Josephine Street

From Pittsburgh Streets
Josephine Street
Neighborhoods Arlington Heights, South Side Slopes
Origin of name Josephine Blakeney Ormsby Yard

Josephine Street is named for Josephine Blakeney Ormsby Yard (1823–1854), daughter of Oliver Ormsby (1767–1832) and granddaughter of John Ormsby (1720–1805).[1][2] In 1853 she married Edward Madison Yard (1813–1889), a commandant in the U. S. Navy, and they lived in the first Ormsby homestead on a tract of land between South 21st and South 24th streets, distinguished by its large pillars at the entrance.[3][4][5][6]:42

Other South Side streets are named after Oliver Ormsby's other daughters: Sidney Street, Sarah Street, Jane Street, and Mary Street. See Ormsby Street for more about the Ormsby family.

Some sources confuse the familial relationships. Some say that Josephine Street was named for a daughter of John Ormsby,[7][8] but John had no daughter named Josephine.[4][6]:19 Another says Josephine was the daughter of Dr. Nathaniel Bedford, a son-in-law of John Ormsby who laid out the village of Birmingham,[9] but Josephine Blakeney Ormsby was the first Josephine in the Ormsby family, and she was born five years after Dr. Bedford's death.[6]:42

The portion of Josephine Street from South 27th Street to Arlington Avenue was originally considered part of Arlington Avenue. It was made part of Josephine Street by a city ordinance in 1933.[10]


  1. Ruth Ayers. "Do you know this place—?: Ormsby estate on South Side now cluttered with tenements: Old mansion now only part of overcrowded district: Horses once raced where children romp and play now." Pittsburgh Press, Aug. 16, 1934, p. 21. 146695755. [view source]ayers-do-you-know
  2. Flashbacks. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Feb. 21, 1933, p. 8. 90310579. [view source]flashbacks
  3. Stuart P. Boehmig. Pittsburgh's South Side, p. 8. Images of America. Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, S. C., 2006, ISBN 978-0-7385-3939-3. LCCN 2005932359. [view source]boehmig
  4. 4.0 4.1 Walter T. Kamprad. "John Ormsby, Pittsburgh's original citizen." Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, vol. 23, no. 4, Dec. 1940, pp. 203–222. [view source]kamprad
  5. Annie Clark Miller. "Old houses and estates in Pittsburgh." Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, vol. 9, no. 3, July 1926, pp. 129–168. [view source]old-houses
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Oliver Ormsby Page. A Short Account of the Family of Ormsby of Pittsburgh. Joel Munsell's Sons, Albany, N. Y., 1892. Internet Archive ashortaccountfa00pagegoog, shortaccountoffa00page; [view source]ormsby
  7. Laura C. Frey. The Land in the Fork: Pittsburgh 1753–1914, p. 14. Dorrance & Co., Philadelphia, 1955. LCCN 55-10986. [view source]frey
  8. Chris Potter. "My husband recently got a job on the South Side, and we noticed there are a lot of streets named after women. How come?" You Had to Ask. Pittsburgh City Paper, Dec. 29, 2005. [view source]south-side-women
  9. Franklin Toker. Pittsburgh: A new portrait, p. 160. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8229-4371-6. LCCN 2009022903. [view source]toker-new
  10. "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