Western Avenue

From Pittsburgh Streets
Western Avenue
Neighborhoods Allegheny West, Chateau, Manchester
Water Lane
West Ohio Street (1871–1872)
Origin of name Ohio River

Western Avenue began as Water Lane in David Redick's 1788 plan for the Reserve Tract, which laid out the town of Allegheny and surrounding out lots.[1] This name was given on December 12, 1788, by the Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, along with the names of the other lanes dividing the out lots. The names were proposed by a committee consisting of "Mr. Woods, Mr. Redick and Mr. Dennison."[2]

The name Western Avenue was in use by 1858.[3][4]

In May 1871, the city of Allegheny changed the names of a number of streets to fix duplicates. Western Avenue was combined with Ohio Street and became part of West Ohio Street (Federal Street being the dividing line between west and east). The name Western Avenue was transferred to what is today Preble Avenue.[5] These changes were unpopular with the residents of the streets whose names had been changed.[6] Property owners on West Ohio Street petitioned City Councils to change the name back to Western Avenue, but the Street Committee, who had made the changes, recommended against the petition.[7][8] Councilman George D. Riddle made unsuccessful attempts to undo the name change in Select Council in November and December 1871: the first was voted down, while the second passed in Select Council but failed in Common Council.[7][8][6] Riddle tried again in February 1872. During the debate on Riddle's proposal, the president of Select Council received an ordinance that had just passed in Common Council, changing the name of West Ohio Street to Western Avenue. So Select Council concurred, and the name Western Avenue was restored.[9]

In April 1872, the other Western Avenue was renamed Preble Avenue, and an ordinance was presented in City Councils to combine West Ohio Street and East Ohio Street to make just Ohio Street. This ordinance passed in Common Council, but when it reached Select Council, J. C. Patterson, the chairman of the Street Committee, pointed out that West Ohio Street no longer existed, because the ordinance passed in February had changed all of West Ohio Street to Western Avenue. After discussion about this "mixing up" of streets, the ordinance was amended to state that Western Avenue began at Sherman Avenue (today Arch Street) and extended westward, and Ohio Street began at Sherman Avenue and extended eastward. The amended version was passed in Select Council and then in Common Council in May.[10][11]


  1. Reserve Tract of Land Opposite Pittsburgh. L. J. Richards & Co., 1863. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0084. Reprinted in Dan Rooney and Carol Peterson, Allegheny City: A history of Pittsburgh's North Side, pp. 2–3, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, 2013, ISBN 978-0-8229-4422-5 (LCCN 2012047727). A variation entitled City of Allegheny 100 Years Ago is reprinted in Walter C. Kidney and Arthur P. Ziegler, Jr., Allegheny, p. 2, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, 1975 (LCCN 75-43276), and in Allegheny City Society, Allegheny City, 1840–1907, pp. 10–11, Images of America, Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, S. C., 2007, ISBN 978-0-7385-5500-3 (LCCN 2007927944). [view source]reserve-tract
  2. "Old state body laid out town of Allegheny: Executive council in 1788 fixed lot prices and furnished names for streets and alleys: Origin of the present parks." Pittsburg Press, Dec. 1, 1907, p. 32. Newspapers.com 142120163. [view source]old-state-body
  3. "Accident." Daily Pittsburgh Gazette, Sept. 11, 1858, [p. 3]. Newspapers.com 86445810. [view source]accident
  4. "Runaway." Pittsburgh Morning Post, Sept. 11, 1858, [p. 3]. Newspapers.com 88171387. [view source]runaway
  5. "An ordinance changing the duplicated streets and alley names." Allegheny city ordinance, 1871. Enacted Apr. 27, 1871. Reprinted in the Pittsburgh Gazette, May 4, 1871, p. 1 (Newspapers.com 86352849), May 5, [p. 4] (Newspapers.com 86352856), and May 6, [p. 4] (Newspapers.com 86352860). [view source]ordinance-1871-allegheny-duplicated
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Allegheny Councils: Annual reports of the city officers: Improvements at the water works—the Board of Health abolished—the West End avenue and Federal street extension—healthy financial condition of the city—the charter of the gas works—the fire department—the new Poor House—resolutions of thanks, etc." Pittsburgh Commercial, Dec. 30, 1871, [p. 4]. Newspapers.com 85457898. [view source]allegheny-councils-1871-12-30
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Allegheny Councils: Regular meeting—an additional engine for the water works—communication from the Board of Health—resolutions for the erection of a permanent hospital—reports of committees, etc." Pittsburgh Commercial, Nov. 10, 1871, [p. 4]. Newspapers.com 85457279. [view source]allegheny-councils-1871-11-10-commercial
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Allegheny Councils: Regular meeting—a batch of routine business—the water supply—the new hospital—the financial situation—city improvements talked of—the monthly report." Pittsburgh Daily Gazette, Nov. 10, 1871, [p. 4]. Newspapers.com 86344384. [view source]allegheny-councils-1871-11-10-gazette
  9. "Allegheny Councils: Regular meeting—resignation of the City Controller—a successor appointed—appropriations for the year 1872—the Federal street extension revived—a new basin contemplated—the proposed Riverside Park—a schindery to be established—report of the Park Commission." Pittsburgh Commercial, Feb. 9, 1872, [p. 4]. Newspapers.com 85458414. [view source]allegheny-councils-1872-02-09
  10. "Allegheny Councils: Regular monthly meeting last night—presentation of numerous petitions—the 'lock-up' question—the city expenditures for March—the monthly reports." Pittsburgh Daily Gazette, Apr. 12, 1872, [p. 4]. Newspapers.com 86350651. [view source]allegheny-councils-1872-04-12
  11. "Allegheny Councils: The North Side fathers in monthly conclave—an issue of water and sewerage bonds authorized—an increase in salaries—reports of the various committees—numerous street improvements proposed—the 'eleven wards' movement comes to naught—a large amount of routine business transacted." Pittsburgh Daily Gazette, May 10, 1872, [p. 4]. Newspapers.com 86351688. [view source]allegheny-councils-1872-05-10