Ater Way

From Pittsburgh Streets
Ater Way
Neighborhood Lower Lawrenceville
Lawrence Alley (1870s)
Origin of name James Lawrence
Ash Alley (1881–1910)
Origin of name Perhaps the ash tree
Ater Alley (1910–1914)

This alley appears, unlabeled, in R. E. McGowin's 1852 map.[1] It is labeled Lawrence Alley in the 1872 Hopkins atlas.[2]

Bruce S. Cridlebaugh says that Lawrence Alley was named for "John Lawrence, naval commander,"[3] likely an error for James Lawrence (1781–1813), after whom Lawrenceville is named.[4][5][6][7] Cridlebaugh associates Lawrence Alley with modern 37th Street,[3] apparently also in error.

An 1881 ordinance establishing the names of all streets in Pittsburgh named this alley Ash Alley,[8] perhaps for the ash tree (genus Fraxinus). Three ash species are native to western Pennsylvania: the white ash Fraxinus americana, the black ash Fraxinus nigra, and the green or red ash Fraxinus pennsylvanica.[9][10]

In 1910, over 900 streets were renamed in order to fix duplicates. Ash Alley conflicted with Ash Street in Brighton Heights (which no longer exists), so it was renamed Ater Alley.[11] Ater Alley became Ater Way in 1914 when an ordinance changed all alleys in the city to ways.[12]


  1. R. E. McGowin. 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. [view source]mcgowin-1852
  2. Atlas of the Cities of Pittsburgh, Allegheny, and the Adjoining Boroughs. G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1872.; 1872 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps ( [view source]hopkins-1872
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bruce S. Cridlebaugh. "Field notes: Changing Pittsburgh street names—from downtown to Lawrenceville." Bridges & tunnels of Allegheny County & Pittsburgh, PA, Feb. 9, 2000. [view source]cridlebaugh
  4. Joann Cantrell and James Wudarczyk. Lawrenceville, p. 7. Images of America. Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, S. C., 2015, ISBN 978-1-4671-2330-3. LCCN 2014958031. [view source]cantrell-wudarczyk
  5. Edward M. McKeever. "Earlier Lawrenceville." Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, vol. 5, no. 4, Oct. 1922, pp. 277–286. [view source]mckeever
  6. 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, p. 43. Pittsburgh Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, 1924. Historic Pittsburgh 00awn8211m; Internet Archive earlylandmarksna00mill. [view source]miller
  7. Bob Regan. The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names, p. 43. The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5. [view source]regan
  8. "An ordinance establishing the names of avenues, streets, lanes and alleys of the City of Pittsburgh." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1881, no. 33. Passed Feb. 28, 1881; approved Mar. 4, 1881. Ordinance Book 5, p. 212. In Municipal Record: Minutes of the proceedings of the Select and Common Councils of the City of Pittsburgh, for the year 1880, pp. 213–234, Herald Printing Co., Pittsburgh, 1881 (Internet Archive pghmunicipalrecord1880). [view source]ordinance-1881-33
  9. Charles Fergus. Amelia Hansen, illus. Trees of Pennsylvania and the Northeast, 1st ed., pp. 230–235. Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, Penna., 2002, ISBN 978-0-8117-2092-2. LCCN 2002021747. [view source]fergus
  10. Stan Tekiela. Trees of Pennsylvania Field Guide, 2nd ed., pp. 220–225. Adventure Publications, Cambridge, Minn., 2021, ISBN 978-1-64755-204-6. [view source]tekiela
  11. "An ordinance changing the names of certain avenues, streets, lanes and alleys in the City of Pittsburgh." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1910, no. 715. Passed Mar. 31, 1910; approved Apr. 5, 1910. Ordinance Book 21, p. 342. In Municipal Record: Minutes of the proceedings of the [Select and Common Councils] of the City of Pittsburgh for the years 1909–1910, appendix, pp. 312–328, Devine & Co., Pittsburgh, 1910 (Google Books doQzAQAAMAAJ; Internet Archive Pghmunicipalrecord1909). Reprinted in the Pittsburgh Post, Apr. 19, 1910, pp. 10–11 ( 86611990, 86612022), Apr. 20, pp. 10–11 ( 86612278, 86612297), and Apr. 21, pp. 10–11 ( 86612601, 86612625). [view source]ordinance-1910-715
  12. "An ordinance changing the name 'Alley' on every thoroughfare in the City of Pittsburgh, to 'Way.'" Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1914, no. 402. Passed Nov. 10, 1914; approved Nov. 16, 1914. Ordinance Book 26, p. 360. Reprinted in the Pittsburgh Post, Nov. 23, 1914, p. 11 ( 86505785), and Nov. 24, p. 12 ( 86505809). [view source]ordinance-1914-402