North Commons

From Pittsburgh Streets
North Commons
Neighborhood Allegheny Center
Origin of name North Common
North Alley (1788–1884)
Erie Street (1884–1967)

This street was originally North Alley, 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 Federal Street, Ohio Street, Sandusky Street, and Beaver Street (now West Commons); and the names of five other alleys and two lanes. The names were given by a committee consisting of "Mr. Woods, Mr. Redick and Mr. Dennison."[1] North Alley appears in the 1788 map of the "Reserve Tract of Land Opposite Pittsburgh" (as the North Side was originally called).[2]

North Alley was renamed Erie Street in 1884.[3] Erie Street was split into "Erie Street, East," and "Erie Street, West," divided by Federal Street, in 1899 when all the houses in Allegheny were renumbered systematically.[4][5]

Erie Street became North Commons in 1967 when the "Allegheny Center Loop" was opened (consisting of North Commons, West Commons, South Commons, and East Commons).[6][7][8][9] The name recalls the North Common, part of the open pasture that surrounded the original town of Allegheny.[10][11][12] Today the old North Common is the part of Allegheny Commons Park between North Commons and North Avenue.


  1. "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. 142120163. [view source]old-state-body
  2. Reserve Tract of Land Opposite Pittsburgh. L. J. Richards & Co., 1863. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0084. Reprinted in Dan Rooney and Carol Peterson, Allegheny City: A history of Pittsburgh's North Side, pp. 2–3, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, 2013, ISBN 978-0-8229-4422-5 (LCCN 2012047727). A variation entitled City of Allegheny 100 Years Ago is reprinted in Walter C. Kidney and Arthur P. Ziegler, Jr., Allegheny, p. 2, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, 1975 (LCCN 75-43276), and in Allegheny City Society, Allegheny City, 1840–1907, pp. 10–11, Images of America, Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, S. C., 2007, ISBN 978-0-7385-5500-3 (LCCN 2007927944). [view source]reserve-tract
  3. "An ordinance changing the name of North alley, from Union to Sherman avenues, to Erie street." Allegheny city ordinance, 1884, no. 1. Passed May 12, 1884; approved May 13, 1884. Reprinted in the Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, May 15, 1884, p. 3 ( 85448697). [view source]ordinance-1884-1
  4. "An ordinance authorizing the Superintendent of the Bureau of Engineering and Surveys to prepare a plan for the renumbering of all houses and lots in the City of Allegheny, Pa." Allegheny city ordinance, 1896, no. 155. Passed Nov. 19, 1896; approved Nov. 21, 1896. In City of Allegheny, Municipal Reports for the Fiscal Year Ending February 28th, 1897: 1896–'97, pp. 1119–1120, Derrick Publishing Company, Oil City, Penna., 1897 (Historic Pittsburgh 31735056290764). Reprinted in the Pittsburg Press, Nov. 24, 1896, p. 12 ( 141580237), Nov. 25, p. 11 ( 141580248), and Nov. 27, p. 11 ( 141580260); and in the Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, Nov. 27, 1896, p. 3 ( 85437316), and Nov. 28, p. 6 ( 85437345). [view source]ordinance-1896-155
  5. "Renumbering houses: Allegheny residents will be in temporary confusion: Plan for districting the city north, south, west and east has been adopted and is now being enforced—East and West Side system of numbering." Pittsburg Press, Feb. 4, 1899, p. 9. 141834825. [view source]renumbering-houses
  6. William M. Rimmel. Out of the Past. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 22, 1967, [p. 21]. 88351802. [view source]rimmel-commons
  7. "Uncommon confusion?: Allegheny 'Loop' opens in a week." Pittsburgh Press, Nov. 26, 1967, sec. 3, p. 7. 148899979. [view source]uncommon-confusion
  8. "Allegheny Commons Loop." Pittsburgh Press, Dec. 3, 1967, sec. 3, p. 8. 148954558. [view source]allegheny-commons-loop
  9. "1-way loop to surround N. S. center: All right turns to speed traffic effective today." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dec. 4, 1967, p. 26. 88155232. [view source]1-way-loop
  10. R. E. McGowin. Map of the Cities of Pittsburgh and Allegheny and of the Boroughs of South-Pittsburgh, Birmingham, East-Birmingham, Lawrenceville, Duquesne & Manchester etc. Schuchman & Haunlein, Pittsburgh, 1852. [view source]mcgowin-1852
  11. The Cities of Pittsburgh and Allegheny, with Parts of Adjacent Boroughs, Pennsylvania. 1855. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0089;; 1855 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps ( In George W. Colton, Colton's Atlas of the World: Illustrating physical and political geography, J. H. Colton & Co., New York, 1856 ( [view source]colton
  12. S. N. & F. W. Beers. Map of Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Smith, Gallup & Hewitt, Philadelphia, 1862. LCCN 2012592151; 1862 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps ( [view source]beers