Stanwix Street

From Pittsburgh Streets
See also Maple Terrace, which was formerly called Stanwix Street, and Second Street, originally Stanwix Alley, which was a different street a few blocks west, vacated in 1875.
Stanwix Street
Neighborhood Central Business District
Origin of name John Stanwix
Wikipedia Stanwix Street
Ferry Street (1764–1955)
Origin of name Ferry crossing of the Monongahela River
Pitt Street (1784–1868)
Origin of name William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham
Fifth Street (1868–1910)
Origin of name Sequential numbering up the Allegheny River

The part of Stanwix Street south of Liberty Avenue was originally called Ferry Street. The segment between Fort Pitt Boulevard and Third Avenue was one of the very first streets of Pittsburgh, laid out as part of John Campbell's "military plan" of 1764. The other streets in Campbell's plan were Water Street (today Fort Pitt Boulevard), First Street (today First Avenue), Second Street (today the Boulevard of the Allies), Third Street (today Third Avenue), Chancery Lane (today Chancery Way), and Market Street.[1][2][3]:439–440 Ferry Street was named for the ferry that crossed the Monongahela River there, connecting it to the road to Cumberland, Maryland, which was early Pittsburgh's most important supply route.[4][5][6] When George Woods laid out the town of Pittsburgh twenty years later, Campbell's plan was incorporated without change, including its streets and its peculiarly small lots.[2][3]:487–488[7]

The part of Stanwix Street north of Liberty Avenue was originally called Pitt Street, after William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham (1708–1778), who is also the eponym of Pittsburgh itself.[8][9][10] It was laid out in Woods' 1784 town plan.[9][7] (Other streets that have been named after Pitt include Beechwood Boulevard, which was named William Pitt Boulevard from 1910 to 1913, and Chatham Square.)[9]

In 1868, Pittsburgh's modern sequence of numbered streets was created by renaming all the streets perpendicular to the Allegheny River. Pitt Street became Fifth Street. The name was transferred from Fifth Avenue, which the same ordinance "promoted" to an avenue.[11][9][12][13]

Over 900 city streets were renamed in 1910 to fix the problem of duplicate street names. As part of this renaming, the Daughters of the American Revolution proposed the name Stanwix Street, after John Stanwix (1690–1766). The DAR suggested that the name Stanwix should be given to Seventh Street, saying that was the original name (an incorrect claim—Seventh Street was originally Irwin Street), but in the ordinance that was finally passed it was Fifth Street that became Stanwix.[14][11][15][9][10][3]:481[16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25]

By 1954, as a result of improvements, Ferry and Stanwix Streets had become one continuous street, and the City Planning Commission asked the City Council to change the name of Ferry Street to Stanwix.[26] The proposal was initially defeated,[27][28] but it was soon passed with a delay to allow business owners to use up stocks of printed material with the old name.[29][30][31] The name change took effect on July 1, 1955.[32][33][4][34] Consequently Stanwix Street became the first street in Pittsburgh to touch both the Allegheny and the Monongahela Rivers.[6] In 1958 Commonwealth Place was similarly formed by uniting two streets under a common name, and it also goes from river to river; see also Eighth Street, which was upgraded from an alley to a street in the early 1850s in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to make such a connection.

