Pittsburgh Streets

First Avenue

Neighborhoods: Bluff, Central Business District

The segment of First Avenue between Stanwix Street and Market Street was one of the very first streets of Pittsburgh; it was named First Street in John Campbell’s “military plan” of 1764. The other streets in Campbell’s plan were Water Street (today Fort Pitt Boulevard), Second Street (today the Boulevard of the Allies), Ferry Street (today Stanwix Street), Chancery Lane (today Chancery Way), and Market Street.[3, 5, 9] When George Woods laid out the town of Pittsburgh twenty years later, Campbell’s plan was incorporated without change, including its streets and its peculiarly small lots, except that First Street was named Front Street.[5, 8, 10, 21] It was labeled “First or Front Street” on William Darby’s map of 1815.[6] Throughout much of the nineteenth century, the names Front Street and First Street were used interchangeably. Maps tended to show Front Street through the 1860s,[1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 13, 14] although maps of Pittsburgh in 1795 drawn in the 1850s and 1860s had First Street.[16, 20] Street listings in city directories included Front Street until 1837;[7, 11, 17, 18] starting with George H. Thurston’s directory of 1856, however, First Street was listed.[19] The street was renamed First Avenue by a city ordinance in 1868, which transferred the name First Street to a minor street previously known as Point Street and later renamed Fort Street.[15]

References

[1]Barbeau, Jean, and Keyon, Lewis. Map of Pittsburgh and its environs. N. B. Molineux, Pittsburgh, 1830. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0576.

[2]Beers, S. N. & F. W. Map of Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Smith, Gallup & Hewitt, Philadelphia, 1862. LCCN 2012592151; 1862 layer at http://esriurl.com/pittsburgh.

[3]Campbell, John. Plan of lots in Pittsburgh—1764. 1764. Reproduced in William G. Johnston, Life and Reminiscences from Birth to Manhood of Wm. G. Johnston, The Knickerbocker Press, New York, 1901 (Google Books N-QEAAAAYAAJ); in George T. Fleming, “Flem’s” Views of Old Pittsburgh: A portfolio of the past precious with memories, Geo. T. Fleming, Pittsburgh, 1905, p. 5 (HathiTrust 011204797, 100770599; Historic Pittsburgh 31735056290277; Internet Archive flemsviewsofoldp00flem; LCCN 08028848); in George T. Fleming, “History from an old map,” Pittsburgh Gazette Times, July 16, 1922, second section, p. 2 (Newspapers.com 85913850); in George T. Fleming, Fleming’s Views of Old Pittsburgh: A portfolio of the past, Crescent Press, Pittsburgh, 1932, p. 10; in George Swetnam, “Ferry Street historic, one of oldest in city,” Pittsburgh Press, Nov. 25, 1954, p. 16 (Newspapers.com 149015965); and in Bob Regan, The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names, The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5, p. 57. This map is often called the “military plan of Pittsburgh.”

[4]The cities of Pittsburgh and Allegheny, with parts of adjacent boroughs, Pennsylvania. J. H. Colton & Co., New York, 1855. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0089; 1855 layer at http://esriurl.com/pittsburgh.

[5]Craig, Neville B. The History of Pittsburgh: With a brief notice of its facilities of communication, and other advantages for commercial and manufacturing purposes. John H. Mellor, Pittsburgh, 1851. Google Books cE0OAAAAIAAJ; HathiTrust 001263103.

[6]Darby, Wm. Plan of Pittsburg and adjacent country. R. Patterson and W. Darby, Philadelphia, 1815. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0197, DARMAP0198. Reproduced as “Plan von Pittsburg und Umgebungen” in Bernhard, Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Heinrich Luden, ed., Reise Sr. Hoheit des Herzogs Bernhard zu Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach durch Nord-Amerika in den Jahren 1825 und 1826, vol. II, Wilhelm Hoffmann, Weimar, 1828, following p. 200 (Internet Archive reisesrhoheitdes00bern, reisesrhoheitdes00inbern), and hence occasionally attributed to Bernhard.

[7]Harris, Isaac. Harris’ Pittsburgh Business Directory, for the Year 1837: Including the names of all the merchants, manufacturers, mechanics, professional [sic], & men of business of Pittsburgh and its vicinity. Isaac Harris, Pittsburgh, 1837. DonsList.net PGH1837_BDM; Historic Pittsburgh 00afv6656m, 31735056287505.
☞ List of streets, pp. 21–28 (Historic Pittsburgh 00afv6656m, 31735056287505).

[8]Hills, John. Plan of the lots laid out at Pittsburg and the Coal Hill. Philadelphia, 1787. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0464; LCCN 74692580. Reproduced in Emily M. Weaver, The Fort Pitt Block House, History Press, Charleston, S. C., 2013, ISBN 978-1-60949-933-4, p. 40.

[9]History of Allegheny County Pennsylvania: Including its early settlement and progress to the present time; a description of its historic and interesting localities; its cities, towns and villages; religious, educational, social and military history; mining, manufacturing and commercial interests; improvements, resources, statistics, etc.: Also portraits of some of its prominent men, and biographies of many of its representative citizens. A. Warner & Co., Chicago, 1889. Internet Archive historyofalleghe1889cush.

[10]Ibid., pp. 487–488.

