Highland Drive

From Pittsburgh Streets
Not to be confused with Highland Avenue.
Highland Drive
Neighborhood Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar
Leech Farm Road (until 1974 or 1975)
Origin of name Farm of John Leech

This road was originally called Leech Farm Road because it led up to and through the farm of John Leech.[1] The Leech farm was given to the City of Pittsburgh by the Pennsylvania Railroad in the early 20th century in exchange for the rights needed to construct the Brilliant Branch.[2]

In 1909, a proposal was made to build a tuberculosis hospital on the Leech farm.[3] This hospital was opened in 1915.[4][5][6]

The Veterans Administration opened a neuropsychiatric hospital at Leech Farm in 1953, next to the city's tuberculosis hospital.[7][8][9]

Leech Farm Road was renamed Highland Drive in 1974 or 1975, around the same time that the VA hospital was renamed "Veterans Hospital, Highland Drive."[10][11] The name change was prompted because "Leech Farm" had gained the connotation of "funny farm."[12]


  1. Atlas of the City of Pittsburgh, vol. 3, plate 21. G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1890. http://historicpittsburgh.org/maps-hopkins/1890-volume-3-atlas-pittsburgh; included in the 1890 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps (https://esriurl.com/pittsburgh). [view source]hopkins-1890-vol-3
  2. "Blocks scheme to take park land: E. M. Bigelow saves 150 acres for city: Claims he killed project of cemetery co. to get land from Highland Park: Talk with mayor did it: Alleged that certain councilmen were interested in plans—Mayor Guthrie acts very promptly." Pittsburg Press, Nov. 9, 1906, p. 1. Newspapers.com 142177360. [view source]blocks-scheme
  3. "Ask quarter million for tuberculosis hospital: Councils to act and people will vote on bond issue at fall election: Institution is needed." Pittsburgh Post, Aug. 19, 1909, pp. 1, 3. Newspapers.com 86955599, 86955604. [view source]ask-quarter-million
  4. "City's tuberculosis hospital opened." Pittsburg Press, Sept. 23, 1915, p. 20. Newspapers.com 144038386. [view source]citys-tuberculosis-hospital-opened
  5. "New Tuberculosis Hospital is opened: Many visit institution on Leech farm—health director and councilmen speak." Pittsburgh Post, Sept. 24, 1915, p. 4. Newspapers.com 88047997. [view source]new-tuberculosis-hospital-is-opened
  6. "Tuberculosis hospital is open to the public." Pittsburg Press, Sept. 30, 1915, p. 2. Newspapers.com 144045932. [view source]tuberculosis-hospital-open-to-public
  7. "New VA Hospital at Leech Farm to open Nov. 25." Pittsburgh Press, Oct. 29, 1953, p. 41. Newspapers.com 149940918. [view source]va-hospital-to-open
  8. "New hospital opened by VA at Leech Farm: 23 patients enter institution." Pittsburgh Press, Nov. 25, 1953, p. 8. Newspapers.com 149945048. [view source]new-hospital-opened-by-va
  9. Pat McCormack. "Public urged to visit new VA Hospital: 'City of Hope' opens doors at 3 to 5 today." Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, Nov. 29, 1953, p. 28. Newspapers.com 524891905. [view source]public-urged-to-visit-new-va-hospital
  10. Municipal Record: Minutes of the proceedings of the Council of the City of Pittsburgh: For the year 1974, proceedings, p. 393. Artcrafts Unlimited, Inc., Pittsburgh. Internet Archive Pghmunicipalrecord1974. This book has several parts: index to proceedings, pp. 1–216; proceedings, pp. 1–631; index to appendix, pp. 1–169; and appendix (containing ordinances and resolutions), pp. 1–630. [view source]municipal-record-1974
  11. "Leech Farm Hospital gets name change." Pittsburgh Press, June 8, 1975, p. D-12. Newspapers.com 147537825. [view source]leech-farm-hospital
  12. Vince Leonard. "Life at Veterans Hospital: a stopover, or the last stop." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Nov. 11, 1978, pp. 1, 3. Newspapers.com 90056750, 90056764. [view source]leonard-hospital