Stevenson Street

From Pittsburgh Streets
Stevenson Street
Neighborhoods Bluff, Central Business District
Origin of name George Stevenson
Harriet Street (1830s)
Price Street (until 1881)
Origin of name William "Billy" Price

Stevenson Street south of Fifth Avenue was originally named Harriet Street.[1][2] It led through the center of a subdivision of lots laid out by George Stevenson,[1][2][3] and by 1852 it had been renamed Stevenson Street.[4][5][6]

Dr. George Stevenson was born in York, Pennsylvania, and studied medicine at Carlisle.[7]:260 He served in the Colonial army during the Revolutionary War.[7]:260 He arrived in Pittsburgh in 1794 during the Whiskey Rebellion and became the second physician in the young town (after Nathaniel Bedford, for whom Bedford Avenue is named).[7]:260 He was one of the original members of Pittsburgh's select council in 1816.[8][7]:58 About 1825 he moved back east, and he died in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1829.[7]:260

Stevenson Street north of Fifth was originally called Price Street,[5][9] named for William Price (1759–1855),[6][3][10] whose round house here was a well known local landmark.[11][1][3][10][2] Price was a manufacturer of iron pipes for gas and water; his factory was on Second Avenue east of the present Panhandle Bridge.[10] This factory gave the name Pipetown to this district of the city along the north bank of the Monongahela, between the modern Duquesne University and the river.[10][12] Price came to Pittsburgh in 1800, by invitation of Isaac Craig and James O'Hara (see Craig Street and O'Hara Street), to make the first attempt to produce flint glass in Western Pennsylvania.[11][10][13] In 1808 or 1810 he abandoned the glass business and established an iron foundry on the corner of Colwell Street and Price Street, which was later called the Berlin Foundry.[11][14][10][13] He built his round house, with a round chimney in the center, in 1808 at the corner of the Fourth Street Road (today Fifth Avenue) and Price Street.[14][10] In 1827–1828 he was in partnership with Robert B. Curling at the Fort Pitt Glass Works (see also Dithridge Street).[13]

"Billy" Price seems to have been quite a character. It was said that his reasons for building a round house were that the devil could not corner him, and that it didn't matter which way the road would eventually go, because any side of the house would be the front.[14][10] He kept a parrot, trained to call out "Boys in the orchard, boys in the orchard" in response to potential thieves.[3] He regularly delivered his goods to his customers, and once, seeing a doctor marching solemnly in a funeral procession, called out, "Ah, Doctor; I see that, like myself, you are delivering your work."[3][13]

Price Street was made part of Stevenson Street in 1881.[15][16]

