The suggestion of The Press that the name of Virgin alley be changed to Oliver avenue, in honor of the late Henry W. Oliver, meets with a cordial reception on the part of the public that not only gratifies The Press but that affords a pleasant testimony of the high degree of respect in which Mr. Oliver was widely held. The alley, as it used to be, is now being converted into a wide street, opening up a practically new thoroughfare in the busiest section of the downtown district and running through property upon which stand some of the city's costliest and handsomest improvements. It is no longer an alley, but is rapidly assuming the dignity and importance of streets like Fourth, Fifth and Sixth avenues, which it parallels. It appears to be the general sense, under the circumstances, that it should be rechristened, and what better name could be bestowed upon it than that of the splendidly typical and representative business man who owned the larger part of the property along its length and who is universally given the credit for instituting and keeping alive the agitation that resulted in the passage of the widening ordinances?
The Press last evening not only published a large number of interviews with influential businessmen expressing hearty approval of the proposed new name, but told the story of the transformation of the alley into a full-fledged thoroughfare. Many who have read that story will confess some surprise at the almost infinite pains Mr. Oliver took to carry out this pet project. He realized that the traffic congestion on down town streets imperatively demanded just such improvements as the widening of this and other twenty and thirty foot lanes, and yet he encountered much opposition from property owners bent on some private end. In every such case, where the opposition threatened to defeat the improvement, he bought the property, adding it to his already large realty accumulations, and in this way spending hundreds of thousands of dollars which were in no sense voluntary investments with him, but which he assumed in full assurance that they would in the end be profitable not only to him but to the entire city, and particularly to all down town businessmen and realty owners.
The new thoroughfare is therefore in a peculiar sense his creation, and even had he not been for more than a generation a leading and public-spirited citizen of Pittsburg, the giving of his name to the new avenue would be a graceful, appropriate, and popular act, perpetuating the memory of one who was in his day and generation a noteworthy figure among his fellow men and who contributed his full share to the ceaseless development and upbuilding of our busy community. In view, therefore, both of his general prominence and of his special exertions and special outlay in connection with the securing of the thoroughfare, it would seem as if the suggestion should assume extra emphasis.
The city councils have already placed upon the city minutes the expression of their esteem for Mr. Oliver, and as the substitution of Oliver street or Oliver avenue for Virgin alley would be along the same line The Press anticipates that an ordinance embodying the amendment of title will win the approval of councils with little or no opposition.