See also


  1. John Campbell. Plan of Lots in Pittsburgh—1764. 1764. Reproduced in William G. Johnston, Life and Reminiscences from Birth to Manhood of Wm. G. Johnston, Knickerbocker Press, New York, 1901 (Google Books N-QEAAAAYAAJ; Historic Pittsburgh 00adj9508m; Internet Archive lifereminiscence00john); in George T. Fleming, "Flem's" Views of Old Pittsburgh: A portfolio of the past precious with memories, p. 5, Geo. T. Fleming, Pittsburgh, 1905 (HathiTrust 011204797, 100770599; Historic Pittsburgh 31735056290277; Internet Archive flemsviewsofoldp00flem; LCCN 08028848); in George T. Fleming, "History told in Pittsburgh street names: Some commemorative designations have been lost, but others are still in use to recall the story of their selection: Haphazard municipal nomenclature," Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Nov. 29, 1914, sec. 5, p. 2 ( 85906737); in George T. Fleming, "History from an old map: Masson's map of Pittsburgh, 1805, further considered—Campbell's plan of 1764, Woods and Vickroy's complete plan of 1784—the old military plan unwillingly retained—Vickroy's deposition quoted: Pioneer names enumerated as lot owners; Historic characters recalled by names on Masson's plan—explanation of numbering of lots and some mention of freeholders—Imlay's topographical description of 1793," Pittsburgh Gazette Times, July 16, 1922, sec. 2, p. 2 ( 85913850); in George T. Fleming, Fleming's Views of Old Pittsburgh: A portfolio of the past, p. 10, Crescent Press, Pittsburgh, 1932; in George Swetnam, "Ferry Street historic, one of oldest in city: Backward switch gives recognition to man undeserving of honor," Pittsburgh Press, Nov. 25, 1954, p. 16 ( 149015965); in Bruce J. Buvinger, The Origin, Development and Persistence of Street Patterns in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, p. 21; and in Bob Regan, The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names, p. 57, The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5. This map is often called the "military plan of Pittsburgh." [view source]campbell
  2. 2.0 2.1 Neville B. Craig. The History of Pittsburgh: With a brief notice of its facilities of communication, and other advantages for commercial and manufacturing purposes, p. 93. John H. Mellor, Pittsburgh, 1851. Google Books cE0OAAAAIAAJ; HathiTrust 001263103; Historic Pittsburgh 00aee7261m, 31735056285699; Internet Archive historyofpittsbu00crai. [view source]craig
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: Including its early settlement and progress to the present time; a description of its historic and interesting localities; its cities, towns and villages; religious, educational, social and military history; mining, manufacturing and commercial interests; improvements, resources, statistics, etc.: Also portraits of some of its prominent men, and biographies of many of its representative citizens. A. Warner & Co., Chicago, 1889. Google Books DwzYAAAAMAAJ; Internet Archive historyofalleghe1889cush. [view source]history-of-allegheny-county
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Ferry Street has only nine more days of 'life': Will become an extension of Stanwix." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 22, 1955, Daily Magazine, p. 1. 91028013. [view source]ferry-street-has-only-nine-more-days
  5. George Swetnam. "Ferry Street historic, one of oldest in city: Backward switch gives recognition to man undeserving of honor." Pittsburgh Press, Nov. 25, 1954, p. 16. 149015965. [view source]swetnam-ferry
  6. 6.0 6.1 William A. White. "Ferry Street." Pittsburgh Press, Dec. 21, 1954, sec. 2, p. 29. 148990741. [view source]white-ferry
  7. 7.0 7.1 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
  8. George T. Fleming. "Great names are commemorated in the streets of Pittsburgh: Interesting history of early city and bits of biography of some of the men signally honored by its founders and first citizens." Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Dec. 27, 1914, sec. 3, p. 1. 85749921. [view source]fleming-great-names
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 George T. Fleming. "History recalled by street names: Stanwix brings to mind many important happenings in the early days of the Western Pennsylvania settlement." Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Dec. 6, 1914, sec. 2, p. 8. 85907599. [view source]fleming-history-recalled
  10. 10.0 10.1 Julia Morgan Harding. "Names of Pittsburgh streets: Their historical significance." Pittsburgh Bulletin, Feb. 15, 1893. Reprinted in Fort Duquesne and Fort Pitt: Early names of Pittsburgh streets, 13th ed., pp. 52–60, Fort Pitt Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, 1958 (HathiTrust 007074456). [view source]harding
  11. 11.0 11.1 Bruce S. Cridlebaugh. "Field notes: Changing Pittsburgh street names—from downtown to Lawrenceville." Bridges & tunnels of Allegheny County & Pittsburgh, PA, Feb. 9, 2000. [view source]cridlebaugh
  12. Sarah H. Killikelly. The History of Pittsburgh: Its rise and progress, p. 534. B. C. & Gordon Montgomery Co., Pittsburgh, 1906. HistPgh1909M; Google Books kXmloex-vr8C, poRU0YjqrzsC; HathiTrust 100122020; Historic Pittsburgh 00adc8925m; Internet Archive historyofpittsbu00kill, historypittsbur00killgoog. [view source]killikelly
