Federal Street

From Pittsburgh Streets
Federal Street
Neighborhoods Allegheny Center, Central Northside, Fineview, North Shore, Perry South
Franklin Road
Origin of name Fort Franklin, today Franklin, Pennsylvania

Federal Street was named on November 28, 1788, by a resolution of the Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The same resolution established the name of the town of Allegheny; the names Ohio Street, Sandusky Street, and Beaver Street (now West Commons); and the names of six alleys and two lanes. The names were given by a committee consisting of "Mr. Woods, Mr. Redick and Mr. Dennison."[1]

The name Federal is commonly attributed to a spirit of patriotism. In 1923, Annie Clark Miller wrote, "The street names Liberty, Union, Congress, Federal, Penn and Webster are reminiscent of the patriotic spirit of the early times."[2]:23 In 1952, Gilbert Love, citing notes written by James S. West in 1885, said, "If you've ever wondered how the North Side's main thoroughfare got the name Federal Street be advised that there's nothing much to it. The citizenry just named it for the Federal Government in an outburst of patriotic enthusiasm."[3] In 1966, Margaret Carlin wrote, "Liberty Ave. and Federal St. were a salute to freedom-conscious colonists . . . ."[4] And in 1967, James K. DeLaney wrote, "In fact, Liberty Avenue, one of the early main thoroughfares, was a popular symbol of the freedom the colonists fought for. And there is the Northside's Federal Street, a principal street whose name was readily accepted."[5]

Federal Street was formerly part of a road called Franklin Road, named for its destination: Fort Franklin, today the city of Franklin, Pennsylvania, via Perrysville and Butler.[6][2]:58[1] This road led north from Allegheny along today's Federal Street and Federal Street Extension and then followed the course of modern Perrysville Avenue.

A ferry originally crossed the Allegheny River at the end of this road, connecting to what is now Sixth Street in the city of Pittsburgh; later a bridge was built here.[6][1] Because it was seen as the continuation of the street on the south side of the Allegheny, Sixth Street was officially part of Federal Street from 1910 to 1915.[6][7][8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Old state body laid out town of Allegheny: Executive council in 1788 fixed lot prices and furnished names for streets and alleys: Origin of the present parks." Pittsburg Press, Dec. 1, 1907, p. 32. Newspapers.com 142120163. [view source]old-state-body
  2. 2.0 2.1 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. Pittsburgh Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, 1924. Historic Pittsburgh 00awn8211m; Internet Archive earlylandmarksna00mill. [view source]miller
  3. Gilbert Love. "How names came." Pittsburgh Press, Aug. 11, 1952, p. 11. Newspapers.com 141584890. [view source]love
  4. 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
  5. James K. DeLaney. "Spectres of past haunt Pittsburgh's corner signposts: Street names 'pennants of tribute.'" Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mar. 30, 1967, [p. 41]. Newspapers.com 88235360. [view source]delaney
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 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
  7. "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; HathiTrust uiug.30112108223832; 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
  8. "An ordinance changing the names of certain avenues, streets and ways in the City of Pittsburgh." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1915, no. 117. Passed Apr. 28, 1915; approved Apr. 29, 1915. Ordinance Book 26, p. 615. In Municipal Record: Minutes of the proceedings of the Council of the City of Pittsburgh for the year 1915, appendix, pp. 99–103, Arlington Printing Co., Pittsburgh, 1915 (Internet Archive Pghmunicipalrecord1915). Reprinted in the Pittsburgh Post, May 7, 1915, sporting section, p. 4 (Newspapers.com 88028157), May 8, p. 15 (Newspapers.com 88028802), and May 10, p. 11 (Newspapers.com 88030672). [view source]ordinance-1915-117