Bob Regan includes "Stevenson" in a list of streets named for noted historical people; unfortunately, he gives no further details.[17] It is not clear who Regan had in mind—perhaps Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894), Scottish novelist, since Regan's list appears to include many other writers. It seems that Regan is in error here, since George Stevenson, the real origin of the street name, is not famous historically.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Jean Barbeau and Lewis Keyon. Map of Pittsburgh and Its Environs. N. B. Molineux, Pittsburgh, 1830. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0576; [view source]barbeau
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Lewis Keyon. Map of Pittsburgh and Its Environs. Johnston & Stockton, Pittsburgh, 1835. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0577; 1835 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps ( [view source]keyon
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 George T. Fleming. "Reisville now forgotten name: Once thriving suburb called after a pioneer has long been incorporated into City of Pittsburgh." Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Dec. 19, 1915, sec. 5, p. 2. 85762040. [view source]fleming-reisville
  4. 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
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Cities of Pittsburgh and Allegheny, with Parts of Adjacent Boroughs, Pennsylvania. 1855. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0089;; 1855 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps ( In George W. Colton, Colton's Atlas of the World: Illustrating physical and political geography, J. H. Colton & Co., New York, 1856 ( [view source]colton
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Signs for streets: With the names in big letters, to be placed at every corner: Following the Paris style: An attempt to label the city that proved a sad failure: How some streets were named." Pittsburg Dispatch, Aug. 10, 1892, p. 2. 76578361. [view source]signs-for-streets
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 History of Pittsburgh and Environs, vol. 2. American Historical Society, New York and Chicago, 1922. Google Books 3staAAAAYAAJ, TPUMAAAAYAAJ; HathiTrust 011262563; Internet Archive historypittsbur00yorkgoog, historypittsbur02socigoog. [view source]history-pgh-environs-2
  8. George T. Fleming. "Growth of city in century is great: Celebration of charter anniversary directs attention to progress made: Noteworthy events." Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Mar. 12, 1916, sec. 5, p. 2. 85766545. [view source]fleming-growth
  9. Atlas of the Cities of Pittsburgh, Allegheny, and the Adjoining Boroughs. G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1872.; 1872 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps ( [view source]hopkins-1872
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 History of Pittsburgh and Environs, [vol. 5?] (biographical), p. 139. American Historical Society, New York and Chicago, 1922. Google Books IdAwAQAAMAAJ, iGROWogZLRkC, VP9HAQAAMAAJ; HathiTrust 011262563; Internet Archive historyofpittsbu05inflem, historypittsbur00compgoog. [view source]history-pgh-environs-5
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 George H. Thurston. Allegheny County's Hundred Years, p. 168. A. A. Anderson & Son, Pittsburgh, 1888. Google Books 7mq5vRa_l_IC, na2TNhB3BuAC; HathiTrust 008651472; Historic Pittsburgh 00adg8023m; Internet Archive alleghenycounty00thurgoog, alleghenycountys00thur. [view source]allegheny-hundred
  12. R. E. M'Gowan. Map of Pittsburgh & Vicinity: Designating the portion destroyed by fire, April 10, 1845. J. W. Cook, Pittsburgh, 1845. Published in the front matter of J. Heron Foster, A Full Account of the Great Fire at Pittsburgh, on the Tenth Day of April, 1845: With the individual losses, and contributions for relief, J. W. Cook, Pittsburgh, 1845 (Internet Archive fullaccountofgre00fost) and of O. Ormsby Gregg, Isaac Gregg, and Moses F. Eaton, Pittsburgh, Her Advantageous Position and Great Resources, as a Manufacturing and Commercial City, Embraced in a Notice of Sale of Real Estate, Johnson & Stockton, Pittsburgh, 1845 (Google Books nrJs-DDEN1sC; Historic Pittsburgh 00afu7810m). [view source]mcgowin-1845
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Lowell Innes. "William Price and the Round Church." Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, vol. 47, no. 4, Oct. 1964, pp. 317–322. [view source]innes
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 George T. Fleming. "Old Penn street, Pittsburgh: Fourth chapter of Mrs. G. A. Gormly's recollections of her childhood—outdoor recreations, rides, walks and shopping rich with a fip: Famous ice cream emporiums—small coin of our grandfathers' days—Mary McAlpin's variety store: Clement Tetedoux, music teacher—'Billy' Price's 'Round House'—Jones' ferry—the Two-Mile Run House—hearing the divine Patti, age ten, sing 'Home, Sweet Home': Learning Pittsburgh history—John Thaw and Gen. Robinson." Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Feb. 5, 1922, sec. 5, p. 2. 85413583. [view source]fleming-old-penn-4
  15. "An ordinance establishing the names of avenues, streets, lanes and alleys of the City of Pittsburgh." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1881, no. 33. Passed Feb. 28, 1881; approved Mar. 4, 1881. Ordinance Book 5, p. 212. In Municipal Record: Minutes of the proceedings of the Select and Common Councils of the City of Pittsburgh, for the year 1880, pp. 213–234 (Internet Archive pghmunicipalrecord1880). [view source]ordinance-1881-33
  16. Atlas of the Cities Pittsburgh and Allegheny. G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1882.; 1882 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps ( [view source]hopkins-1882
  17. Bob Regan. The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names, p. 63. The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5. [view source]regan