Commonwealth Place

From Pittsburgh Streets
Commonwealth Place
Neighborhood Central Business District
Origin of name Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Marbury Street (1784–1868)
Portion North of Liberty Avenue
Origin of name Joseph Marbury
Short Street (1784–1958)
Portion South of Liberty Avenue
Origin of name Its short length
Third Street (1868–1910)
Portion North of Liberty Avenue
Origin of name Sequential numbering up the Allegheny River
Barbeau Street (1910–1958)
Portion North of Liberty Avenue
Origin of name Jean Barbeau

The two halves of Commonwealth Place, on either side of Liberty Avenue, were originally two distinct streets. George Woods' 1784 plan of Pittsburgh included Marbury Street, from Liberty Street (today's Liberty Avenue) to the Allegheny River, and Short Street, from Liberty Street to Water Street (today's Fort Pitt Boulevard). These two streets were almost opposite each other across Liberty Street.[1]

Marbury Street was just east of the site of the east-facing wall of Fort Pitt. In Woods' plan, this was the westernmost street perpendicular to the Allegheny River. Woods' assistant Thomas Vickroy (eponym of Vickroy Street) recalled in 1841 that they were unable to survey the land below Marbury Street (that is, closer to the Point) because of the presence of the fort.[2][3] The street was named for Major Joseph Marbury, commander of Fort Pitt in 1783 and 1784, during the time that Woods and Vickroy were making their survey.[4][5][6][7][8][2][9][3][10][11][12] Neville B. Craig wrote in 1847 that Vickroy often talked about playing ball against the wall of the fort, perhaps in the location where Marbury Street was laid, and speculated that Marbury may have joined him, or that the two men had formed a friendship in another way.[13] The name Marbury has sometimes been spelled Marburg.[2]

The name Short Street was probably just a literal description: it was one of the shortest streets in Woods' plan (though Eighth Street, West Street, and Plum Alley—later Ogle Way—were shorter).[1]

Pittsburgh's modern sequence of numbered streets was created in 1868 by renaming all the streets perpendicular to the Allegheny River; Marbury Street became Third Street. The name was transferred from Third Avenue, which the same ordinance "promoted" to an avenue.[5][14][15] In 1910, over 900 streets were renamed to eliminate duplicates, and Third Street became Barbeau Street.[5][16][17][18] It was probably named for Jean Barbeau, an early Pittsburgh mapmaker.[19][18] Some locals interpreted it as a tribute to Jap Barbeau, third baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1909;[2][20] this is unlikely, as he was an unimpressive player who was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals after just a few months.

Barbeau Street and Short Street were together renamed Commonwealth Place in 1958. The new name, suggested by the City Planning Commission, honors the role that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania played in the redevelopment of the Point in the 1950s, in particular Point State Park, of which Commonwealth Place forms the eastern boundary.[21][22] Compare Stanwix Street, which was also originally two distinct streets, united under a common name in the 1950s.

