Archive ashortaccountfa00pagegoog, shortaccountoffa00page; https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/A_Short_Account_of_the_Family_of_Ormsby_of_Pittsburgh.

[6]Potter, Chris. “My husband recently got a job on the South Side, and we noticed there are a lot of streets named after women. How come?” Pittsburgh City Paper, Dec. 29, 2005. https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/Content?oid=1337601.

[7]Regan, Bob. The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names. The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, p. 47. ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5.

[8]Ibid., pp. 47, 64.

[9]“Street names sketch history of city: Tribute to many pioneers dimmed by time.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sept. 26, 1936, anniversary section IV, p. 16. Newspapers.com 88921069.