Cecil Place

From Pittsburgh Streets
Cecil Place
Neighborhood Central Business District
Origin of name William Cecil
Cecil Alley (until 1895)
Origin of name William Cecil

This alley, running from Liberty Avenue to the Allegheny River between Pitt Street (today's Stanwix Street) and St. Clair Street (today's Sixth Street), was part of George Woods' original plan of Pittsburgh of 1784, though that plan did not give it a name.[1] It is also unlabeled in the 1787 plan of lots by John Hills, though one copy of this map has "Cecils Alley" as a later handwritten annotation.[2] William Darby's map of 1815 includes Cecils Alley, but mislocated—it is put on the wrong side of Pitt Street, and the alley between Pitt and St. Clair Streets is unlabeled.[3] James M. Riddle's 1815 Pittsburgh directory lists Cecil's Alley in its list of streets, confirming that it was between Pitt and St. Clair Streets.[4] Cecil Alley appears in its correct place in the 1830 map of Jean Barbeau and Lewis Keyon.[5] The name was changed from Cecil Alley to Cecil Place in 1895; other downtown alleys were similarly renamed.[6]

It is named for William Cecil, who made and sold leather goods in his home at the corner of this alley and Liberty Avenue around 1801. He was elected high constable of the borough of Pittsburgh in May 1803.[7][8] Compare nearby Barkers Place, Scott Place, Maddock Place, and Irwin's Alley (today's Eighth Street), which were similarly named for people living at those locations.

A sign at the corner of Cecil Place and Penn Avenue gives this alley the honorary name CLO Academy Way,[9] named for the Pittsburgh CLO Academy of Musical Theater.


  1. George Woods. A Draught of the Town Plat of Pittsburgh, Surveyed for John Penn, Jr., and John Penn, by George Woods, May 31st 1784. 1784. Reproduced as "Original plan of Pittsburgh" in plate 19 of Atlas of the Cities of Pittsburgh, Allegheny, and the Adjoining Boroughs, G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1872 (Historic Pittsburgh 1872p019). [view source]woods-plat
  2. John Hills. Plan of the Lots Laid Out at Pittsburg and the Coal Hill. Philadelphia, 1787. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0464; LCCN 74692580. Reproduced in John W. Reps, The Making of Urban America: A history of city planning in the United States, p. 205, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N. J., 1965 (LCCN 63023414); in Stefan Lorant, Pittsburgh: The story of an American city, 5th (Millennium) ed., p. 53, Esselmont Books, Pittsburgh, 1999, ISBN 0-967-41030-4 (LCCN 99-066641); and in Emily M. Weaver, The Fort Pitt Block House, p. 40, History Press, Charleston, S. C., 2013, ISBN 978-1-60949-933-4. [view source]hills
  3. Wm. Darby. Plan of Pittsburg and Adjacent Country. R. Patterson and W. Darby, Philadelphia, 1815. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0197, DARMAP0198. Reproduced in John W. Reps, The Making of Urban America: A history of city planning in the United States, p. 207, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N. J., 1965 (LCCN 63023414); and in Bruce J. Buvinger, The Origin, Development and Persistence of Street Patterns in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, p. 24. Also reproduced as "Plan von Pittsburg und Umgebungen" in Bernhard, Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (Heinrich Luden, ed.), Reise Sr. Hoheit des Herzogs Bernhard zu Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach durch Nord-Amerika in den Jahren 1825 und 1826, vol. II, following p. 200, Wilhelm Hoffmann, Weimar, 1828 (Internet Archive reisesrhoheitdes00bern, reisesrhoheitdes00inbern). [view source]darby
  4. James M. Riddle. The Pittsburgh Directory for 1815: Containing the names, professions and residence of the heads of families and persons in business, in the borough of Pittsburgh, with an appendix containing a variety of useful information. James M. Riddle, Pittsburgh, 1815. Internet Archive pittsburghdirect00ridd. Republished by the Colonial Trust Co., Pittsburgh, 1905 (Google Books 9ihRAAAAYAAJ; Historic Pittsburgh 00ach3238m); and by Duquesne Smelting Corporation, Pittsburgh, 1940 (Internet Archive pittsburghdirect00repu). [view source]riddle
  5. Jean Barbeau and Lewis Keyon. Map of Pittsburgh and Its Environs. N. B. Molineux, Pittsburgh, 1830. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0576; https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/36c3ab00-57aa-0136-8f4f-08990f217bc9. [view source]barbeau
  6. "An ordinance changing the names of Cecil alley to Cecil place, Barkers alley to Barker place, Scott alley to Scott place, Maddocks alley to Maddock place, and Garrison alley to Garrison place." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1895, no. 386. Passed Mar. 18, 1895; approved Mar. 21, 1895. Ordinance Book 10, p. 227. Reprinted in the Pittsburg Press, Apr. 8, 1895, p. 8 (Newspapers.com 141562334), Apr. 9, p. 7 (Newspapers.com 141562391), and Apr. 10, p. 9 (Newspapers.com 141562481). [view source]ordinance-1895-386
  7. Bruce S. Cridlebaugh. "Field notes: Changing Pittsburgh street names—from downtown to Lawrenceville." Pghbridges.com: Bridges & tunnels of Allegheny County & Pittsburgh, PA, Feb. 9, 2000. http://pghbridges.com/articles/fieldnote_pghstnames.htm. [view source]cridlebaugh
  8. 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
  9. Diana Nelson Jones. "Solving street sign mystery takes some odd turns." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dec. 23, 2003, pp. C-1, C-2. Newspapers.com 90230509, 90230579. http://old.post-gazette.com/lifestyle/20031223whoislisa1223fnp3.asp. [view source]jones-solving