Bigelow Boulevard

From Pittsburgh Streets
Bigelow Boulevard
Neighborhoods Bedford Dwellings, Central Business District, Crawford-Roberts, North Oakland, Polish Hill, Strip District, Upper Hill
Origin of name Edward Manning Bigelow
Grant Boulevard (until 1916)
Origin of name James Grant
St. Pierre Street
Origin of name Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre

Bigelow Boulevard is named for Edward Manning Bigelow (1850–1916), Director of the Department of Public Works, who built the city parks system and the boulevard that now bears his name.[1]:7[2] Before Bigelow's efforts, Pittsburgh had only one public park: a narrow strip of unimproved land, one block long, in the middle of a street. In 1889 Bigelow persuaded Mary Schenley to donate 300 acres of land to the city to become Schenley Park, the city's first major park. He also acquired the land that became Highland Park and several others.[2][3] In the 1890s, Bigelow worked to create several of the city's major boulevards, including Beechwood Boulevard and Grant Boulevard (the original name of Bigelow Boulevard). These thoroughfares connected downtown to the East End and joined the parks Bigelow created. In 1916, just days after his death, Grant Boulevard was renamed Bigelow Boulevard in his honor.[4][5][6]

The very first name for the road was Hiawatha Boulevard, after the Iroquois leader Hiawatha, but Bigelow did not like this name because it had no local significance. Instead, Bigelow proposed the name Grant Boulevard, after James Grant (1720–1806; also the eponym of Grant Street).[7][8]

The last two blocks of Bigelow Boulevard in Oakland were formerly St. Pierre Street, named for Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre (1701–1755), the commander of Fort Le Boeuf. In 1753, Robert Dinwiddie, the lieutenant governor of Virginia and eponym of Dinwiddie Street, dispatched George Washington on an expedition to deliver a letter to the commandant of the French forces on the Ohio demanding that they depart the region. Washington was directed to Commander Saint-Pierre by Captain Phillippe-Thomas de Joncaire (eponym of Joncaire Street).[9][10][11][12][1]:26[13]


  1. 1.0 1.1 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. Pittsburgh Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, 1924. Historic Pittsburgh 00awn8211m; Internet Archive earlylandmarksna00mill. [view source]miller
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bob Regan. The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names, p. 64. The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5. [view source]regan
  3. Erasmus Wilson, ed. Standard History of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. H. R. Cornell & Co., Chicago, 1898. Google Books 1dcwAQAAMAAJ; Historic Pittsburgh 00hc03974m; Internet Archive standardhistoryo00wils. [view source]wilson-erasmus
  4. "Bigelow boulevard ordinance signed: Council to hold memorial service for dead officials Friday." Pittsburgh Post, Dec. 20, 1916, p. 1. 86667434. [view source]bigelow
  5. "City will give Bigelow's name to boulevard: Grant boulevard to assume name of builder in near future: Officials favor change." Pittsburgh Post, Dec. 12, 1916, p. 2. 87525330. [view source]city
  6. "Sanction given plan to change boulevard name: Ordinance renaming Grant boulevard Bigelow boulevard is affirmed: Council works on budget." Pittsburgh Post, Dec. 13, 1916, p. 3. 86667299. [view source]sanction
  7. "Hiawatha boulevard: The course of the driveway finally fixed by survey committee." Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, Jan. 12, 1895, p. 3. 85560662. [view source]hiawatha
  8. "Nine taxpayers: They will be appointed to investigate the city's needs: The mayor to select them: Director Bigelow requested the appointment be made: He sent a letter to councils: The commission will examine the questions of water supply and improvements of parks, boulevards and public buildings—Mayor McKenna will probably announce to-day the names of the gentlemen who are to do this important work—will all be business men." Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, Jan. 29, 1895, p. 1. 85560784. [view source]nine-taxpayers
  9. George Thornton Fleming. History of Pittsburgh and Environs: From prehistoric days to the beginning of the American Revolution, vol. 1. American Historical Society, New York and Chicago, 1922. Google Books 7ctaAAAAYAAJ, ffQMAAAAYAAJ, S88wAQAAMAAJ, tzUafgt-eskC; HathiTrust 011262563; Historic Pittsburgh 01aee9405m; Internet Archive historypittsbur01compgoog, historypittsbur01socigoog, historypittsbur01yorkgoog. [view source]fleming-history
  10. George T. Fleming. "History told in Pittsburgh street names: Some commemorative designations have been lost, but others are still in use to recall the story of their selection: Haphazard municipal nomenclature." Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Nov. 29, 1914, sec. 5, p. 2. 85906737. [view source]fleming-history-told
  11. Julia Morgan Harding. "Names of Pittsburgh streets: Their historical significance." Pittsburgh Bulletin, Feb. 15, 1893. Reprinted in Fort Duquesne and Fort Pitt: Early names of Pittsburgh streets, 13th ed., pp. 52–60, Fort Pitt Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, 1958 (HathiTrust 007074456). [view source]harding
  12. Patricia Lowry. "New Schenley Plaza plan could benefit from earlier schemes." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Oct. 14, 2003, p. B-1. 89863317; [view source]lowry
  13. George Washington. The Journal of Major George Washington: Sent by the Hon. Robert Dinwiddie, Esq; His Majesty's Lieutenant-Governor, and Commander in Chief of Virginia, to the commandant of the French forces on Ohio: To which are added, the governor's letter, and a translation of the French officer's answer. William Hunter, Williamsburg, 1754. An edition printed in London for T. Jefferys in 1754 is reproduced in Hugh Cleland, George Washington in the Ohio Valley, [pp. 8–42], University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, 1955, ISBN 978-0-8229-8362-0 (HathiTrust 000564544; LCCN 55-6874). [view source]washington