[11]Jones, Samuel. Pittsburgh in the Year Eighteen Hundred and Twenty-Six: Containing sketches topographical, historical and statistical; together with a directory of the city, and a view of its various manufactures, population, improvements, &c. Johnston & Stockton, Pittsburgh, 1826. DonsList.net PGH_ALLEGH1826_CDM; Historic Pittsburgh 31735056290285; Internet Archive Pgh1826.
☞ List of streets, pp. 99–101 (Historic Pittsburgh 31735056290285).

[12]Keyon, Lewis. Map of Pittsburgh and its environs. 1835. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0577; 1835 layer at http://esriurl.com/pittsburgh.

[13]McGowin, R. E. Map of the cities of Pittsburgh and Allegheny and of the boroughs of South-Pittsburgh, Birmingham, East-Birmingham, Lawrenceville, Duquesne & Manchester etc. Schuchman & Haunlein, Pittsburgh, 1852. Hanging in the Pennsylvania Room of the Main (Oakland) Branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

[14]McGowin, R. E. Pittsburgh: Engraved from R. E. McGowin’s map for Geo. H. Thurston. Wm. Schuchman & Bro., Pittsburgh, 1856. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0091.

[15]“An ordinance changing the names of streets.” Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1868. Passed Aug. 31, 1868. Reprinted in the Pittsburgh Gazette, Sept. 2, 1868, p. 5 (Newspapers.com 86347563), Sept. 3, p. 3 (Newspapers.com 86347623), and Sept. 4, p. 3 (Newspapers.com 86347714).

[16]Pittsburgh 1795. 1869. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0203. Reproduced in George T. Fleming, Fleming’s Views of Old Pittsburgh: A portfolio of the past, Crescent Press, Pittsburgh, 1932, p. 16; in History of Allegheny County Pennsylvania: Including its early settlement and progress to the present time; a description of its historic and interesting localities; its cities, towns and villages; religious, educational, social and military history; mining, manufacturing and commercial interests; improvements, resources, statistics, etc.: Also portraits of some of its prominent men, and biographies of many of its representative citizens, A. Warner & Co., Chicago, 1889, p. 484 (Internet Archive historyofalleghe1889cush); and in Bob Regan, The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names, The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5, p. 57.

[17]Riddle, James M. The Pittsburgh Directory for 1815: Containing the names, professions and residence of the heads of families and persons in business, in the borough of Pittsburgh, with an appendix containing a variety of useful information. James M. Riddle, Pittsburgh, 1815. Internet Archive pittsburghdirect00ridd. Republished by the Colonial Trust Co., Pittsburgh, 1905 (Google Books 9ihRAAAAYAAJ; Historic Pittsburgh 00ach3238m); and by Duquesne Smelting Corporation, Pittsburgh, 1940 (Internet Archive pittsburghdirect00repu).
☞ List of streets, p. 130 (Google Books 9ihRAAAAYAAJ; Historic Pittsburgh 00ach3238m; Internet Archive pittsburghdirect00ridd, pittsburghdirect00repu).

[18]Riddle, James M., and Murray, M. M. The Pittsburgh Directory for 1819: Containing the names, professons [sic], and residence of all the heads of families, and persons in business, in the city of Pittsburgh, and its suburbs; and a variety of other useful information. Butler & Lambdin, Pittsburgh, 1819. Internet Archive pittsburghdirect00murr.
☞ List of streets, pp. 27–29 (Internet Archive pittsburghdirect00murr).

[19]Thurston, George H. Directory for 1856–’57, of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Cities, Birmingham, East Birmingham, South & West Pittsburgh, Temperanceville, Manchester, Duquesne and Lawrenceville Boroughs, East Liberty, and Parts of Pitt and Collins Townships. George H. Thurston, Pittsburgh, 1856. Google Books HwYuAAAAYAAJ; HathiTrust 011562263; Historic Pittsburgh 31735038289074.
☞ Map of Fort Pitt in 1795, preceding p. iii (Historic Pittsburgh 31735038289074).
☞ Street directory, Allegheny, p. xxii (Google Books HwYuAAAAYAAJ; HathiTrust hvd.hn46ja; Historic Pittsburgh 31735038289074).
☞ Street directory, Pittsburgh, pp. xxv–xxvi (Google Books HwYuAAAAYAAJ; HathiTrust hvd.hn46ja; Historic Pittsburgh 31735038289074).

[20]Thurston, George H. Fort Pitt in 1795. 1856. In George H. Thurston, Directory for 1856–’57, of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Cities, Birmingham, East Birmingham, South & West Pittsburgh, Temperanceville, Manchester, Duquesne and Lawrenceville Boroughs, East Liberty, and Parts of Pitt and Collins Townships, Pittsburgh, 1856, preceding p. iii (Historic Pittsburgh 31735038289074). Reprinted with small variations in Annie Clark Miller, 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, p. 35 (Historic Pittsburgh 00awn8211m; Internet Archive earlylandmarksna00mill). For additional copies with small variations, lacking clear publication information, see Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0201, DARMAP0202.

[21]Woods, George. A draught of the town plat of Pittsburgh, surveyed for John Penn, Jr., and John Penn, by George Woods, May 31st 1784. 1784. Reproduced as “Original plan of Pittsburgh” in plate 19 of Atlas of the cities of Pittsburgh, Allegheny, and the adjoining boroughs, G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1872 (Historic Pittsburgh 1872p019).