From Pittsburgh Streets

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.

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

Last of Two Articles.

Although modern Pittsburgh avoids naming its streets for prominent persons, nearly everyone who played a leading role in the city's early history has a street named in his honor.

In fact, if you go straight east from the Golden Triangle to the city line, you will come across street names which will outline the story of Pittsburgh's first years, when the struggle between France and England for this area determined the future of America.

One of the first you will encounter is Washington Place; which is appropriate, since Washington was practically the Father of Pittsburgh, as well of Father of his Country.

When he first came here in 1753, there were a few white settlers in the district, but the present heart of Pittsburgh was uninhabited forest and swamp. He inspected the triangle of land between the rivers and noted it would be a good place for a fort.

Sent by Gov. Dinwiddie

Washington was on his way to Fort LeBoeuf, now Erie, to warn the French there not to try to come any farther south. He had been sent by Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia, for whom a street in the Uptown section is named.

Other street names that recall Washington's historic journey and subsequent events are—

Gist St.—named for Christopher Gist, frontiersman who accompanied Washington.

Allequippa St.—the regal Queen of the Delaware Indians, who held court at the site of McKeesport and received Washington there.

Frazier St.—for John Frazier, or Fraser, who had a trading post at the mouth of Turtle Creek. Washington went to Frazier's post after falling into the Allegheny River on the return trip from Fort LeBoeuf.

Joumonville [sic] Killed

Ward St.—for Ensign Edward Ward, in charge of the little fort built by the English on the lower Triangle in 1754. The French descended the Allegheny River, 500 strong. Ensign Ward had only 41 men behind a flimsy stockade, so he surrended [sic].

Jumonville St.—For coulon [sic] de Jumonville, young French officer in charge of a patrol that skirmished with reinforcements being hurried here under Washington's command. Jumonville was killed.

Devilliers St.—for Coulon de Villiers, brother of Jumonville, who led a large French force that cornered Washington's Virginians and South Carolinians in a stockade they had hastily built and called Fort Necessity. Washington finally had to surrender.

Van Braam St.—for a Dutchman in Washington's force who claimed to understand French, but let Washington sign a treaty which admitted that the Americans had assassinated Jumonville.

Braddock's Defeat

Braddock Ave.—For Gen. Edward Braddock, commander of the British and American expedition which was to drive out the French. Every school child knows what happened when the French and Indians ambushed the redcoats on the site of modern Braddock.

Forbes St.—for Gen. John Forbes, sent from England in 1758 to head an even more ambitious attempt to dislodge the French. He made thorough preparations, took more advice from Washington and other provincials, and succeeded.

Boquet—for Henry Boquet, one of Forbes' officers who later was in command of Fort Pitt.

Originally, all downtown streets were named for early leaders and heroes of the Revolution. Numbers have been substituted for most of the names, but a few remain.

Grant's Party Slaughtered

Stanwix St. honors Gen. John Stanwix, who came here in 1759 to direct the building of a permanent stronghold for the British.

Grant St. was named for Maj. James Grant, hot-headed officer in Forbes' army who, in charge of a skirmishing party, decided to attack the French before the main body of British troops arrived. He lost 270 men, and the place of the slaughter became known as Grant's Hill.

Duquesne Way was named for the fort the French built here. The fort was named for the Marquis Duquesne, governor of Canada.

Smithfield St. was named for Devereaux Smith, whose fields adjoined it.

Wood St. honors George Woods, surveyor who laid out the streets in the Triangle.

Ross St. was so called because it went through the apple orchard of James Ross, an early U. S. Senator.

First Landowners Honored

Penn Ave., formerly Penn St., was named for William Penn.

Craig St. in Oakland got its name from Isaac Craig, an officer of the Revolution and one of early Pittsburgh's most prominent citizens. With Stephen Bayard, whose name adorns an intersecting street, he bought the first land here from the Penns.

Neville St. bears the name of Gen. John Neville, an officer in the Revolution whose home was burned by a mob during the Whisky Insurrection.

All the streets are not named for heroes, by any means. Semple St. Oakland, gets its name from that of one of Pittsburgh's early tavern proprietors, and Shingiss St., Uptown, is named for a Delaware Indian for whose scalp the colony of Pennsylvania offered a reward of $1000.

Dr. Nathaniel Bedford was surgeon at Fort Pitt and burgess of Pittsburgh in 1806. The important Hill District street is named for him.

Butler an Indian Agent

James S. Craft led the "Third Church Colonists" to Oakland, which was then a day's journey from Pittsburgh, and a street there was named for him.

Butler St. honors Major Richard Butler, an Indian agent at Fort Pitt in 1776.

Kirkpatrick St. got its name from Maj. Abraham Kirkpatrick, commissioner general of the Western Army during the Whisky Insurrection.

Negley Ave. was named for Jacob Negley, who owned most of East Liberty. Highland Ave. was named, more or less, for James Hiland, who surveyed the Negley holdings and divided them into eight shares for Jacob Negley's children.

Murray Ave. was named for Magnus M. Murray, fourth mayor of Pittsburgh.

Two Generals Honored

On the North Side, General Robinson St. has the name of the first mayor of the old City of Allegheny, Gen. William Robinson. He also was the first white child born in Allegheny.

Rev. Joseph Stockton, who organized the First Presbyterian Church of Allegheny, was honored when Stockton Ave. was named.

Larimer Ave., East Liberty, bears the name of one of early Pittsburgh's most colorful characters, Gen. William Larimer. He owned a Conestoga wagon line bewteen [sic] here and Philadelphia, but went broke during the depression of 1854–58 and moved to Colorado. He helped to found Denver, and a street there also was named for him.

After the Civil War, the names of prominent Union generals were given to several East End streets—Thomas, Meade, McPherson, Grant, Sherman, Sheridan. And of course Lincoln Ave. was named for the great Emancipator.

Battle Names Chosen

Battlegrounds in the Civil War furnished the names for other streets—Antietam, Gettysburg, Natchez, Fair Oaks, Atlanta, Richmond and Petersburg.

The war with Mexico provided the city with a few Spanish street names—Palo Alto, Monterey, Buena Vista, Resaca.

While the city was at the height of naming streets for famous persons and places, an Indian maiden named Cuba-You-Quit came here from the West to collect some money she claimed was owed her. She went to court and there was considerable interest in the case. So the city got a Cuba-You-Quit Way.