Universal Street

From Pittsburgh Streets
Universal Street
Neighborhoods Chartiers City, Sheraden
Origin of name Probably chosen for its similarity to the original name, Union
Union Street (until ca. 1890)
Origin of name "The Union," i.e., the United States
Union Avenue (ca. 1890 – 1908)
Origin of name United States

This street appears as Union Street in the 1886 Hopkins atlas, as part of a plan of lots laid out by Andrew Patterson.[1] Other streets in the plan included American Street (today Allendale Street), Jefferson Street (today Jeffers Street), Lafayette Avenue (today Kelvin Street), Liberty Avenue (today Ladoga Street), National Avenue (today Nokomis Street), and Washington Avenue (today Wynette Street).[1] This theme suggests that Union Street was a patriotic name referring to the United States.

By 1896 the name had been changed to Union Avenue.[2] It was renamed Universal Street in 1908 to fix the duplication with Union Street downtown (today Graeme Street) and Union Avenue on the North Side (today Union Place).[3] The name Universal was likely chosen because of its similarity to Union.

Bob Regan includes "Universal" in his "Streets of Pittsburgh" crossword puzzle, clued as "Equally applicable around the world, also the name of movie studio and theme park."[4] Unfortunately this is just a dictionary definition of the word universal and does not give any information about the origin of the name. Needless to say, the street is not named for the movie studio or theme park, which were founded in 1912 and 1964, respectively.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Atlas of the Vicinity of the Cities Pittsburgh and Allegheny, Pennsylvania, plate 26. G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1886. http://historicpittsburgh.org/maps-hopkins/1886-atlas-pittsburgh-allegheny; included in the 1882 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps (https://esriurl.com/pittsburgh). [view source]hopkins-1886
  2. Real Estate Plat-Book of the Southern Vicinity of Pittsburgh, Penna., plate 16. G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1896. http://historicpittsburgh.org/maps-hopkins/1896%E2%80%93plat-book-southern-pittsburgh; included in the 1890 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps (https://esriurl.com/pittsburgh). [view source]hopkins-1896
  3. "An ordinance changing and establishing the names of avenues, streets and alleys in the Forty-third ward (formerly the Borough of Sheraden) of the City of Pittsburgh." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1908, no. 393. Passed July 9, 1908; approved July 13, 1908. Ordinance Book 19, p. 496. In Municipal Record: Minutes of the proceedings of the [Select and Common Councils] of the City of Pittsburgh for the years 1907–'08–'09, appendix, pp. 210–214, Devine & Co., Pittsburgh, 1909 (Google Books gMBEAQAAMAAJ; HathiTrust chi.096598897; Internet Archive Pghmunicipalrecordselect1907, Pghmunicipalrecordcommon1907). [view source]ordinance-1908-393
  4. Bob Regan. The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names, pp. 183–186. The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5. [view source]regan