Bessemer Street

From Pittsburgh Streets
Bessemer Street
Neighborhood Central Lawrenceville
Origin of name Probably Henry Bessemer

Bessemer Street was laid out in 1908 by the heirs of Michael McCullough, Jr.[1][2]

McCullough came to Pittsburgh in 1827. He operated a sawmill on Wainwright's Island (see 36th Street), worked in the grocery and wholesale liquor businesses, and purchased large blocks of real estate.[3] He was the senior member of McCullough, Dalzell & Co., manufacturers of crucibles, whose works was at the foot of 36th Street near Wainwright's Island.[4][5][3] The island was called McCullough's Island in the 1870s and 1880s.[6][5] McCullough built a house in 1836 at what is now the west corner of Bessemer Street and 44th Street.[3][7] He lived there until his death in 1887.[3]

The street is probably named for Henry Bessemer (1813–1898), the English inventor of the Bessemer process, which revolutionized the steelmaking industry in the nineteenth century.

Frances Lester Warner, in a 1923 essay called "The Pittsburgh Owl," included Bessemer Street in a list of streets named for Pittsburgh's "scientific paraphernalia,"[8] and Bob Regan copied this list in his book.[9] The "paraphernalia" that Warner had in mind was probably the Bessemer converter, the main piece of equipment used in the Bessemer process.


  1. "Plan of homestead property in 9th Ward Pittsburgh belonging to the estate of Michael McCullough Jr. dec'd.: Laid out by executors and trustees of his will." Laid out Dec. 1908; recorded Apr. 2, 1909, Plan Book 24, pp. 134–135. Allegheny County Recorder of Deeds 3782707. [view source]mccullough-plan
  2. "An ordinance approving and accepting plan of homestead property in Ninth ward, Pittsburgh, belonging to the estate of Michael McCullough, Jr., deceased, and approving and accepting the streets and alleys shown therein." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1909, no. 730. Passed Mar. 15, 1909; approved Mar. 17, 1909. Ordinance Book 20, p. 216. In Municipal Record: Minutes of the proceedings of the [Select and Common Councils] of the City of Pittsburgh for the years 1907–'08–'09, appendix, pp. 375–376, Devine & Co., Pittsburgh, 1909 (Google Books gMBEAQAAMAAJ; HathiTrust chi.096598897; Internet Archive Pghmunicipalrecordselect1907, Pghmunicipalrecordcommon1907). [view source]ordinance-1909-730
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "A well known citizen gone: Michael McCullough, Jr., dies at his residence after a brief illness." Post (Pittsburgh), Mar. 23, 1887, p. 2. 86377504. [view source]mccullough-obit
  4. George H. Thurston and J. F. Diffenbacher. Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny for 1876–7: Embracing a general directory of the residences of citizens, full classified business directory, register of public institutions, benevolent societies and city governments, directory of the streets, secret societies, schools and churches. Thurston & Diffenbacher, Pittsburgh, 1876, p. 440. Google Books 8dkCAAAAYAAJ; Historic Pittsburgh 31735038288480. [view source]thurston-diffenbacher-1876
  5. 5.0 5.1 Atlas of the Cities Pittsburgh and Allegheny, plate 8. G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1882.; 1882 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps ( [view source]hopkins-1882
  6. Atlas of the Cities of Pittsburgh, Allegheny, and the Adjoining Boroughs, p. 52. G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1872.; 1872 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps ( [view source]hopkins-1872
  7. Atlas of Greater Pittsburgh, plate 7. G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1910.; 1910 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps ( [view source]hopkins-1910
  8. Frances Lester Warner. Groups and Couples, p. 228. Houghton Mifflin, Boston and New York, 1923. Google Books lub2z89YnoYC; Internet Archive groupscouples00warn. The essay "The Pittsburgh Owl" is available at and [view source]groups-and-couples
  9. Bob Regan. The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names, p. 61. The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5. [view source]regan