Cola Street

From Pittsburgh Streets
Cola Street
Neighborhood Mount Washington
Origin of name Modification of the earlier name Coal
Coal Street (until 1925)
Origin of name Coal deposits in Coal Hill (Mount Washington)

Cola Street was originally named Coal Street. The 1872 Hopkins atlas shows Coal Street just to the east of a "coal inclined plane."[1]

Mount Washington was originally named Coal Hill for its coal deposits, the northeastern outcropping of the extensive Pittsburgh coal seam.[2][3] This coal was mined almost from the beginning of European settlement. In 1766 the Reverend Charles Beatty visited Fort Pitt and the young town of Pittsburgh. In a journal entry dated September 8, he described an ascent of the hill to see the mines that provided coal to the fort. The coal seam had been accidentally set on fire almost a year previously and was still burning; Beatty expressed concern that the mountain might become a volcano.[4][2]

Nearly sixty years later, in 1825, Jacob Beltzhoover started mining coal on the northern face of Coal Hill. Beltzhoover's mine was sold several times, eventually coming into the possession of the Pittsburgh Coal Company under the operation of James M. Bailey. Sometime between 1856 and 1861, Bailey built an 850-foot-long incline to bring coal down from the mouth of the mine to Carson Street below. This is the "coal inclined plane" shown on the 1872 Hopkins map. The mine was gradually dug deeper into the hillside, and track was laid within. The mine was exhausted in 1861, at which point it formed a 1,700-foot tunnel, five and a half feet high, through Coal Hill to the south face. The Pittsburgh Coal Company laid track from this tunnel southward to another mine in the Saw Mill Run valley. This track was purchased in 1871 by the Pittsburgh and Castle Shannon Railroad, which also leased the tunnel and incline. The P. & C. S. R. R. extended the track to the south and started passenger service between Carson Street and Castle Shannon. The height of the tunnel was raised to twelve and a half feet in 1874. In the early 1890s a pair of new inclines (Incline Number One on the north face of Mount Washington and Incline Number Two on the south face) were built for passenger service. The old incline and tunnel remained in use for coal until the lease expired in 1912, after which the tracks were removed.[5][6]

Coal Street was renamed Cola Street by a city ordinance in 1925.[7][8][9]

Deborah Deasy whimsically paired Cola Street with Coke Street in Homestead in a 1982 Pittsburgh Press column about street names.[10]

See also


  1. Atlas of the Cities of Pittsburgh, Allegheny, and the Adjoining Boroughs. G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1872.; 1872 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps ( [view source]hopkins-1872
  2. 2.0 2.1 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, pp. 54–55. Pittsburgh Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, 1924. Historic Pittsburgh 00awn8211m; Internet Archive earlylandmarksna00mill. [view source]miller
  3. Bob Regan. The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names, p. 44. The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5. [view source]regan
  4. Neville B. Craig. The History of Pittsburgh: With a brief notice of its facilities of communication, and other advantages for commercial and manufacturing purposes, pp. 94–96. John H. Mellor, Pittsburgh, 1851. Google Books cE0OAAAAIAAJ; HathiTrust 001263103; Historic Pittsburgh 00aee7261m, 31735056285699; Internet Archive historyofpittsbu00crai. [view source]craig
  5. Shelley Birdsong. "Pittsburgh and Castle Shannon Railroad (Overbrook Trolley Line): HAER no. PA-410." Historic American Engineering Record, National Park Service, 1996. [view source]birdsong
  6. ASCE Pittsburgh Section 100th Anniversary Publication Committee. Engineering Pittsburgh: A history of roads, rails, canals, bridges & more, p. 58. History Press, Charleston, S. C., 2018, ISBN 978-1-5402-3599-2. LCCN 2018942435. [view source]engineering
  7. "137 streets to get new names: City officials and postal chiefs unite to wipe out duplications: Program tentative." Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Jan. 22, 1925, pp. 1, 5. 86164194, 86164222. [view source]137-streets
  8. "Street name changes made in 150 cases by council: Members balk postal authorities in some designations: Conflict in titles cause." Pittsburgh Post, Jan. 22, 1925, pp. 1, 8. 88486660, 88486701. [view source]150-cases
  9. "An ordinance changing the names of certain avenues, streets and ways in the City of Pittsburgh." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1925, no. 175. Passed Apr. 20, 1925; approved Apr. 22, 1925. Ordinance Book 36, p. 299. Reprinted in the Pittsburgh Post, Apr. 27, 1925, p. 15 ( 88691643), and Apr. 28, [p. 21] ( 88691689). [view source]ordinance-1925-175
  10. Deborah Deasy. "A city street by any name spells history: The corners of time." Pittsburgh Press, Jan. 22, 1982, [p. A-16]. 146681316. [view source]deasy