Neighborhood: Central Business District
The segment of Fort Pitt Boulevard between Stanwix Street and Market Street was one of the very first streets of Pittsburgh; it was named Water Street in John Campbell’s “military plan” of 1764. That name reflected its location along the north bank of the Monongahela River. The other streets in Campbell’s plan were First Street (today First Avenue), Second Street (today the Boulevard of the Allies), Ferry Street (today Stanwix Street), Chancery Lane (today Chancery Way), and Market Street.[1, 3, 4] 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.[3, 5, 7]
Water Street was renamed Fort Pitt Boulevard in 1952, after the City Planning Commission recommended that main thoroughfares should be given names of historical significance. Duquesne Way, along the Allegheny River, was renamed Fort Duquesne Boulevard at the same time.[2, 6]
There are a few references to “Fort Pitt Boulevard” from the early 20th century, but these are mistakes for William Pitt Boulevard, which was the name of Beechwood Boulevard from 1910 to 1913.
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.”
“Council runs boulevards into park: Changes names.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sept. 16, 1952, p. 8. Newspapers.com 90005799.
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.
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.
Ibid., pp. 487–488.
“An ordinance changing the names of Duquesne Way, between Barbeau Street and Eleventh Street, to Fort Duquesne Boulevard, and Water Street, between the west line of Short Street and Grant Street, to Fort Pitt Boulevard.” Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1952, no. 337. Passed Sept. 15, 1952; approved Sept. 22, 1952. Ordinance Book 58, p. 246. Reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sept. 24, 1952, p. 27 (Newspapers.com 90006522), and Sept. 25, p. 22 (Newspapers.com 89447679); and in the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, Sept. 27, 1952, p. 16 (Newspapers.com 524017067).
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).