Pittsburgh Streets

Market Street

Neighborhood: Central Business District

The segment of Market Street between Fort Pitt Boulevard and the Boulevard of the Allies was one of the very first streets of Pittsburgh, laid out as part of John Campbell’s “military plan” of 1764. The other streets in Campbell’s plan were Water Street (today Fort Pitt Boulevard), First Street (today First Avenue), Second Street (today Second Avenue), Ferry Street (today Stanwix Street), and Chancery Lane (today Chancery Way).[1, 2, 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.[2, 5, 10] Woods’ plan shows Market Street passing through Market Square, which served as a public market. Campbell’s plan does not extend north far enough to show a square, but presumably the area was already being used as a market, hence the name of the street.

Pittsburgh’s first market house was built in 1787 at the corner of Market Street and Second Street (today’s Boulevard of the Allies), and Wednesday and Saturday were named as market days.[2, 6, 7, 9] A second market house was built in 1794 at the foot of Market Street on the Monongahela River.[6] By 1815 a courthouse and market house, both of brick, had been built in Market Square.[3, 6, 8]

Market Street has never been renamed since it was originally laid out in 1764, making it the oldest street name in Pittsburgh today.


[1]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.”

[2]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.

[3]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.

[4]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.

[5]Ibid., pp. 487–488.

[6]History of Pittsburgh and Environs, vol. 2. American Historical Society, New York and Chicago, 1922. Google Books 3staAAAAYAAJ, TPUMAAAAYAAJ; HathiTrust 011262563.

[7]Lambing, A. A., and White, J. W. F. Allegheny County: Its Early History and Subsequent Development. Snowden & Peterson, Pittsburgh, 1888, p. 65. Google Books 6bY-AAAAYAAJ; HathiTrust 008957728, 100693049; Historic Pittsburgh 00aee8946m; Internet Archive centennialhistor00lamb; LCCN 18008828.

[8]Mulkearn, Lois, and Pugh, Edwin V. A Traveler’s Guide to Historic Western Pennsylvania. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, 1954, pp. 39–40. Historic Pittsburgh 31735057894978.

[9]Wilson, Erasmus, ed. Standard History of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. H. R. Cornell & Co., Chicago, 1898. Google Books 1dcwAQAAMAAJ.

[10]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).