From Pittsburgh Streets
Pittsburgh Today Made Up of Many Villages
City a Composite of 25 to 30 Municipalities Whose Separate Identities Meant Much Years Ago

Ever hear of Pipetown? Temperanceville? Coal Hill? Spiketown?

They're all in Pittsburgh, but an expanding metropolis has swallowed them up and time has virtually erased their borders.

Numerous other localities, steeped in district history, still retain a real but increasingly hazy identity.

Pipetown was in the general Triangle area along the Monongahela River, near the present site of Duquesne University. It was so named because a William Price manufactured clay pipe there; hence "Pipetown."

No Liquor on Premises

Temperanceville, now the West End, was founded by I. B. Warden on the site of two old mills.

He stipulated by deed that there was to be no sale whatever of liquor on the premises. Penalty for violation of this clause was forfeit of title to the land.

But there was little effort to enforce the restriction, and its purpose was lost in the long, deep draught of history. In 1874 it became part of Pittsburgh.

Coal Hill is the pre-Civil War name of Mt. Washington. It was once an incipient "volcano."

A Colonial document of 1776 describes a "fire raging" in the pit from which coal was mined for use in the Fort at the Point. There was considerable local speculation on whether there was a volcano in the making.

Spiketown was a name with point in more than one direction. About 1868, Joseph Keeling, father of Joseph Keeling of Keeling and Ridge, Southside contractors, sold a plan of lots on Brownsville Road in Carrick to a group of coal miners.

In building houses, Keeling used large spikes, instead of wooden doweling pins, to put the joists together. One day while leaving nearby Birmingham with a load of spikes, he was asked where he was going. "Oh, I'm going out to Spiketown," said he.

The historian adds: "And ever afterwards the place was dubbed thus."

Divisions Multiplied

Greater Pittsburgh, the city of today, is a composite of some 25 to 30 former villages, boroughs, and municipal divisions whose separate identity originally has some history or traditional interest. Often there were localities within these groupings which had particular identity for themselves and neighboring communities.

From the Point, long before it became part of the "Golden Triangle," along the Allegheny River nestled Bayardstown. George A. Bayard laid out the village streets, extending from about 15th to 32nd Street, and gave the townlet his name.

Next came Lawrenceville, which might have become Fosterville, after the father of the famed composer, Stephen C. Foster. The elder Foster (William D.) was in charge of the Arsenal adjacent to the site which now holds a city health center and school.

Lawrence's Dying Words

William Foster had intended to name the town after his family, but chose instead to memoralize [sic] the gallant naval hero of the War of 1812, Captain James Lawrence, whose dying words—"Don't Give Up the Ship"—were part of the seal of the borough.

Lawrenceville extended from what is still remembered as the "Forks of the Road," at Penn Avenue and Butler Street, the Allegheny River, out to 50th Street.

Bloomfield, adjacent to Lawrenceville, was never incorporated as a borough, but was a distinct and well-known settlement bounded by Penn Avenue and Junction Hollow. It got its name most probably from the swaying fields of lovely blooming wild flowers round about.

Beyond Bloomfield was East Liberty, which grew up at the junction of several well-used roads. In 1840 a local writer described it as: "A post town pleasantly situated in a beautiful level plain five miles east of Pittsburgh on the Philadelphia Pike, with a moral and industrial population of about 1,000 souls."

For Home of Statesman

Point Breeze, junction of Penn and Fifth Avenues, took its name from an old tavern located at the cross roads, then known as Greensburg Pike and Fourth Street Road.

Homewood, which adjoins Point Breeze, took its name from the stately country place of the Honorable William Wilkins, U. S. Judge, General, Congressman, Senator, Minister to Russia, Secretary of War.

Brushton got its name from an old resident, Jared M. Brush, one of Pittsburgh's early mayors.

Back at the Point and going east along the Monongahela, there was (and is) Soho, named by an Englishman whose early home was in the Soho district of Birmingham, Soho, extending from about Dinwiddie nearly to Craft Avenue, was never incorporated as a borough.

In Horse Car Days

On icy mornings horse cars traversing the "Soho Dip" were always good for some local excitement as they slipped, often being derailed into the nearby ravine.

Along the river beyond Soho are Hazelwood and Glenwood, one named for the type of tree growth in the area, the other by the character of ground formation.

On Fifth Avenue, adjacent to Soho, is Oakland. Annexed to Pittsburgh in 1868, Oakland got its name from William Eichbaum, brought here in 1796 to take charge of the first glass plant west of the Alleghenies.

