Penn Avenue

From Pittsburgh Streets
Not to be confused with Pennsylvania Avenue.
Penn Avenue
Neighborhoods Bloomfield, Central Business District, Central Lawrenceville, East Liberty, Friendship, Garfield, Lower Lawrenceville, Point Breeze, Point Breeze North, Shadyside, Strip District
Origin of name William Penn, or John Penn and John Penn, Jr.
Wikipedia Penn Avenue
Penn Street (1764–1869)
Origin of name William Penn, or John Penn and John Penn, Jr.

A sketch of Penn Avenue (labeled just "Penn") appears in the margin of John Campbell's plan of lots in 1764, leading east-northeast from Fort Pitt, just six years after the British captured the Point from the French.[1] It was fully incorporated into the street grid twenty years later when George Woods laid out the first town plat; Woods named it Penn Street.[2] It is named for William Penn (1644–1718), founder of Pennsylvania,[3][4][5][6][7][8][9] or for the later John Penn (1729–1795) and John Penn, Jr. (1760–1834), proprietors of Pennsylvania and holders of a manor that included the original city of Pittsburgh.[10] Penn Street and the Greensburg Pike together became Penn Avenue in 1869.[11]


  1. John Campbell. Plan of Lots in Pittsburgh—1764. 1764. Reproduced in William G. Johnston, Life and Reminiscences from Birth to Manhood of Wm. G. Johnston, Knickerbocker Press, New York, 1901 (Google Books N-QEAAAAYAAJ; Historic Pittsburgh 00adj9508m; Internet Archive lifereminiscence00john); in George T. Fleming, "Flem's" Views of Old Pittsburgh: A portfolio of the past precious with memories, p. 5, Geo. T. Fleming, Pittsburgh, 1905 (HathiTrust 011204797, 100770599; Historic Pittsburgh 31735056290277; Internet Archive flemsviewsofoldp00flem; LCCN 08028848); in George T. Fleming, "History told in Pittsburgh street names: Some commemorative designations have been lost, but others are still in use to recall the story of their selection: Haphazard municipal nomenclature," Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Nov. 29, 1914, fifth section, p. 2 ( 85906737); in George T. Fleming, "History from an old map: Masson's map of Pittsburgh, 1805, further considered—Campbell's plan of 1764, Woods and Vickroy's complete plan of 1784—the old military plan unwillingly retained—Vickroy's deposition quoted: Pioneer names enumerated as lot owners; Historic characters recalled by names on Masson's plan—explanation of numbering of lots and some mention of freeholders—Imlay's topographical description of 1793," Pittsburgh Gazette Times, July 16, 1922, second section, p. 2 ( 85913850); in George T. Fleming, Fleming's Views of Old Pittsburgh: A portfolio of the past, p. 10, Crescent Press, Pittsburgh, 1932; in George Swetnam, "Ferry Street historic, one of oldest in city: Backward switch gives recognition to man undeserving of honor," Pittsburgh Press, Nov. 25, 1954, p. 16 ( 149015965); in Bruce J. Buvinger, The Origin, Development and Persistence of Street Patterns in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, p. 21; and in Bob Regan, The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names, p. 57, The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5. This map is often called the "military plan of Pittsburgh." [view source]campbell
  2. George Woods. A Draught of the Town Plat of Pittsburgh, Surveyed for John Penn, Jr., and John Penn, by George Woods, May 31st 1784. 1784. Reproduced as "Original plan of Pittsburgh" in plate 19 of Atlas of the Cities of Pittsburgh, Allegheny, and the Adjoining Boroughs, G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1872 (Historic Pittsburgh 1872p019). [view source]woods-plat
  3. Julia Morgan Harding. "Names of Pittsburgh streets: Their historical significance." Pittsburgh Bulletin, Feb. 15, 1893. Reprinted in Fort Duquesne and Fort Pitt: Early names of Pittsburgh streets, 13th ed., pp. 52–60, Fort Pitt Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, 1958 (HathiTrust 007074456). [view source]harding
  4. George T. Fleming, ed. Pittsburgh: How to see it: A complete, reliable guide book with illustrations, the latest map and complete index, p. 49. William G. Johnston Co., Pittsburgh, 1916. Google Books 02NAAAAAYAAJ; Internet Archive bub_gb_02NAAAAAYAAJ, pittsburghhowtos01flem. [view source]how-to-see-it
  5. Gilbert Love. "What's in a name? A lot!: Titles of city streets recall persons famed in U. S. history: From Golden Triangle eastward, thoroughfares list great and near great of colonial and revolutionary days." Pittsburgh Press, Feb. 12, 1944, p. 9. 147946752. [view source]love-titles
  6. Margaret Carlin. "How our streets got their names." Pittsburgh Press, Feb. 6, 1966, Pittsburgh's Family Magazine, p. 10. 149098376. [view source]carlin
  7. James K. DeLaney. "Spectres of past haunt Pittsburgh's corner signposts: Street names 'pennants of tribute.'" Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mar. 30, 1967, [p. 41]. 88235360. [view source]delaney
  8. Joe Browne. "Streets are index of local history." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sept. 28, 1983, p. 37. 89790718. [view source]browne-streets
  9. Bob Regan. The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names, p. 72. The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5. [view source]regan
  10. George T. Fleming. "History recalled by street names: Stanwix brings to mind many important happenings in the early days of the Western Pennsylvania settlement." Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Dec. 6, 1914, second section, p. 8. 85907599. [view source]fleming-history-recalled
  11. "An ordinance changing the names of Wylie street, Wylie street extension and Duncan street, and Greensburg Pike and Penn street." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1869. Passed Oct. 25, 1869. Reprinted in the Pittsburgh Commercial, Oct. 27, 1869, [p. 4] ( 85541004); and in the Pittsburgh Gazette, Oct. 29, 1869, [p. 4] ( 86354987). [view source]ordinance-1869-wylie-penn