Greentree Road

From Pittsburgh Streets
Greentree Road
Neighborhoods Ridgemont, West End, Westwood
Origin of name Borough of Green Tree
Black Horse Trail (1760s)
Origin of name Colonel Henry Bouquet's Black Horse Brigade
Pittsburgh and Washington Turnpike (1812–1881)
Origin of name Connected Pittsburgh and Washington, Pennsylvania
Washington Pike (1812–1881)
Origin of name Shortening of Pittsburgh and Washington Turnpike
Independence Street (1881–1933)

The route of Greentree Road was originally a Native American trail along a crest called Warrior's Ridge. It was used by Colonel Henry Bouquet (eponym of Bouquet Street) and his Black Horse Brigade shortly after he relieved the siege of Fort Pitt in 1763, for which it became known as the Black Horse Trail. In 1812 work began on a road to connect Pittsburgh to the National Pike (today's U. S. Route 40) at Washington, Pennsylvania; this road became known as the Pittsburgh and Washington Turnpike or simply the Washington Pike.[1][2] The part of the Washington Pike within Pittsburgh city limits was renamed Independence Street in 1881.[3][4] Independence Street was renamed Greentree Road in 1933.[5]

Greentree Road is so called because it leads to the borough of Green Tree. The name of the borough comes from a large sycamore tree that served as a landmark and meeting point. It was an early mail stop along the Washington Pike, and it was jokingly called "the Green Tree post office." The name was made official in 1844 when a real post office was later opened nearby, and in 1885 when the borough was incorporated it also took the name Green Tree. The sycamore blew down in 1905, but the stump sprouted new branches, and it was nursed back to health by borough residents. The tree was finally cut down in 1945 at the request of the property owner.[6][7][1][8][2][9] Today the tree is memorialized by a stone monument and plaque on the west side of Greentree Road just south of Western Avenue.

The 1850 Allegheny County map of E. H. Heastings shows a cluster of houses labeled Green Tree, and Sidney & Neff's 1851 map shows "Green Tree P. O.," but not exactly in the location of today's Green Tree borough. Instead, these maps put Green Tree a little further along Washington Pike, corresponding to modern Greentree Road between Cochran and Swallow Hill Roads.[10][11]

Some sources say that the borough of Green Tree is named after a Green Tree Hotel that stood on the Washington Pike,[12][13] but I cannot find evidence to corroborate this claim. Sidney & Neff's 1851 map of Allegheny County, which is detailed enough to show individual residences, hotels, stores, and taverns, does not show a Green Tree Hotel. It does include a Green Tree Tavern, but this was just outside Cowanville (part of today's Mount Washington), far from Green Tree.[11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Rachel Kirk. "Greentree's historic sycamore goes way of all good trees: It 'vanishes' at owner's request." Pittsburgh Press, Oct. 18, 1945, p. 18. 147482199. [view source]kirk
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kay Ryall. "Indian mound proves early tribes once occupied site of Greentree: Red Men's trail to Logstown lay over 'Warrior's Ridge': Victorious General Bouquet used route to peace meet." Pittsburgh Press, July 9, 1933, classified section, p. 8. 146698905. [view source]ryall
  3. "An ordinance establishing the names of avenues, streets, lanes and alleys of the City of Pittsburgh." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1881, no. 33. Passed Feb. 28, 1881; approved Mar. 4, 1881. Ordinance Book 5, p. 212. In Municipal Record: Minutes of the proceedings of the Select and Common Councils of the City of Pittsburgh, for the year 1880, pp. 213–234 (Internet Archive pghmunicipalrecord1880). [view source]ordinance-1881-33
  4. Atlas of the Cities Pittsburgh and Allegheny. G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1882.; 1882 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps ( [view source]hopkins-1882
  5. "An ordinance changing the names of certain avenues, streets, roads and ways in the City of Pittsburgh." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1933, no. 121. Passed May 29, 1933; approved May 31, 1933. Ordinance Book 45, p. 241. In Municipal Record: Minutes of the proceedings of the Council of the City of Pittsburgh: For the year 1933, appendix, p. 72, City Printing Co., Pittsburgh (Internet Archive Pghmunicipalrecord1933). Reprinted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 5, 1933, p. 25 ( 89887815), and June 6, p. 23 ( 89888832). [view source]ordinance-1933-121
  6. "Earle invited to Greentree." Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, June 30, 1935, sec. 1, p. 15. 523812185. [view source]earle
  7. John L. Kay and Chester M. Smith, Jr. Pennsylvania Postal History, p. 39. Quarterman Publications, Lawrence, Mass., 1976, ISBN 0-88000-059-7. LCCN 75-1784. [view source]kay-smith
  8. Virginia Peden. "Banksville seniors delight in historical photographs." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Nov. 28, 2001, South section, p. S-11. 90884837. [view source]peden
  9. Candy Woodall. "Green Tree history recalled as borough marks 125 years." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 17, 2010, South Xtra section, pp. S-1, S-6. 96456160, 96456174; [view source]woodall
  10. E. H. Heastings. Map of the County of Allegheny, Pennsylvania. 1850. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0090. [view source]heastings
  11. 11.0 11.1 Sidney & Neff and S. McRea. Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, with the Names of Property-Holders. Philadelphia, 1851. LCCN 2012592150. [view source]sidney-neff
  12. Jan Ackerman. "Town names carry a bit of history." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 10, 1984, PG South, pp. 1, 6. 90021754, 90021778. [view source]ackerman-south
  13. Bob Regan. The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names, p. 162. The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5. [view source]regan