Collins Street

From Pittsburgh Streets
Collins Street
Neighborhoods East Liberty, Highland Park
Origin of name Thomas Collins
Mill Street (ca. 1816 – ca. 1870)
Origin of name Jacob Negley's steam-powered grist mill
Collins Avenue (ca. 1870 – 1881)
Origin of name Thomas Collins

This street was originally called Mill Street, named for a steam-powered grist mill built by Jacob Negley in 1816 at the corner of what are now Penn Avenue and Centre Avenue.[1]:44–45,48,55[2][3] This name lasted until at least 1860, as it appears in plans of lots laid out by A. Negley in 1857[4] and Daniel Negley in 1860.[5]

The street is labeled Collins Avenue in the 1872 Hopkins atlas.[6] An 1881 ordinance establishing the names of all streets in the city of Pittsburgh named it Collins Street.[7] It is named for Thomas Collins[8][9] (1774–1814),[10] a prominent early Pittsburgh lawyer.

Until its annexation by the city of Pittsburgh in 1868, East Liberty had been part of Collins Township.[11][12] Most sources say that Collins Township was named for Thomas Collins,[13][9][14][15][16][1]:63 but a newspaper column reporting the creation of Collins Township in 1850 says it was named "in compliment to an honored widow lady residing within its boundaries."[17] This may refer to a "Mrs. Lydia Collins," who had an estate bounded by what are now Butler Street, Stanton Avenue, 52nd Street, and McCandless Avenue.[11][18] Thomas Collins had a daughter named Lydia[10] who in 1833 married Judge William B. McClure (1807–1861),[10][19] for whom McClure Avenue is named. But this is unlikely to be the same Lydia, because Lydia McClure was not yet a widow in 1850 and would almost certainly have been called McClure rather than Collins.

In 1968, as part of the urban redevelopment plan in East Liberty, several streets were renamed to create Penn Circle; a portion of Collins Street became Penn Circle East.[20][21] When Penn Circle West was abolished in 2013, Penn Circle East and an additional segment of Collins Street became part of Centre Avenue, thus extending that avenue to East Liberty Boulevard.[22][23]


