Diamond Street

From Pittsburgh Streets
Diamond Street
Neighborhoods Bluff, Central Business District
Origin of name Market Square, called "the Diamond"
Old Avenue (1868–1899)
Origin of name The old part of Fifth Avenue after it was rerouted

Diamond Alley was one of the original streets of Pittsburgh, laid out in the town plan of 1784 by George Woods (eponym of Wood Street).[1][2] It ran from Liberty Avenue through Market Square to Grant Street; it is Forbes Avenue today. It takes its name from Market Square, which was called the Diamond Market or just "the Diamond" for its shape. Other markets in the city were also called diamonds, such as the Allegheny Diamond (today's Allegheny Commons).[3][4]

The Diamond Street that exists today, a short diagonal connection from Fifth Avenue to Forbes Avenue at the northwest corner of Duquesne University, was not part of the original street. Rather, it was part of an early road that eventually became the long stretch of Fifth Avenue from Grant Street to Point Breeze. That road originally joined Fourth Street (now Fourth Avenue) at Grant Street.[5][6][7][8] A city ordinance passed in 1816, accepting into the city the eastern addition of James O'Hara and James Ross, authorized them to extend Diamond Street east to Try Street, intersecting the road, and to close the portion of the road between Diamond Street and Fourth Street.[9] In 1846, a city ordinance redirected the road by straightening its westernmost angle at what was then Chatham Street and continuing the road straight to Ross Street.[10] This had the effect of moving the downtown connection from Diamond Street to Fifth Street (now Fifth Avenue). The old end of the road that joined Diamond Alley was officially renamed Old Avenue in 1868 by the same ordinance that renamed Fifth Street to Fifth Avenue.[11] It became part of Diamond Street in 1899.[12][13][14][15] When the portion of Diamond Street west of its intersection with Forbes Street was made part of Forbes Avenue in 1957, the short piece between Fifth and Forbes became the last preservation of the name Diamond, though it now includes no part of the original Diamond Alley.

The name of the street has nothing to do with the precious stone, but the association between them has been made several times over the years. Margaret Carlin erroneously included Diamond Street in a list of streets named after jewels.[16] When the proposal to rename Diamond Street to Forbes Avenue was made in 1957, the main opposition was led by a jeweler on the street, S. H. DeRoy, who had long advertised his connection to Diamond Street.[1]

