Sycamore Street

From Pittsburgh Streets
See also Heinz Street, which was originally named Sycamore Street.
Sycamore Street
Neighborhoods Mount Washington, South Shore
Origin of name American sycamore, Platanus occidentalis
Old Coal Hill Road (1830s)
Origin of name Coal Hill, an old name for Mount Washington
Mount Washington Road (until 1874)
Origin of name Led to the top of Mount Washington

A road following the route of modern East Sycamore Street and Wyoming Street appears in the 1830 map of Jean Barbeau and Lewis Keyon, labeled the Old Coal Hill Road.[1] This road appeared in the earlier map of William Darby, published in 1815, labeled "To Washington Pa."[2] It led from Pittsburgh's first river bridge, a covered bridge over the Monongahela built in 1818 where the Smithfield Street Bridge is today, up and over Coal Hill (today Mount Washington).[3]

Sycamore Street first appears in R. E. McGowin's 1852 map, though the lower part (today's East Sycamore Street) is labeled simply "Road."[4] That road, the Old Coal Hill Road, had come to be known as Mount Washington Road by the 1870s; it became part of Sycamore Street in 1874.[5]

George T. Fleming includes Sycamore Street in a list of streets named for trees.[6] The American sycamore, Platanus occidentalis, is native to much of eastern North America, including western Pennsylvania.[7][8] A sycamore growing on an island in the Ohio River in the 1700s, measured by George Washington and later by the botanist André Michaux, was 40 feet, 4 inches around the trunk.[7]


  1. Jean Barbeau and Lewis Keyon. Map of Pittsburgh and Its Environs. N. B. Molineux, Pittsburgh, 1830. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0576; [view source]barbeau
  2. Wm. Darby. Plan of Pittsburg and Adjacent Country. R. Patterson and W. Darby, Philadelphia, 1815. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0197, DARMAP0198. Reproduced in John W. Reps, The Making of Urban America: A history of city planning in the United States, p. 207, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N. J., 1965 (LCCN 63023414); and in Bruce J. Buvinger, The Origin, Development and Persistence of Street Patterns in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, p. 24. Also reproduced as "Plan von Pittsburg und Umgebungen" in Bernhard, Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (Heinrich Luden, ed.), Reise Sr. Hoheit des Herzogs Bernhard zu Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach durch Nord-Amerika in den Jahren 1825 und 1826, vol. II, following p. 200, Wilhelm Hoffmann, Weimar, 1828 (Internet Archive reisesrhoheitdes00bern, reisesrhoheitdes00inbern). [view source]darby
  3. Todd Wilson and Helen Wilson. Pittsburgh's Bridges. Images of America. Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, S. C., 2015, ISBN 978-1-4671-3424-8. LCCN 2015949613. [view source]wilson-wilson
  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. "An ordinance changing the name of Mt. Washington road from Carson street to Washington street." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1874, no. 114. Passed May 1, 1874. Ordinance Book 5, p. 5. In The Municipal Record: Containing the proceedings of the Select and Common Councils of the City of Pittsburgh, together with the ordinances, &c.: With an index, vol. VII, p. 47, Pittsburgh Daily Gazette, Pittsburgh, 1874 (Internet Archive pghmunicipalrecord1874, pghmunicipalrecord1872). [view source]ordinance-1874-114
  6. 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. [view source]fleming-history-told
  7. 7.0 7.1 Charles Fergus. Amelia Hansen, illus. Trees of Pennsylvania and the Northeast, 1st ed., pp. 162–166. Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, Penna., 2002, ISBN 978-0-8117-2092-2. LCCN 2002021747. [view source]fergus
  8. Stan Tekiela. Trees of Pennsylvania Field Guide, 2nd ed., pp. 162–163. Adventure Publications, Cambridge, Minn., 2021, ISBN 978-1-64755-204-6. [view source]tekiela