  1. 1.0 1.1 John Fulton Stuart Collins, Jr. "Stringtown on the Pike": Tales and history of East Liberty and the East Liberty Valley of Pennsylvania: Its origin, early struggles and the people who shaped its destiny, past and present, together with related stories of old "Pittsburg" coincident with the settlement of "Stringtown." East Liberty Chamber of Commerce, Pittsburgh. LCCN 65027412. [view source]stringtown
  2. East End/East Liberty Historical Society. Pittsburgh's East Liberty Valley, pp. 16–17, 22. Images of America. Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, S. C., 2008, ISBN 978-0-7385-5489-1. LCCN 2007926962. [view source]east-liberty
  3. History of Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania: With illustrations descriptive of its scenery, palatial residences, public buildings, fine blocks and important manufactories, from original sketches by artists of the highest ability, p. 184. L. H. Everts & Co., Philadelphia, 1876. Historic Pittsburgh 00aee8639m. [view source]durant
  4. "Plan of building lots situated in East Liberty: Laid out by A. Negley, Esq, Pittsburg Nov. 4th 1857." Laid out Nov. 4, 1857; recorded in Plan Book 2, p. 100. Allegheny County Recorder of Deeds 3778385. [view source]a-negley-plan
  5. "Plan of lots in the village of East Liberty laid out by Daniel Negley Esq." Recorded Sept. 11, 1860, Plan Book 2, p. 163. Allegheny County Recorder of Deeds 3778433. [view source]daniel-negley-plan
  6. Atlas of the Cities of Pittsburgh, Allegheny, and the Adjoining Boroughs, pp. 61, 70. G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1872.; 1872 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps ( [view source]hopkins-1872
  7. "An ordinance establishing the names of avenues, streets, lanes and alleys of the City of Pittsburgh." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1881, no. 33. Passed Feb. 28, 1881; approved Mar. 4, 1881. Ordinance Book 5, p. 212. In Municipal Record: Minutes of the proceedings of the Select and Common Councils of the City of Pittsburgh, for the year 1880, pp. 213–234 (Internet Archive pghmunicipalrecord1880). [view source]ordinance-1881-33
  8. George T. Fleming. "Eminent judges names honored in streets: Local judiciary well commemorated in city highways and county subdivisions: Judges all able men." Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Sept. 19, 1915, sec. 6, p. 4. 85765005. [view source]fleming-eminent
  9. 9.0 9.1 George T. Fleming. "Famous jurist and orator honored: Wilson McCandless' name preserved locally in street township and lodge: Notes on fine man." Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Nov. 12, 1916, sec. 5, p. 2. 85413176. [view source]fleming-jurist
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Daniel Agnew. "Address to the Allegheny County Bar Association, December 1, 1888." Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 13, no. 1, Apr. 1889, pp. 1–60. [view source]agnew
  11. 11.0 11.1 Sidney & Neff and S. McRea. Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, with the Names of Property-Holders. Philadelphia, 1851. LCCN 2012592150. [view source]sidney-neff
  12. 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
  13. History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: Including its early settlement and progress to the present time; a description of its historic and interesting localities; its cities, towns and villages; religious, educational, social and military history; mining, manufacturing and commercial interests; improvements, resources, statistics, etc.: Also portraits of some of its prominent men, and biographies of many of its representative citizens, part I, p. 270. A. Warner & Co., Chicago, 1889. Google Books DwzYAAAAMAAJ; Internet Archive historyofalleghe1889cush. [view source]history-of-allegheny-county
  14. George Thornton Fleming. History of Pittsburgh and Environs: From prehistoric days to the beginning of the American Revolution, vol. 1, p. 539. 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
  15. History of Pittsburgh and Environs, vol. 2, p. 200. American Historical Society, New York and Chicago, 1922. Google Books 3staAAAAYAAJ, TPUMAAAAYAAJ; HathiTrust 011262563; Internet Archive historypittsbur00yorkgoog, historypittsbur02socigoog. [view source]history-pgh-environs-2
  16. Annie Clark Miller. Chronicles of Families, Houses and Estates of Pittsburgh and Its Environs, p. 12. Pittsburgh, 1927. Google Books ulkLyD9MkygC; Internet Archive chroniclesoffami00mill. [view source]miller-chronicles
  17. "Local matters." Daily Morning Post (Pittsburgh), June 4, 1850, [p. 2]. 86642601. [view source]local-matters-1850-06-04
  18. R. E. McGowin. Map of the Cities of Pittsburgh and Allegheny and of the Boroughs of South-Pittsburgh, Birmingham, East-Birmingham, Lawrenceville, Duquesne & Manchester etc. Schuchman & Haunlein, Pittsburgh, 1852. [view source]mcgowin-1852
  19. A. A. Lambing and J. W. F. White. Allegheny County: Its early history and subsequent development, p. 107. Snowden & Peterson, Pittsburgh, 1888. Google Books 6bY-AAAAYAAJ; HathiTrust 008957728, 100693049; Historic Pittsburgh 00aee8946m; Internet Archive centennialhistor00lamb; LCCN 18008828. [view source]lambing
  20. "An ordinance changing the name of Rural Street, between North Euclid Avenue and North Highland Avenue, to Penn Circle North; Station Street, between North Highland Avenue and Collins Street, to Penn Circle North; North Euclid Avenue, between Center Avenue and Rural Street, to Penn Circle West; Center Avenue, between North Euclid Avenue and Penn Avenue, to Penn Circle South; Collins Avenue, between Penn Avenue and Station Street, to Penn Circle East; all in the Eighth and Eleventh Wards of the City of Pittsburgh." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1968, no. 187. Passed Apr. 15, 1968; approved Apr. 22, 1968. Ordinance Book 69, p. 540. In Municipal Record: Minutes of the proceedings of the Council of the City of Pittsburgh: For the year 1968, appendix, p. 120, Park Printing, Inc., Pittsburgh (Internet Archive Pghmunicipalrecord1968). [view source]ordinance-1968-187
  21. "East Liberty opens 'loop road' Monday: Portion of Highland Ave. to be closed with Penn Ave. in business district next." Pittsburgh Press, Apr. 19, 1968, p. 2. 148899419. [view source]loop-road
  22. Moriah Balingit. "Council to rename Penn Circle." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Nov. 25, 2013, pp. B-1, B-5. 96439442, 96439449; [view source]balingit
  23. "Resolution changing the names of various streets in the East Liberty neighborhood as per recommendation by the City of Pittsburgh Addressing Committee (CPAC). The names of Penn Circle North, Penn Circle South, Penn Circle East, Penn Circle West, and a portion of Collins Street shall be renamed in accordance with the Pittsburgh Code, Title Four, Public Places and Property, Chapter 420 Uniform Street Naming and Addressing." Pittsburgh city resolution, 2013, no. 788. Passed Dec. 10, 2013; effective Dec. 11, 2013. [view source]resolution-2013-788