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 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. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 George T. Fleming. "Wood's [sic] plan of Pittsburgh: Thomas Vickroy's account of the survey of 1784 and parts taken in city's early life by Craig and Bayard." Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Dec. 13, 1914, sec. 2, p. 2. Newspapers.com 85908612. [view source]fleming-woods
  3. 3.0 3.1 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, pp. 481, 487–488. A. Warner & Co., Chicago, 1889. Google Books DwzYAAAAMAAJ; Internet Archive historyofalleghe1889cush. [view source]history-of-allegheny-county
  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, p. 182. John H. Mellor, Pittsburgh, 1851. Google Books cE0OAAAAIAAJ; HathiTrust 001263103; Historic Pittsburgh 00aee7261m, 31735056285699; Internet Archive historyofpittsbu00crai. [view source]craig
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 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
  6. "Early streets." A Fact a Day About Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dec. 9, 1927, p. 6. Newspapers.com 89853112. [view source]fact-a-day
  7. George T. Fleming. "Great names are commemorated in the streets of Pittsburgh: Interesting history of early city and bits of biography of some of the men signally honored by its founders and first citizens." Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Dec. 27, 1914, sec. 3, p. 1. Newspapers.com 85749921. [view source]fleming-great-names
  8. 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. Newspapers.com 85906737. [view source]fleming-history-told
  9. 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
  10. History of Pittsburgh and Environs, vol. 2, p. 46. American Historical Society, New York and Chicago, 1922. Google Books 3staAAAAYAAJ, TPUMAAAAYAAJ; HathiTrust 011262563; Internet Archive historypittsbur00yorkgoog, historypittsbur02socigoog. [view source]history-pgh-environs-2
  11. William G. Johnston. Life and Reminiscences from Birth to Manhood of Wm. G. Johnston, p. 298. Knickerbocker Press, New York, 1901. Google Books N-QEAAAAYAAJ; Historic Pittsburgh 00adj9508m; Internet Archive lifereminiscence00john. [view source]johnston
  12. 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, p. 23. Pittsburgh Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, 1924. Historic Pittsburgh 00awn8211m; Internet Archive earlylandmarksna00mill. [view source]miller
  13. "Marbury street." Pittsburgh Morning Post, Feb. 10, 1847, p. 2. Newspapers.com 88174296. [view source]marbury
  14. Sarah H. Killikelly. The History of Pittsburgh: Its rise and progress, p. 534. B. C. & Gordon Montgomery Co., Pittsburgh, 1906. DonsList.net HistPgh1909M; Google Books kXmloex-vr8C, poRU0YjqrzsC; HathiTrust 100122020; Historic Pittsburgh 00adc8925m; Internet Archive historyofpittsbu00kill, historypittsbur00killgoog. [view source]killikelly
  15. "An ordinance changing the names of streets." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1868. Passed Aug. 31, 1868. In The Municipal Record: Containing the proceedings of the Select and Common Councils of the City of Pittsburgh: 1868, Pittsburgh Daily Commercial, Pittsburgh (Internet Archive pghmunicipalrecord1868_20200904_2014). Reprinted in the Pittsburgh Gazette, Sept. 2, 1868, p. 5 (Newspapers.com 86347563), Sept. 3, p. 3 (Newspapers.com 86347623), and Sept. 4, p. 3 (Newspapers.com 86347714). [view source]ordinance-1868-name-changes
  16. George T. Fleming, ed. Pittsburgh: How to see it: A complete, reliable guide book with illustrations, the latest map and complete index, p. 47. William G. Johnston Co., Pittsburgh, 1916. Google Books 02NAAAAAYAAJ; Internet Archive bub_gb_02NAAAAAYAAJ, pittsburghhowtos01flem. [view source]how-to-see-it
  17. "An ordinance changing the names of certain avenues, streets, lanes and alleys in the City of Pittsburgh." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1910, no. 715. Passed Mar. 31, 1910; approved Apr. 5, 1910. Ordinance Book 21, p. 342. In Municipal Record: Minutes of the proceedings of the [Select and Common Councils] of the City of Pittsburgh for the years 1909–1910, appendix, pp. 312–328, Devine & Co., Pittsburgh, 1910 (Google Books doQzAQAAMAAJ; Internet Archive Pghmunicipalrecord1909). Reprinted in the Pittsburgh Post, Apr. 19, 1910, pp. 10–11 (Newspapers.com 86611990, 86612022), Apr. 20, pp. 10–11 (Newspapers.com 86612278, 86612297), and Apr. 21, pp. 10–11 (Newspapers.com 86612601, 86612625). [view source]ordinance-1910-715
  18. 18.0 18.1 William A. White. "Fancourt Street." Pittsburgh Press, Feb. 4, 1955, p. 19. Newspapers.com 148887387. [view source]white
  19. 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
  20. "Making a joke of street names: Clerks assigned to wipe out duplications choose any old titles: Hippo, Tumbo, Fortitude!: Also Divinity, Sunday, Starch, Parkhurst, Chianti, Wry and Prudence." Pittsburgh Gazette Times, July 28, 1909, p. 2. Newspapers.com 85879633. [view source]making-a-joke
  21. "City to spruce up for bicentennial." Pittsburgh Press, May 13, 1958, p. 22. Newspapers.com 149519742. [view source]city-to-spruce-up
  22. "Group backs new name for streets." Pittsburgh Press, May 7, 1958, p. 64. Newspapers.com 149516186. [view source]group-backs-new-name