  13. "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
  14. "Councils to fix names of streets: Will pass finally on new selections ordered reported favorably by surveys committee—Historical Society aids City Clerk Clark: Some changes which are recommended." Pittsburg Press, Jan. 27, 1910, p. 5. 141338336. [view source]councils-to-fix-names-of-streets
  15. James K. DeLaney. "Spectres of past haunt Pittsburgh's corner signposts: Street names 'pennants of tribute.'" Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mar. 30, 1967, [p. 41]. 88235360. [view source]delaney
  16. George T. Fleming, ed. Pittsburgh: How to see it: A complete, reliable guide book with illustrations, the latest map and complete index, p. 47. William G. Johnston Co., Pittsburgh, 1916. Google Books 02NAAAAAYAAJ; Internet Archive bub_gb_02NAAAAAYAAJ, pittsburghhowtos01flem. [view source]how-to-see-it
  17. 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. [view source]love-titles
  18. "Making a joke of street names: Clerks assigned to wipe out duplications choose any old titles: Hippo, Tumbo, Fortitude!: Also Divinity, Sunday, Starch, Parkhurst, Chianti, Wry and Prudence." Pittsburgh Gazette Times, July 28, 1909, p. 2. 85879633. [view source]making-a-joke
  19. Annie Clark Miller. Early Land Marks and Names of Old Pittsburgh: An address delivered before the Pittsburgh Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution at Carnegie Institute, Nov. 30, 1923, p. 26. Pittsburgh Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, 1924. Historic Pittsburgh 00awn8211m; Internet Archive earlylandmarksna00mill. [view source]miller
  20. "An ordinance changing the names of certain avenues, streets, lanes and alleys in the City of Pittsburgh." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1910, no. 715. Passed Mar. 31, 1910; approved Apr. 5, 1910. Ordinance Book 21, p. 342. In Municipal Record: Minutes of the proceedings of the [Select and Common Councils] of the City of Pittsburgh for the years 1909–1910, appendix, pp. 312–328, Devine & Co., Pittsburgh, 1910 (Google Books doQzAQAAMAAJ; HathiTrust uiug.30112108223832; Internet Archive Pghmunicipalrecord1909). Reprinted in the Pittsburgh Post, Apr. 19, 1910, pp. 10–11 ( 86611990, 86612022), Apr. 20, pp. 10–11 ( 86612278, 86612297), and Apr. 21, pp. 10–11 ( 86612601, 86612625). [view source]ordinance-1910-715
  21. Torsten Ove. "Site names here are out of sight: From Swamp Poodle Road to Grant Street, locales in the region bear names that are little understood or largely forgotten." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 8, 1998, pp. A-1, A-6. 94754709, 94754864. [view source]ove
  22. Bob Regan. The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names, p. 74. The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5. [view source]regan
  23. "Street names sketch history of city: Tribute to many pioneers dimmed by time." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sept. 26, 1936, anniversary section IV, p. 16. 88921069. [view source]street-names
  24. Lillian Thomas. "City plays the name game." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mar. 26, 2001, pp. C-5, C-8. 90410524, 90410540. [view source]thomas-city
  25. William A. White. "Stanwix vs. Ferry." Pittsburgh Press, Jan. 27, 1955, sec. 2, p. 17. 148896227. [view source]white-stanwix-vs-ferry
  26. "Name change asked for downtown street: Public Works Department seeks to replace Ferry with Stanwix." Pittsburgh Press, Nov. 23, 1954, p. 37. 149010292. [view source]name-change-asked
  27. "Ferry Street's still Ferry Street!: Council vetoes name change." Pittsburgh Press, Dec. 1, 1954, p. 18. 148998557. [view source]ferry-streets-still-ferry-street
  28. "Proposal to change street name defeated." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dec. 1, 1954, p. 10. 89664143. [view source]proposal-to-change-street-name-defeated
  29. "Delay faces Ferry Street change." Pittsburgh Press, Dec. 12, 1954, sec. 3, p. 24. 149103277. [view source]delay-faces-ferry-street-change
  30. "Ferry Street to become Stanwix Street: Name changed effective April 1." Pittsburgh Press, Dec. 14, 1954, p. 6. 149129771. [view source]ferry-street-to-become-stanwix-street
  31. "An ordinance changing the name of Ferry Street between Fort Pitt Boulevard and Liberty Avenue to Stanwix Street." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1955, no. 2. Passed Jan. 10, 1955; approved Jan. 12, 1955. Ordinance Book 59, p. 571. Reported in the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, Jan. 15, 1955, p. 13 ( 524202598). [view source]ordinance-1955-2
  32. "Ferry becomes Stanwix." Pittsburgh Press, June 29, 1955, p. 4. 148903873. [view source]ferry-becomes-stanwix
  33. "Ferry becomes Stanwix on July 1." Pittsburgh Press, Jan. 11, 1955, p. 25. 149065756. [view source]ferry-becomes-stanwix-on-july-1
  34. "Nomenclature." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 30, 1955, Daily Magazine, [p. 1]. 91032959. [view source]nomenclature