Verona Boulevard

From Pittsburgh Streets
Verona Boulevard
Neighborhood Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar
Paisley Avenue (1899–1900)
Origin of name Samuel T. Paisley

A road in the location of modern Verona Boulevard south of Lincoln Avenue appears in the 1872 Hopkins atlas.[1]

The location of a thoroughfare named Paisley Avenue was established by a city ordinance in December 1899.[2] It was named for Samuel T. Paisley (1846–1900), then superintendent of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Highways and Sewers, and was intended to be part of the same system of boulevards as Beechwood Boulevard,[3][4][5] which at that time also included Washington Boulevard.

Paisley's wanted poster, dated June 15, 1900.[6]

In March 1900, it came to light that Paisley had been adding fictitious names to his payroll and collecting the money himself.[7][8] A two-month investigation revealed that Paisley had embezzled more than $52,000 from the city over a period of 12 years.[9][10][8] In late May, Paisley fled Pittsburgh under cover of darkness and went to Virginia Beach.[9][10] Shortly afterward he was charged with grand larceny[6][11][9][10][8] and a Pittsburgh detective was sent to go after him, but when the detective arrived in Virginia Beach he learned that Paisley had left four days earlier.[9][10] Paisley died in Newport News in early July.[9][10][8]

The scandal reflected poorly on Paisley's boss, Edward Manning Bigelow (eponym of Bigelow Boulevard). Despite the fact that Bigelow had been the one who first exposed Paisley's fraud[7] and immediately demanded his resignation,[9] Bigelow was accused of negligence for not discovering the fraud sooner.[9][8] He fell out of favor with the city's political machine and was removed as director of the Department of Public Works by city councils in June.[12][8]

In the middle of all this, the property holders on the planned Paisley Avenue circulated a petition to rename the street.[3][4][5] The name was changed to Verona Boulevard by a city ordinance in June 1900.[13]

The originally planned boulevard north of Lincoln Avenue seems never to have been built. The part of the 1899 ordinance that established its location was finally repealed in 1956.[14]

References

  1. Atlas of the Cities of Pittsburgh, Allegheny, and the Adjoining Boroughs, p. 65. G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1872. http://historicpittsburgh.org/maps-hopkins/1872-atlas-pittsburgh-allegheny; 1872 layer at Pittsburgh Historic Maps (https://esriurl.com/pittsburgh). [view source]hopkins-1872
  2. "An ordinance locating Paisley avenue, from Lincoln avenue southerly to the city line and from Lincoln avenue north and northwestwardly to the dividing line of property of Geo. and Jacob Hartman et al., and that of Shoenberger, Blair & Co." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1899, no. 336. Passed Dec. 26, 1899; approved Dec. 28, 1899. Ordinance Book 12, p. 648. In Municipal Record: Minutes of the proceedings of the Common Council of the City of Pittsburgh, for the year 1899–1900, appendix, pp. 111–112, Devine & Co., Pittsburgh, 1900 (Internet Archive pghmunicipalrecordcommon1899). [view source]ordinance-1899-336
  3. 4.0 4.1 "Record don't suit: Name of Paisley avenue to be changed by councils: Citizens circulating a petition calling for another title, but it will not be necessary—popular appellations for new streets." Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, Apr. 20, 1900, p. 7. Newspapers.com 85592133. [view source]record-dont-suit
  4. 5.0 5.1 "May be called Verona boulevard: Property owners want name Paisley avenue changed: Ordinance will be offered at next meeting of councils—South African names incorporated in the street nomenclature of Pittsburg." Pittsburg Press, Apr. 20, 1900, p. 9. Newspapers.com 141320270. [view source]may-be-called-verona
  5. 6.0 6.1 "Wanted for grand larceny, Samuel T. Paisley, late superintendent Dep't of Highways of Pittsburg." June 15, 1900. https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/343015?id=168. [view source]wanted-paisley
  6. 7.0 7.1 "Padded the pay rolls: Charges made against Superintendent Samuel T. Paisley: The director's statement: Carried fictitious names and received money from city: Been going on for years." Pittsburg Press, Mar. 6, 1900, p. 1. Newspapers.com 141361160. [view source]padded-the-pay-rolls
  7. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Squirrel Hill Historical Society. Helen Wilson, ed. Squirrel Hill: A neighborhood history, pp. 174–175. History Press, Charleston, S. C., 2017, ISBN 978-1-4671-3625-9. LCCN 2016961484. [view source]wilson-helen
  8. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 "Death claimed S. T. Paisley: His demise occurred yesterday afternoon at Newport News: Telegram came last night: Remains will be brought to this city for interment: An officer had traced him." Pittsburg Press, July 6, 1900, p. 9. Newspapers.com 141354082. [view source]death-claimed-paisley
  9. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 "Paisley dead: Former superintendent of highways passes away at Newport News, Va.: Local officials surprised: Has suffered constantly since he left here months ago—had been employed by the city for fully 25 years." Pittsburg Post, July 6, 1900, p. 1. Newspapers.com 86435490. [view source]paisley-dead
  10. "Hue and cry for Paisley: Pittsburg detective bureau sends out 4,000 descriptive circulars: May be found in the south: Civil suits for stolen money to be begun this week: Opinion growing that the ex-superintendent may return and surrender—defense of indictment." Pittsburg Post, June 17, 1900, p. 2. Newspapers.com 86430543. [view source]hue-and-cry
  11. "E. M. Bigelow put out and G. W. Wilson put in: Director of public works office vacated and again filled by councils: Senator Flinn at last victorious: Sensational scenes in councils, the minority making a brave fight, followed by still more sensational climax when new director gets into office by a janitor climbing into the window to let him in." Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, June 12, 1900, pp. 1, 9. Newspapers.com 85594209, 85594240. [view source]bigelow-put-out
  12. "An ordinance changing the name of Paisley avenue to 'Verona Boulevard.'" Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1900, no. 69. Passed June 4, 1900; approved June 8, 1900. Ordinance Book 13, p. 235. In Municipal Record: Minutes of the proceedings of the Common Council of the City of Pittsburgh, for the year 1900–1901, appendix, p. 26, Devine & Co., Pittsburgh, 1901 (Internet Archive Pghmunicipalrecordcommon1900). Reprinted in the Pittsburg Post, June 18, 1900, p. 6 (Newspapers.com 86430872), June 19, p. 8 (Newspapers.com 86431103), and June 20, p. 12 (Newspapers.com 86431462); and in the Pittsburg Press, June 22, 1900, p. 6 (Newspapers.com 141349222), June 23, p. 6 (Newspapers.com 141349375, 141349526), and June 25, p. 2 (Newspapers.com 141350217). [view source]ordinance-1900-69
  13. "An ordinance repealing Ordinance No. 336, approved December 28, 1899, entitled 'An Ordinance locating Paisley Avenue (re-named Verona Boulevard), from Lincoln Avenue southerly to the city line and from Lincoln Avenue north and northwestwardly to the dividing line of property of Geo. and Jacob Hartman et al., and that of Shoenberger, Blair & Company', insofar as said Ordinance located Paisley Avenue (re-named Verona Boulevard), from Lincoln Avenue north and northwestwardly to the dividing line of property of Geo. and Jacob Hartman et al., and that of Shoenberger, Blair & Company." Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1956, no. 113. Passed Mar. 26, 1956; approved Apr. 2, 1956. Ordinance Book 60, p. 444. In Municipal Record: Minutes of the proceedings of the Council of the City of Pittsburgh: For the year 1956, appendix, p. 82, Harry C. Suehr Co., Pittsburgh (Internet Archive Pghmunicipalrecord1956). [view source]ordinance-1956-113