Becks Run Road

From Pittsburgh Streets
Becks Run Road
Neighborhoods Arlington, Carrick, South Side Flats, St. Clair
Origin of name Becks Run, the stream along which it runs
Wikipedia Becks Run Road

Becks Run is labeled in the 1850 map of Allegheny County by E. H. Heastings.[1] A road alongside the stream appears in the 1862 map by S. N. and F. W. Beers.[2]

The road is unlabeled in early maps. The 1896 and 1905 Hopkins atlases label it simply "township road."[3][4] The South View Place plan of lots, laid out in 1890, named the short section of the road at the eastern edge of the plan Beck Avenue.[5]

The name Becks Run Road was officially established in Pittsburgh by a city ordinance in 1923,[6] the year St. Clair Borough was annexed by the city,[7] though the ordinance indicates that this was the name that had been previously used in the borough.

Some sources say that Becks Run is named for a German family named Beck who settled here in the 1850s.[8][9] This is likely too late, however, since the name was already in use in the year 1850.[1]

Many streams in the Pittsburgh region are called "runs." This sense of the word has a long history in English. The early European settlers of western Pennsylvania used the word for a creek or stream, and this became the established term.[10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 E. H. Heastings. Map of the County of Allegheny, Pennsylvania. 1850. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0090. [view source]heastings
  2. 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
  3. Real Estate Plat-Book of the Southern Vicinity of Pittsburgh, Penna., plate 4. G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1896.; included in the 1890 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps ( [view source]hopkins-1896
  4. Real Estate Plat-Book of the Southern Vicinity of Pittsburgh, plates 3, 4. G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1905.; included in the 1903–1906 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps ( [view source]hopkins-1905
  5. "Birmingham Land Improvement Company's South View Place, Baldwin Township." Laid out July 1890; recorded Aug. 28, 1890, Plan Book 10, pp. 102–103. Allegheny County Recorder of Deeds 3780389. [view source]south-view-place-plan
  6. "An ordinance establishing the names of various streets, avenues, lanes, roads, alleys and ways in the Sixteenth Ward (formerly St. Clair Borough)." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1923, no. 448. Passed Nov. 26, 1923; approved Nov. 30, 1923. Ordinance Book 35, p. 15. In Municipal Record: Minutes of the proceedings of the Council of the City of Pittsburgh for the year 1923, appendix, pp. 333–334, Kaufman Printing Company, Pittsburgh (Google Books XkEtAQAAMAAJ; HathiTrust uiug.30112108223980; Internet Archive Pghmunicipalrecord1923). [view source]ordinance-1923-448
  7. Mark A. Connelly. "Saint Clair Borough–Pittsburgh City 1923 Merger." Local Geohistory Project. [view source]lgeo-st-clair-annexation
  8. Joe Bennett. "What do you call a river?: When the Indians saw the sluggish stream's banks crumbling, they had a name for it." Pittsburgh Press, July 30, 1978, Pittsburgh's Family Magazine, p. 3. 146982756. [view source]bennett-river
  9. Bob Regan. The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names, p. 84. The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5. [view source]regan
  10. Katie Blackley. "Why are there so many 'run roads' in the Pittsburgh region?" 90.5 WESA, June 21, 2019. [view source]blackley-why