See also

  • Old Lane, named because it is the old course of Hawthorne Street


  1. 1.0 1.1 "The diamond in the rough is a street: Jeweler opposes change of name; mayor is for it." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 21, 1957, pp. 1, 6. Newspapers.com 87919613, 87919643. [view source]diamond
  2. 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
  3. George T. Fleming, ed. Pittsburgh: How to see it: A complete, reliable guide book with illustrations, the latest map and complete index. William G. Johnston Co., Pittsburgh, 1916. Google Books 02NAAAAAYAAJ; Internet Archive bub_gb_02NAAAAAYAAJ, pittsburghhowtos01flem. [view source]how-to-see-it
  4. George Swetnam. "Diamond St. name defended by history: Forbes never touched it." Pittsburgh Press, May 7, 1957, pp. 1, 4. Newspapers.com 148045514, 148045722. [view source]swetnam-diamond
  5. 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
  6. George H. Thurston. Fort Pitt in 1795. 1856. In George H. Thurston, Directory for 1856–'57, of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Cities, Birmingham, East Birmingham, South & West Pittsburgh, Temperanceville, Manchester, Duquesne and Lawrenceville Boroughs, East Liberty, and Parts of Pitt and Collins Townships, George H. Thurston, Pittsburgh, 1856, preceding p. iii (Google Books HwYuAAAAYAAJ; HathiTrust 011562263; Historic Pittsburgh 31735038289074). Reprinted in George T. Fleming, "History recalled by street names: Stanwix brings to mind many important happenings in the early days of the Western Pennsylvania settlement," Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Dec. 6, 1914, sec. 2, p. 8 (Newspapers.com 85907599), and with small variations in 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. 35, Pittsburgh Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, 1924 (Historic Pittsburgh 00awn8211m; Internet Archive earlylandmarksna00mill). For additional copies with small variations, lacking clear publication information, see Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0201, DARMAP0202. [view source]fort-pitt-1795
  7. Pittsburgh 1795. 1869. In 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, plate IV, following p. 58, L. H. Everts & Co., Philadelphia, 1876 (Historic Pittsburgh 00aee8639m). Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0203. Reproduced in 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, p. 484, A. Warner & Co., Chicago, 1889 (Google Books DwzYAAAAMAAJ; Internet Archive historyofalleghe1889cush); in George T. Fleming, Fleming's Views of Old Pittsburgh: A portfolio of the past, p. 16, Crescent Press, Pittsburgh, 1932; in Douglas Naylor, "The four corners of Pittsburgh: Old timer of Buttermilk Hollow will 'talk 7 straight hours': Subterranean coal fire will destroy city some day, residents believe," Pittsburgh Press, Apr. 12, 1932, p. 17 (Newspapers.com 146918248); in Bruce J. Buvinger, The Origin, Development and Persistence of Street Patterns in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, p. 22; in Stefan Lorant, Pittsburgh: The story of an American city, 5th (Millennium) ed., pp. 62–63, Esselmont Books, Pittsburgh, 1999, ISBN 0-967-41030-4 (LCCN 99-066641); and in Bob Regan, The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names, p. 57, The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5. [view source]pittsburgh-1795
  8. George Woods. A General Draught of the Farms and Out Lots in the Manor of Pittsburgh, Situate Between the Alleghany and Monongahela Rivers, Laid Out by Order of Tench, Fransis, Esqr. Attorney for John Penn, Jr, and John Penn. 1784. Reproduced in plate 17 of Atlas of the Cities of Pittsburgh, Allegheny, and the Adjoining Boroughs, G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1872 (Historic Pittsburgh 1872p017). [view source]woods-farms
  9. "An ordinance respecting sundry new streets in the eastern addition to Pittsburgh." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1816, no. 22. Passed Sept. 28, 1816; re-enacted by ordinance no. 114, passed Apr. 14, 1828; recorded Mar. 13, 1828. Ordinance Book A, p. 125. In By-Laws and Ordinances of the City of Pittsburgh, and the Acts of Assembly Relating Thereto: With notes and references to judicial decisions thereon, and an appendix, relating to several subjects connected with the laws and police of the city corporation, pp. 127–128, Johnston and Stockton, Pittsburgh, 1828 (Google Books sfxOAAAAYAAJ, 3n9hAAAAcAAJ). [view source]ordinance-1816-22
  10. "An ordinance for extending Pennsylvania Avenue, and widening Fifth street, between Grant and Wylie." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1846. Reprinted in the Pittsburgh Morning Post, Apr. 30, 1846, [p. 2] (Newspapers.com 88168053). [view source]ordinance-1846
  11. "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
  12. George T. Fleming. "Old highway is now great avenue: Historic Fourth Street road plays prominent part in story of early Pittsburgh: Opened years ago." Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Jan. 9, 1916, sec. 5, p. 2. Newspapers.com 85762432. [view source]fleming-highway
  13. 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
  14. "An ordinance changing the name of Old avenue to Diamond street." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1899, no. 116. Passed June 26, 1899; approved June 27, 1899. Ordinance Book 12, p. 451. Reprinted in the Pittsburg Post, July 8, 1899, p. 7 (Newspapers.com 86443786), and July 10, p. 3 (Newspapers.com 86443812). [view source]ordinance-1899-116
  15. "Vale Old avenue: A change in name will soon completely destroy its identity: It has had quite a history: Reminiscences of the thoroughfare and district: How the name was given." Pittsburg Press, July 9, 1899, p. 10. Newspapers.com 141922241. [view source]vale
  16. Margaret Carlin. "How our streets got their names." Pittsburgh Press, Feb. 6, 1966, Pittsburgh's Family Magazine, p. 10. Newspapers.com 149098376. [view source]carlin