Bank Lane

From Pittsburgh Streets
Bank Lane
Neighborhoods Allegheny Center, Allegheny West, Chateau, North Shore, Troy Hill
Origin of name North bank of the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers
Fate Divided ca. 1860 into River Avenue, Balkam Street (Alcor Street), Martin Street (Martindale Street), School Street (Scotland Street), and South Avenue (Shore Avenue); an extension became Bank Street

Bank Lane formerly ran along the north bank of the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers, with a rectangular diversion around the mouth of a creek about where PNC Park is today.

The lane "laid out along the bank of the river Alleghany" was named Bank Lane on November 28, 1788, by a resolution of the Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The same resolution established the name of the town of Allegheny; the names Federal Street, Ohio Street, Sandusky Street, and Beaver Street (now West Commons); and the names of six alleys and one other lane. The names were given by a committee consisting of "Mr. Woods, Mr. Redick and Mr. Dennison." On December 12, 1788, additional names of lanes were adopted; the name Bank Lane was given to another lane (presumably the part along the north bank of the Ohio).[1]

The lane appears, unlabeled, in the 1788 map of the "Reserve Tract of Land Opposite Pittsburgh" (as the North Side was originally called).[2] It is labeled Bank Lane in a plan of lots laid out in 1828[3] and in the 1830 map of Jean Barbeau and Lewis Keyon.[4] Maps from the 1850s still show the full length of Bank Lane, including the rectangular detour, which by then had blended into the city street grid of Allegheny.[5][6]

In 1850 a plan of lots was laid out on the old seminary grounds on the hill where the CCAC campus is today. This plan included a north–south street in line with the western side of the Bank Lane rectangle; since it extended that street, it was given the name Bank Lane too.[7][5][6] Part of this extension eventually became today's Bank Street, which preserves the name Bank.

The route of Bank Lane apparently caused some amount of confusion. George H. Thurston's 1857 directory described the locations of all streets in Allegheny except Bank Lane, which was given the vague description "indefinite, sundry places,"[8] as if to warn the reader that the unpredictable Bank Lane could sneak up on them anywhere in Allegheny City.

About 1860 the various pieces of Bank Lane were renamed:

  • The part along the north bank of the Allegheny was changed to River Avenue.
  • The eastern side of the rectangular diversion was changed to Balkam Street (later Alcor Street).
  • The northern side of the rectangle became Martin Street (today Martindale Street).
  • The western side of the rectangle became School Street (today Scotland Street).
  • The westernmost part, originally along the north bank of the Ohio but by then somewhat inland because of the filling in of part of the river channel, was renamed South Avenue (later Shore Avenue).

These names are given in the 1862 edition of Thurston's directory[9] and in the 1862 map of S. N. and F. W. Beers.[10]

See also


  1. "Old state body laid out town of Allegheny: Executive council in 1788 fixed lot prices and furnished names for streets and alleys: Origin of the present parks." Pittsburg Press, Dec. 1, 1907, p. 32. 142120163. [view source]old-state-body
  2. Reserve Tract of Land Opposite Pittsburgh. L. J. Richards & Co., 1863. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0084. Reprinted in Dan Rooney and Carol Peterson, Allegheny City: A history of Pittsburgh's North Side, pp. 2–3, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, 2013, ISBN 978-0-8229-4422-5 (LCCN 2012047727). A variation entitled City of Allegheny 100 Years Ago is reprinted in Walter C. Kidney and Arthur P. Ziegler, Jr., Allegheny, p. 2, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, 1975 (LCCN 75-43276), and in Allegheny City Society, Allegheny City, 1840–1907, pp. 10–11, Images of America, Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, S. C., 2007, ISBN 978-0-7385-5500-3 (LCCN 2007927944). [view source]reserve-tract
  3. "Part of Allegheny Borough: A plan of out lots Nos. 32, 33, 34 & 35 & 36, subdivided into town lots." Laid out Dec. 1828; recorded in Plan Book 1, p. 28. Allegheny County Recorder of Deeds 3778139. [view source]out-lots-32-36-plan
  4. Jean Barbeau and Lewis Keyon. Map of Pittsburgh and Its Environs. N. B. Molineux, Pittsburgh, 1830. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0576; [view source]barbeau
  5. 5.0 5.1 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
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Cities of Pittsburgh and Allegheny, with Parts of Adjacent Boroughs, Pennsylvania. 1855. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0089;; 1855 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps ( In George W. Colton, Colton's Atlas of the World: Illustrating physical and political geography, J. H. Colton & Co., New York, 1856 ( [view source]colton
  7. "Plan of Seminary Lots as laid out by Committee on City Property and adopted in Councils Jan. 20, 1850." Recorded Sept. 6, 1850, Plan Book 1, pp. 180–181. Allegheny County Recorder of Deeds 3778266. [view source]seminary-plan
  8. George H. Thurston. Directory of Pittsburgh and Vicinity, for 1857–'58. George H. Thurston, Pittsburgh, 1857, p. 254. PGH1857CDM; Historic Pittsburgh 01a894773s. [view source]thurston-1857
  9. George H. Thurston. Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Cities: And the adjoining boroughs of Birmingham, East Birmingham, Lawrenceville, Manchester, Duquesne, West Pittsburgh, South Pittsburgh, Monongahela, and Temperanceville; also, the villages of Brownstown, Minersville, East Liberty, Hatfield, Woodville, Troy Hill, Mt. Washington, Spring Garden, East Pittsburgh and Oakland; together with parts of Pitt, Collins, Peebles, St. Clair, M'Clure, Reserve, Chartiers and Shaler Townships, for 1862–63. George H. Thurston, Pittsburgh, 1862, p. 357. Historic Pittsburgh 31735038289116. [view source]thurston-1862
  10. S. N. & F. W. Beers. Map of Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Smith, Gallup & Hewitt, Philadelphia, 1862. LCCN 2012592151; 1862 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps ( [view source]beers