Founded by Eichbaum

Eichbaum means "oak tree" and there was a profusion of oaks on the land. Eichbaum therefore called the place "Oakland." In 1845 it was the Chadwick farm, but when the section was laid out in lots it was all called Oakland.

Oakland was a "day's horse and buggy ride to Pittsburgh and return"—not unlike today's shopping tours.

"Herron's" Hill and Avenue take their name from the land owner and pioneer family. Herron Hill is the second highest point in the city. (Mt. Washington is not the highest. Brashear reservoir at the head of Montana Street, Northside, is the highest point.)

Schenley Farms is the residential development of the farm property of the Schenley estate.

Origin of Bellefield

Bellefield, connecting Oakland, Schenley Farms, and Shadyside, was never incorporated. The original farm extended from the present Carnegie Institute to what is now Centre Avenue and east to what is now Neville Street.

This farm was bought by Neville B. Craig, who named it Bellefield in honor of his wife, Isabelle.

Shadyside, absorbed by Pittsburgh in 1868, was a farm inherited by Rachel Castleman Aiken, who married her cousin, Thomas Aiken. They named the pleasant farm Shadyside.

Squirrel Hill was wooded country "just far enough away from town for good hunting ground." Gray squirrels abounded there, scratching up the corn of nearby farmers, making nests in eaves of houses, and keeping folks up at night with squirrelly chatter.

Now to the Southside

On the south side of the city was Temperanceville, previously mentioned.

Duquesne Heights was named for the French governor of Canada, as was the old Fort and the still existing Duquesne Way.

Birmingham, next, was incorporated as a borough in 1826. Dr. Nathaniel Bedford, surgeon of the Fort Pitt garrison under General Forbes, was a native of the iron and glass metropolis of Birmingham, England, and transplanted the name to the new world.

Ormsby Borough, established in 1868, was named for John Ormsby, another officer under General Forbes in the French and Indian Wars.

Between Birmingham and the "Smith's Field Street" bridge was South Pittsburgh Borough in 1848; the area below was West Pittsburgh.

Four Northside Hills

On the Northside are four towering hills: Troy Hill, originally Mt. Troy; Nunnery Hill, from an old Catholic institution of the area, which was known for its profusion of flowers; Monument Hill, for the monument to soldiers and sailors atop it, and Spring Hill, named for the springs in the area.

Between these hills lay old "Alleghenytown." General William Robinson was called its founder, though his father was the man who built and operated the first ferry across the Allegheny River.

Lower part of Alleghenytown was known as Manchester. It is said the English name was chosen to offset Birmingham on the Pittsburgh side.

Banksville Founded in 1878

The West End's Banksville, nestling in the valley of Little Sawmill Run, was established in 1878. David and Agnes Carnahan, of Ireland, were the first settlers on 400 acres. A son, Alexander, named the town in honor of his wife, whose maiden name was Banks.

Knoxville, which became a borough in 1877 and part of Pittsburgh in 1927, received its name from the Reverend Jeremiah Knox, Methodist minister, who wed Sarah Beltzhoover, whose family originally owned the land.

Beltzhoover, formed from lower St. Clair Township and named for Melchior Beltzhoover, a blacksmith who was also associated with a glass works in Birmingham. It was annexed to the city in 1898.

Esplen was named for John Esplen, a riverman who built a house at the mouth of Sawmill Run, just past the Point.

Sheraden, which became a borough in 1902, was the Bailey farm purchased by Mr. and Mrs. William Sheraden. They donated a right of way to the "Pennsylvania Lines" on condition that a railroad station be built on the property and called Sheraden.

When Carrick Entered City

Carrick, called the "East End of South Side" grew up around historic Brownsville Road. It took its name from the postoffice there in 1853. Forty years later it was incorporated as a borough. In 1926 it came into Pittsburgh.

The "auld sod" helped Carrick to its name. Irish-born Dr. John H. O'Brien moved to Baldwin Township in 1846. When a postoffice name was sought he suggested, from sentiment, Carrick—for the town of Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary, Ireland.

Carrick existed as a separate community for 73 years before it joined the city.

And if you're standing in front of the Courthouse downtown sometime and a passerby asks the way to Grant's Hill, don't send him away.

Both of you would be standing on the historic spot where Major James Grant's force of British was defeated by attacking French and Indians. A DAR plaque commemorates Grant's Hill—though actually the city spent several millions in the early part of the century to cart most of the hill elsewhere.