Notes:Forbes Avenue

From Pittsburgh Streets

To do

  • Source:Keyon (1835) shows Washington Street for one block in the location of modern Forbes Avenue between Van Braam and Miltenberger.
  • "An ordinance for opening Forbes street, from Try street to Boyd street." Source:Ordinance-1868-forbes-from-try-to-boyd
  • Daily Post, 1874-02-26, p. 2 ( 87627738): "The Commissioners of Forbes Street insist upon opening that useless thoroughfare over an immense ravine and along a hillside from Murphy to Brady streets which is continually slipping and which no skill in engineering has yet been able to hold up. The expense of this worse than useless part of the avenue will about take the whole of the property between the above mentioned points and cost over one hundred thousand dollars more than to cross from Craft avenue to Fifth avenue intersecting at the top of Gazzam's hill but this would not suit the private purposes of some of the Commissioners."
  • Pittsburgh Daily Gazette, 1874-02-27, p. 2 ( 86344603): "Much dissatisfaction is felt at the attempt to extend Forbes street along the hillside, from Murphy to Brady street. It is generally believed that there is no need of the street, as Fifth avenue will be capable of accommodating all the travel that will come into it from Forbes street; and besides the const of the street between the points named will about absorb the value of the property along it."
  • Pittsburgh Daily Gazette, 1874-02-28, p. 2 ( 86344659): "Some large property owners along the line of Forbes street, explain to us, that the opposition to building the street from Murphy to Brady street, along the hill, does not come from them, but from property owners along Fifth avenue, and a few small lot owners on Forbes street. They claim that to take Forbes into Fifth avenue will, in a very short time, crowd the latter with more travel than it can accommodate, and that the other street must then be built at greatly increased expense. They prefer to meet the cost now, and be provided with a desirable street. We have, of course, no interest in the matter, and cheerfully reflect the views presented us. The property owners must pay the bill, and are entitled to their views."
  • Daily Post, 1874-05-05, p. 2 ( 87629073): "As was predicted, Fifth avenue is now on the move towards Second avenue in consequence of the cutting on Forbes Street on what is yet known as Gazzam's Hill, a short distance east of Soho. The slide is carrying with it the piles driven last year to hold the road bed. The building of Forbes street at the point mentioned is one of the most unnecessary and expensive jobs ever set up in this city for the benefit of the few at the cost of the many."
  • Daily Post, 1874-05-09, p. 2 ( 87629171): "Second Avenue, Forbes street or Fourth avenue, and Fifth avenue, in the Fourteenth ward are now suffering from a slide, which has given trouble for the last half century. There is a great mass of earth about five hundred feet in length, and the same in breadth, always in a spongy condition after the spring rains, now set in motion by cutting the heel at the Connellsville road and again by Forbes street. If retaining walls are built it will require to secure a foundation in several places a depth of about forty feet and the same in width, which will take several good stone quarries to supply. The Commissioners of the three avenues should meet and recommend the widening of Fifth avenue to eighty feet from Brady to Murphy street, and run Forbes into Fifth avenue and avoid the circuitous and expensive hillside route now in contemplation. It would save two hundred thousand dollars of expense and give at least one good avenue, instead of these two bad ones at the point named."
  • "Difficult street making," Pittsburgh Daily Gazette, 1874-05-12, p. 2 ( 86347785) is a longer column about the landslides. Two main theories about the cause: the Connellsville Railroad cut away the "heel" of the earth, and Forbes Street construction was a redevelopment of this; or that water (specifically underground springs) weakened the soil and caused it to slip.
  • Daily Post, 1874-07-14, p. 2 ( 88201696): "As predicted and confidently expected the roadway and intervening ground between Fifth avenue and Forbes Street on the upper portion of Soho hill has again commenced to slide and will carry down, perhaps six or seven dwellings. This has been caused by cutting on Forbes street, taking away the heel or support of the hillside. The poor people who have recently erected a number of frame houses at the above point will in all probability lose all they possess in the world; all this that a great job may be continued."
  • "The great storm," Pittsburgh Gazette, 1874-07-28, p. 1 ( 86350774): Flooding caused by heavy rains caused another landslide.
  • Daily Post, 1875-09-14, p. 2 ( 87617058): "We have had occasion frequently to remark that the greatest outrage in the way of an unnecessary expense ever perpetrated upon a long suffering and patient people is the cost of constructing Forbes street, from Craft avenue to Brady street. Walls nineteen feet thick and forty-seven feet high are being built to hold up a sliding hill. The cost of this short part of Forbes street will be about one-half the out-lay for the whole length of Fifth avenue, and when it is completed will never be used on account of the grade. The Commissioners seemed determined to force this work, which is nothing short of a crime, as it will confiscate a large amount of property to pay the assessment owned by laboring men. We have not lost confidence in our courts and we believe if proper steps were taken these commissioners could be restrained from any further prosecution of this unnecessary work. The cutting of Forbes street has caused a portion of Fifth avenue to give way obliging heavy walls also to be built to protect it. The commissioners on this latter avenue should have taken legal steps in the matter some time ago."
  • More griping in "Who cares for expenses," Daily Post, 1876-01-04, p. 2 ( 86510109), and "An expensive avenue," Daily Post, 1876-01-25, p. 2 ( 86510254).
  • Description of testimony in "The investigation," Pittsburgh Commercial, 1876-04-08, p. 4 ( 89553467), and "Municipal investigation," Daily Post, 1876-04-08, p. 4 ( 86510883); also articles in following days.
  • "The Forbes street pavement," Daily Post, 1876-07-22, p. 4 ( 88172002): "The heavily assessed property owners on the west end of Forbes street are confronted with another trouble now by reason of the hot weather. The asphalt pavement laid on the costly thoroughfare has been suddenly vested with locomotion power by old Sol's fierce rays, and in consequence is running into the ditches in a lively manner, as though ashamed to remain on the land of jobs. The good people of the street thought it was hard enough to pay double price for the improvement (?) and now that their costly boon is silently gliding away they do not take kindly to the terms 'contractor,' 'officials,' 'commissioner' and 'sich' like. But unreasonable people are determined to grumble."