Notes:Oakland Avenue

From Pittsburgh Streets

Source:Miller, pp. 48–49:

On Fifth Avenue, adjoining Soho, is Oakland. In 1845 this was a large tract of land known as the Chadwick farm, which adjoined the Schenley farm about where the present street railway power house now stands, between Atwood and Oakland Avenues. The Chadwick mansion house was on the hill where the Academy of the Sisters of Mercy now is.

Some ten or twelve country seats were built on the property, and the neighborhood became known as the "Third Church Colony" because most of the owners were members of the Third Presbyterian Church. William Eichbaum, (son of William Peter Eichbaum called by an early writer an "ingenious German, and former glass cutter to Louis XVI, King of France"), was brought to Pittsburgh in 1796 to erect and take charge of the first glass plant west of the Mountains. He purchased property for a home, near the Third Church Colony, built a colonial house of brick from a deserted barn and coated the bricks with Roman cement. The house in recent years was known as the Moorhead mansion, and still later the Kindergarten College, on Fifth Avenue. Eichbaum means "oak tree," and the trees on his land being oak trees, Mr. Eichbaum called his place "Oakland." Some years later Charles B. Taylor bought the Chadwick Farms, laid out a plan of lots, and bestowed upon his plan the name "Oakland." The entire district soon became known as Oakland.

Source:Frey, p. 71: "In 1799, [James] O'Hara presented the First Presbyterian Church with a cut glass chandelier, probably executed by William Eichbaum. Presented, as O'Hara said, 'of a glowing desire to promote the lustre of this enlightened society', it was fitted with 100 sperm candles and was quite a town attraction at lighting time. Later Oakland received its name from the estate of William Eichbaum, whose name in German means 'oak tree.' It was located where Montefiore Hospital stands to-day."

Source:Kidney, p. 11:

First, the name will be discussed. An early settler, William Eichbaum (whose surname translates to "oaktree" in German), evidently did not give this early suburb its name; the moniker had already been applied to the area by 1839, a year before Eichbaum settled there.

As to how and why Oakland was developed: descendants of William Penn had a large "manor" in Western Pennsylvania, which included a large part of the present-day Oakland. Some of this was sold in 1787 to Robert Neill (whose log house is still in Oakland's Schenley Park), and some to Edward Smith in 1791. The two sold land to Gen. John O'Hara, who left it to his daughter Mary. She married William Croghan and they had a daughter, also named Mary, who was born in 1826. This second Mary, 16 years old and attending a girls' school on Staten Island, met and married Capt. Edward Schenley, 40 years old and twice widowed. The couple settled in England, though they returned occasionally. After 1880 the Schenleys had complete control of the Croghan and O'Hara holdings. Mary preferred to lease rather than sell or improve the land, and it remained remarkably undeveloped in the midst of increasing urban density as the end of the century approached.

To the west of the Schenley land, Edward Smith sold land to Charles Taylor, who in 1836 subdivided his land as "country estates." Several members of the new Third Presbyterian Church downtown bought lands for villas: enough of them that this section, some two miles from the smoke and clamor of town, was once called the Third Church Colony.

South of the Third Church Colony, Edward Craft (or Crafts) developed a large area that became known as Linden Grove. This was a disorganized, gradual assemblage of large, closely spaced houses and row houses that developed bit by bit throughout the first quarter of the 20th century.

East of the Schenley land was a farm called Bellefield, the property of the early newspaper publisher and historian Neville B. Craig. Edward Dithridge bought much of the Craig estate in 1851 and laid out an area of small lots that he called East Pittsburgh. His layout survives on both sides of South Craig Street.

At first Oakland was part of Pitt Township, but was annexed to Pittsburgh in 1868. Communications between Oakland and downtown Pittsburgh, two miles to the west, and East Liberty, two miles to the east and north, affected development as those areas prospered. In 1859 a horsecar line started to run between downtown and East Liberty by way of Fifth Avenue. This was replaced in 1888 by cable cars, which ran until 1896, when the Fifth Avenue line went electric.

Source:Regan, pp. 44, 46:

Oakland was originally known as the "Third Church Colony" as so many residents were member of the Third Presbyterian Church. It now has four sections: north, central, south, and west. The origin of the name has been disputed. One source states that it received its name from the farm of one of the earliest settlers, William Eichbaum, whose property had many oak trees. However, this may be apocryphal as eichbaum translates into oak tree and he may have moved here after the area was named.

The more likely source is a treed farm owned by an earlier settler, Benjamin Fahenstock [sic]. The northern part of Oakland was known as Bellefield and the southern part as Linden Grove. Bellefield was the name of Neville Craig's farm which he named in honor of his wife Isabelle. Linden Grove originated from a pleasure grove in Civil War days, and was the site of Camp Howe, a training camp for recruits.

Third Church Colony: Source:Miller-chronicles, pp. 115–119