Electric Street

From Pittsburgh Streets
Electric Street
Neighborhood Hazelwood

Electric Street, along with nearby Ampere Street and Volt Alley (today Steele Court), was laid out by Thomas S. Blair (1825–1898) in the 1890s. Blair was born in Kittanning but moved to Pittsburgh as a young boy with his mother shortly after his father's death. He was educated in Pittsburgh and then graduated from Harvard University in 1844. After a year of travel in Europe, he returned to Pittsburgh and joined G. & J. H. Shoenberger, an iron-manufacturing company, which later became Shoenberger, Blair & Co. with Blair as the active partner. He applied scientific study to the business and published in scientific journals. He also appeared before congressional committees to advocate for protective tariffs. After his retirement in 1873, he focused on the study of philosophy, economics, and social questions, culminating in a book, Human Progress, which was published in 1896. He is buried in Steubenville, Ohio.[1][2][3][4] It seems likely that Blair named these three streets with an electrical theme because of his interest in science and engineering; electricity was an exciting and rapidly developing technology in the late nineteenth century.


  1. "Obituary: Thomas S. Blair." The Iron Age, Oct. 27, 1898, p. 22. Google Books u0YZAs39upwC. [view source]blair-obit-iron-age
  2. "Thomas S. Blair's career is ended: One of the old Pittsburg ironmasters passed quietly away yesterday: Was born in Kittanning: Highly distinguished as a philosopher and scientist: A courtly gentleman, who retired from business to study; father of a respected family." Pittsburg Post, Oct. 23, 1898, p. 2. Newspapers.com 86376832. [view source]blair-obit-post
  3. Atlas of Greater Pittsburgh. G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1910. http://historicpittsburgh.org/maps-hopkins/1910-atlas-greater-pittsburgh; 1910 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps (https://esriurl.com/pittsburgh). [view source]hopkins-1910
  4. Thomas S. Blair. Human Progress: What can man do to further it? William R. Jenkins, New York, 1896. Google Books OUASAAAAIAAJ. [view source]human-progress