Rainbow Street

From Pittsburgh Streets
Rainbow Street
Neighborhood Larimer
Rail Road Street (1865–1881)
Origin of name Its location alongside the Pennsylvania Railroad

The curved street connecting Fifth Avenue to the Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway at the East Liberty Garage, opposite McPherson Boulevard, is named Rainbow Street.[1]

The history of this street goes back to 1865, when A. J. Woolslayer laid out a plan of lots from Torrens Street to what is today Romley Way, between the tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad and today's Frankstown Avenue. This plan included a narrow street immediately alongside the railroad tracks named Rail Road Street,[2] also spelled Railroad Street.[3][4]

In 1881, a city ordinance was passed to establish the names of all streets in Pittsburgh and fix duplicates. Since the name of this street conflicted with Railroad Street in the Strip District, it was changed to Rainbow Street.[4] On most maps, this minor street was unlabeled or did not appear at all, but it is labeled in the 1924 Hopkins atlas.[5]

The modern Rainbow Street was constructed at some point between the early 1970s, when the Port Authority's East Liberty Division Garage was built,[6][7] and 1983, when the East Busway opened, using the street as a ramp to Fifth Avenue.[8][9][10][11] It apparently took the name of the old street on the other side of the railroad tracks.

See also


  1. City of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Department of City Planning, GIS Division. https://gis.pittsburghpa.gov/pghmap/. Linked from https://pittsburghpa.gov/innovation-performance/interactive-maps. [view source]pgh-city-planning-map
  2. "Plan of lots situate in East Liberty, Collins Township, Allegheny Co., Pa. surveyed and laid out for A. J. Woolslayer." Laid out Oct. 4, 1865; recorded Apr. 16, 1866, Plan Book 3, pp. 112–113. Allegheny County Recorder of Deeds 3778540. [view source]aj-woolslayer-plan
  3. "Real estate transfers." Pittsburgh Gazette, Apr. 6, 1868, p. 4. Newspapers.com 86346337. [view source]real-estate-transfers-1868-04-06
  4. 4.0 4.1 "An ordinance establishing the names of avenues, streets, lanes and alleys of the City of Pittsburgh." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1881, no. 33. Passed Feb. 28, 1881; approved Mar. 4, 1881. Ordinance Book 5, p. 212. In Municipal Record: Minutes of the proceedings of the Select and Common Councils of the City of Pittsburgh, for the year 1880, pp. 213–234 (Internet Archive pghmunicipalrecord1880). [view source]ordinance-1881-33
  5. Real Estate Plat-Book of the City of Pittsburgh, vol. 3, plate 32. G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1924. http://historicpittsburgh.org/maps-hopkins/1924-volume-3-plat-book-pittsburgh; included in the 1923 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps (https://esriurl.com/pittsburgh). [view source]hopkins-1924-vol-3
  6. "New PAT garage opens." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 8, 1972, p. 2. Newspapers.com 88853668. [view source]new-pat-garage
  7. "PAT to open E. Liberty garage." Pittsburgh Press, July 8, 1972, p. 2. Newspapers.com 149257780. [view source]pat-to-open
  8. "Homewood residents air stations for PAT busway." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mar. 9, 1977, p. 4. Newspapers.com 89369952. [view source]homewood-residents
  9. Ken Fisher. "East Busway project is on target." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 18, 1981, PG East, p. 3. Newspapers.com 89674258. [view source]fisher-east-busway-on-target
  10. Ken Fisher. "Work on East Busway is 90 percent complete." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sept. 25, 1982, p. 4. Newspapers.com 89842130, 89842293. [view source]fisher-east-busway-90-percent
  11. Ken Fisher. "East Busway opens Monday." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Feb. 17, 1983, PG East, pp. 1, 3. Newspapers.com 88800661, 88800663. [view source]fisher-east-busway-opens