Pittsburgh Streets

Penn Avenue

Neighborhoods: Bloomfield, Central Business District, Central Lawrenceville, East Liberty, Friendship, Garfield, Lower Lawrenceville, Point Breeze, Point Breeze North, Shadyside, Strip District

A sketch of Penn Avenue (labeled just “Penn”) appears in the margin of John Campbell’s plan of lots in 1764, leading east-northeast from Fort Pitt, just six years after the British captured the Point from the French.[1] It was fully incorporated into the street grid twenty years later when George Woods laid out the first town plat; Woods named it Penn Street.[7] It is named for William Penn (1644–1718), founder of Pennsylvania.[2, 3, 4, 6] Penn Street and the Greensburg Pike together became Penn Avenue in 1869.[5]


[1]Campbell, John. Plan of lots in Pittsburgh—1764. 1764. Reproduced in William G. Johnston, Life and Reminiscences from Birth to Manhood of Wm. G. Johnston, The Knickerbocker Press, New York, 1901 (Google Books N-QEAAAAYAAJ); in George T. Fleming, “Flem’s” Views of Old Pittsburgh: A portfolio of the past precious with memories, Geo. T. Fleming, Pittsburgh, 1905, p. 5 (HathiTrust 011204797, 100770599; Historic Pittsburgh 31735056290277; Internet Archive flemsviewsofoldp00flem; LCCN 08028848); in George T. Fleming, “History from an old map,” Pittsburgh Gazette Times, July 16, 1922, second section, p. 2 (Newspapers.com 85913850); in George T. Fleming, Fleming’s Views of Old Pittsburgh: A portfolio of the past, Crescent Press, Pittsburgh, 1932, p. 10; in George Swetnam, “Ferry Street historic, one of oldest in city,” Pittsburgh Press, Nov. 25, 1954, p. 16 (Newspapers.com 149015965); and in Bob Regan, The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names, The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5, p. 57. This map is often called the “military plan of Pittsburgh.”

[2]Carlin, Margaret. “How our streets got their names.” Pittsburgh Press, Feb. 6, 1966, Pittsburgh’s Family Magazine, p. 10. Newspapers.com 149098376.

[3]DeLaney, James K. “Spectres of past haunt Pittsburgh’s corner signposts: Street names ‘pennants of tribute.’” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mar. 30, 1967, [p. 41]. Newspapers.com 88235360.

[4]Fleming, George T., ed. Pittsburgh: How to see it: A complete, reliable guide book with illustrations, the latest map and complete index. William G. Johnston Co., Pittsburgh, 1916. Google Books 02NAAAAAYAAJ; Internet Archive bub_gb_02NAAAAAYAAJ.

[5]“An ordinance changing the names of Wylie street, Wylie street extension and Duncan street, and Greensburg Pike and Penn street.” Pittsburgh city ordinance, 1869. Passed Oct. 25, 1869. Reprinted in the Pittsburgh Commercial, Oct. 27, 1869, [p. 4] (Newspapers.com 85541004); and in the Pittsburgh Gazette, Oct. 29, 1869, [p. 4] (Newspapers.com 86354987).

[6]Regan, Bob. The Names of Pittsburgh: How the city, neighborhoods, streets, parks and more got their names. The Local History Company, Pittsburgh, 2009, p. 72. ISBN 978-0-9770429-7-5.

[7]Woods, George. A draught of the town plat of Pittsburgh, surveyed for John Penn, Jr., and John Penn, by George Woods, May 31st 1784. 1784. Reproduced as “Original plan of Pittsburgh” in plate 19 of Atlas of the cities of Pittsburgh, Allegheny, and the adjoining boroughs, G. M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, 1872 (Historic Pittsburgh 1872p019).