Sixth Avenue

From Pittsburgh Streets
Sixth Avenue
Neighborhood Central Business District
Origin of name Sequential numbering from the Monongahela River
Sixth Street (1784–1868)
Origin of name Sequential numbering from the Monongahela River
High Street (ca. 1815 – 1874)

George Woods' original plan of Pittsburgh from 1784 included Sixth Street from Liberty Street (today's Liberty Avenue) to Grant Street.[1] It was renamed Sixth Avenue by a city ordinance in 1868, which transferred the name Sixth Street to a street originally known as St. Clair Street; this is today's Sixth Street.[2]

East of Grant Street, Sixth Avenue is a connector to Fifth Avenue and Forbes Avenue. This segment of Sixth Avenue was originally named High Street. It appears, unlabeled, in William Darby's 1815 map of Pittsburgh[3] and is labeled "High St." in the 1830 map of Jean Barbeau and Lewis Keyon.[4] It became part of Sixth Avenue in 1874.[5][6][7] The idea to make High Street part of Sixth Avenue was proposed as early as 1871 as part of a larger vision to build a suspension bridge across the Allegheny River between Sandusky Street and Seventh Street. Southbound traffic could then travel along Sixth Avenue via the extension (High Street) to Fifth Avenue and the eastern wards of the city.[8] This route was completed when the Seventh Street Bridge was built in 1884.[9][10][11]

High Street, and hence Sixth Avenue, was originally a straight line from its intersection with Grant Street to its intersection with the road that became today's Diamond Street.[12] It was rerouted to its present curved path in 1981 as part of the development of the Grant Street East project. This project, part of Mayor Richard Caliguiri's Renaissance II, included the construction of a 54-story skyscraper (today BNY Mellon Center) and the Steel Plaza subway station. The new street configuration, which eliminated Tunnel Street and the original Court Place and extended Ross Street north of Fifth Avenue, was designed to simplify intersections, reduce odd-shaped blocks, and improve traffic flow.[13][14][15][16][17][18]

In a 2009 newspaper column about city council members who have streets named after them, Brian O'Neill joked: "It would be a more memorable column if there were someone named, say, Jeremiah Horatio Sixth, who brought forth Pittsburgh's first oversized, deep-fried fish sandwich and for whom a grateful city named Sixth Street, Sixth Avenue and the Sixth Street Bridge."[19]

See also


  1. 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
  2. "An ordinance changing the names of streets." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1868. Passed Aug. 31, 1868. In The Municipal Record: Containing the proceedings of the Select and Common Councils of the City of Pittsburgh: 1868, Pittsburgh Daily Commercial, Pittsburgh (Internet Archive pghmunicipalrecord1868_20200904_2014). Reprinted in the Pittsburgh Gazette, Sept. 2, 1868, p. 5 ( 86347563), Sept. 3, p. 3 ( 86347623), and Sept. 4, p. 3 ( 86347714). [view source]ordinance-1868-name-changes
  3. Wm. Darby. Plan of Pittsburg and Adjacent Country. R. Patterson and W. Darby, Philadelphia, 1815. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0197, DARMAP0198. Reproduced in John W. Reps, The Making of Urban America: A history of city planning in the United States, p. 207, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N. J., 1965 (LCCN 63023414); and in Bruce J. Buvinger, The Origin, Development and Persistence of Street Patterns in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, p. 24. Also reproduced as "Plan von Pittsburg und Umgebungen" in Bernhard, Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (Heinrich Luden, ed.), Reise Sr. Hoheit des Herzogs Bernhard zu Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach durch Nord-Amerika in den Jahren 1825 und 1826, vol. II, following p. 200, Wilhelm Hoffmann, Weimar, 1828 (Internet Archive reisesrhoheitdes00bern, reisesrhoheitdes00inbern). [view source]darby
  4. Jean Barbeau and Lewis Keyon. Map of Pittsburgh and Its Environs. N. B. Molineux, Pittsburgh, 1830. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0576; [view source]barbeau
  5. "City councils: Yesterday's meeting—Second avenue grade—street improvements—disposition of petitions, resolutions, ordinances, etc." Daily Post (Pittsburgh), Oct. 20, 1874, [p. 4]. 87628522. [view source]city-councils
  6. "Council proceedings: Resolutions, petitions and ordinances." Pittsburgh Commercial, Oct. 20, 1874, [p. 4]. 85640031. [view source]council-proceedings
  7. "An ordinance changing the name of High street from Grant street to Old avenue to Sixth avenue." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1874, no. 204. Passed Oct. 19, 1874; approved Oct. 22, 1874. Ordinance Book 3, p. 518. In The Municipal Record: Containing the proceedings of the Select and Common Councils of the City of Pittsburgh, together with the ordinances, &c.: With an index, vol. VII, p. 98, Pittsburgh Daily Gazette, Pittsburgh, 1874 (Internet Archive pghmunicipalrecord1874, pghmunicipalrecord1872). [view source]ordinance-1874-204
  8. "$500,000 in bonds wanted: Important scheme afoot—proposition to build a free bridge across the Allegheny—Sixth avenue to rival Fifth—will the city act as generously as in the case of the Penn avenue improvement—great advantages to property, &c." Pittsburgh Gazette, Jan. 9, 1871, p. 1. 85589437. [view source]500k-in-bonds
  9. Daniel J. Burns and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh's Rivers, p. 45. Images of America. Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, S. C., 2006, ISBN 978-0-7385-4514-1. LCCN 2006921821. [view source]burns
  10. ASCE Pittsburgh Section 100th Anniversary Publication Committee. Engineering Pittsburgh: A history of roads, rails, canals, bridges & more, p. 98. History Press, Charleston, S. C., 2018, ISBN 978-1-5402-3599-2. LCCN 2018942435. [view source]engineering
  11. Todd Wilson and Helen Wilson. Pittsburgh's Bridges, p. 28. Images of America. Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, S. C., 2015, ISBN 978-1-4671-3424-8. LCCN 2015949613. [view source]wilson-wilson
  12. 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
  13. "6th Avenue extension opened." Pittsburgh Press, Sept. 17, 1981, p. A-5. 146768012. [view source]6th-ave-ext-opened
  14. Ken Fisher. "Section of 6th Avenue to open today." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sept. 17, 1981, p. 24. 91133622. [view source]fisher
  15. Carl Morris. "Grant Street project agreement clears way for construction." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Oct. 16, 1980, p. 4. 88792311. [view source]grant-agreement
  16. Carl Morris. "Grant St. project wins test." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Oct. 23, 1980, pp. 1, 10. 88792554, 88792563. [view source]grant-wins-test
  17. David Nilsson. "Council OKs redesign of Grant St. traffic." Pittsburgh Press, Oct. 22, 1980, p. A-2. 146936107. [view source]nilsson
  18. "Paving the way." Pittsburgh Press, Oct. 23, 1980, p. A-16. 146938162. [view source]paving-the-way
  19. Brian O'Neill. "In the good ol' days, Pittsburgh Council had 108 guys. (OK, not so good.)" Around Town. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug. 4, 2009, p. A-2. 96487666; [view source]oneill