Wyoming Street

From Pittsburgh Streets
Wyoming Street
Neighborhood Mount Washington
Origin of name Probably the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania
Old Coal Hill Road (1830s)
Origin of name Coal Hill, an old name for Mount Washington
Old Washington Street (1850s)
Origin of name Mount Washington or Washington, Pennsylvania
Washington Street (until 1881)
Origin of name Mount Washington or Washington, Pennsylvania

A road following approximately the route of modern Wyoming Street appears in the 1830 map of Jean Barbeau and Lewis Keyon, labeled the Old Coal Hill Road (the lower part of which is today Sycamore Street).[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]

By 1852, the upper part of this road had been turned into a street, named Old Washington Street[4] or simply Washington Street,[4][5] either for Mount Washington or for its former status as a road leading to Washington, Pennsylvania.

It was renamed Wyoming Street in 1881.[6]

George T. Fleming indicates that the name Wyoming is of Native American derivation and refers to a "locality," and includes it (along with Shamokin, Sandusky, and Juniata) in a list of names that "evoke thrilling stories, sad stories of war, desolation and waste of human blood."[7] This seems to point to the Battle of Wyoming, fought in 1778 during the Revolutionary War in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania. The name of the valley comes from the Munsee word chwewamink, meaning "at the big river flat."[8]

Bob Regan includes "Wyoming" in a list of streets named for states.[9] The Pittsburgh street name predates the statehood of Wyoming by nine years, but the Wyoming Territory had been established in 1865. The 1880 census counted 20,789 inhabitants of the territory. It was named for the valley in Pennsylvania, which had been popularized by the 1809 poem "Gertrude of Wyoming"; many other places across the country were also named Wyoming in the nineteenth century.[8]

All things considered, it seems more likely that the Pittsburgh street was named for the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania than for the territory that became the state of Wyoming.

See also


  1. Jean Barbeau and Lewis Keyon. Map of Pittsburgh and Its Environs. N. B. Molineux, Pittsburgh, 1830. Historic Pittsburgh DARMAP0576; https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/36c3ab00-57aa-0136-8f4f-08990f217bc9. [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, p. 48. Images of America. Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, S. C., 2015, ISBN 978-1-4671-3424-8. LCCN 2015949613. [view source]wilson-wilson
  4. 4.0 4.1 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. https://collections.lib.uwm.edu/digital/collection/agdm/id/32269/. [view source]mcgowin-1852
  5. Atlas of the Cities of Pittsburgh, Allegheny, and the Adjoining Boroughs, p. 107. 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
  6. "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
  7. George Thornton Fleming. History of Pittsburgh and Environs: From prehistoric days to the beginning of the American Revolution, vol. 1, pp. 148–149, 151. American Historical Society, New York and Chicago, 1922. Google Books 7ctaAAAAYAAJ, ffQMAAAAYAAJ, S88wAQAAMAAJ, tzUafgt-eskC; HathiTrust 011262563; Historic Pittsburgh 01aee9405m; Internet Archive historypittsbur01compgoog, historypittsbur01socigoog, historypittsbur01yorkgoog. [view source]fleming-history
  8. 8.0 8.1 William Bright. Native American Placenames of the United States, p. 576. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2004, ISBN 978-0-8061-3598-4. [view source]bright
  9. Bob Regan. The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names, p. 73. The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5. [view source]regan