Dream Street

From Pittsburgh Streets
Dream Street
Neighborhood Brookline
Origin of name Conceptual theme, along with Abstract Avenue and Harmony Avenue
Ridge Street (1893–1908)
Dream Avenue (1908–1914)

Dream Street was laid out in 1893 as part of a small development in the borough of West Liberty called the Bailey and Moon Plan No. 3; it was originally named Ridge Street.[1][2] In 1908, West Liberty borough (today's neighborhoods of Brookline and Beechwood) was annexed into the city of Pittsburgh.[3][4] The next year, a Pittsburgh city ordinance officially established the name of the street as Dream Avenue.[5] (The name Ridge was already taken by Ridge Avenue on the North Side.)[1] Shortly afterward, in 1914, the name was changed to Dream Street. The new name fit a kind of theme: the other streets in the subdivision were renamed Abstract Avenue and Harmony Avenue.[6] An intersecting alley (described as "unnamed alley from Dream avenue to an unnamed alley") was named Dream Way by another 1914 ordinance.[7][8]

Dream Street became famous as the subject of a photograph by W. Eugene Smith (1918–1978). He had been commissioned in 1955 to produce about 100 photos of Pittsburgh over two weeks for Stefan Lorant's book Pittsburgh: The Story of an American City. Instead, he became engrossed in the city and ended up taking about 17,000 photographs over the course of three years. In his black-and-white photograph of Dream Street, a mailbox stands next to a street sign that simply says "Dream"; in the background, a car is parked beside dense foliage.[9][1][10][11]

In 2009, in response to a reader's question, Pittsburgh City Paper columnist Chris Potter attempted to find Dream Street, but discovered that by then it existed only as a "paper street" on maps.[1]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Chris Potter. "Photographer Eugene Smith's iconic portrait of 1950s Pittsburgh brought 'Dream Street' to life. Where is Dream Street located?" Pittsburgh City Paper, Oct. 8, 2009. https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/Content?oid=1342644. [view source]dream
  2. Real Estate Plat-Book of the Southern Vicinity of Pittsburgh, Penna. G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1896. http://historicpittsburgh.org/maps-hopkins/1896%E2%80%93plat-book-southern-pittsburgh; included in the 1890 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps (https://esriurl.com/pittsburgh). [view source]hopkins-1896
  3. Bob Regan. The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names, pp. 10, 37. The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5. [view source]regan
  4. "West Liberty becomes Forty-fourth ward: Tunnel land enjoys prosperous era and comes into city without debt: John Price pioneered: Leads movement to bring borough close to city and now he seeks select council." Pittsburgh Post, Jan. 5, 1908, p. 5. Newspapers.com 86554144. [view source]west-liberty
  5. "An ordinance changing and establishing the names of certain avenues, streets, lanes and alleys in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth wards of the City of Pittsburgh (formerly known as the Boroughs of West Liberty and Beechview)." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1909, no. 375. Passed Oct. 14, 1909; approved Oct. 20, 1909. Ordinance Book 20, p. 614. 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. 146–150, Devine & Co., Pittsburgh, 1910 (Google Books doQzAQAAMAAJ; HathiTrust uiug.30112108223832; Internet Archive Pghmunicipalrecord1909). Reprinted in the Pittsburgh Post, Nov. 11, 1909, p. 8 (Newspapers.com 86421216), and Nov. 12, p. 11 (Newspapers.com 86421491). [view source]ordinance-1909-375
  6. "An ordinance changing the names of certain avenues, streets and alleys in the City of Pittsburgh." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1914, no. 202. Passed June 16, 1914; approved June 17, 1914. Ordinance Book 26, p. 136. Reprinted in the Pittsburgh Post, June 23, 1914, [p. 15] (Newspapers.com 86550844). [view source]ordinance-1914-202
  7. Alexander Gross. Pittsburgh and Vicinity: Featuring transit lines and house numbers. Geographia Map Co. Inc., New York, 1953. Published with Alexander Gross, The Complete Street Guide to Pittsburgh and 16 Nearby Suburbs: With large map of Pittsburgh and suburbs; streets, house numbers, transportation lines, places of interest, churches, etc., etc., Geographia Map Co. Inc., New York, 1953 (DonsList.net PghStreets1953M). A slightly different version entitled The Premier Map of Pittsburgh and Vicinity is reproduced in Sam Stephenson, ed., Dream Street: W. Eugene Smith's Pittsburgh project, pp. 22–23, University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 2023, ISBN 978-0-226-82483-3 (LCCN 2022055151). [view source]gross-map
  8. "An ordinance designating the names of five unnamed alleys in the City of Pittsburgh." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1914, no. 360. Passed Oct. 13, 1914; approved Oct. 16, 1914. Ordinance Book 26, p. 307. Reprinted in the Pittsburgh Post, Oct. 23, 1914, p. 10 (Newspapers.com 88653962), and Oct. 24, p. 13 (Newspapers.com 88653997). [view source]ordinance-1914-360
  9. "W. Eugene Smith." Carnegie Museum of Art. https://records.cmoa.org/parties/ea342b18-c803-4f03-883e-87b37f3778fb. [view source]cmoa-smith
  10. Bob Hoover. "Chasing dreams." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dec. 9, 2001, Sunday Magazine, pp. G-1, G-12. Newspapers.com 90886631, 90886714. [view source]hoover-chasing
  11. Mary Thomas. "Beyond the borders: Art eludes definition in eclectic season." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sept. 7, 2001, pp. FA-12, FA-13. Newspapers.com 94941155, 94941187. [view source]thomas-beyond