UNTIL about 1840 most of the business activities of Pittsburgh were confined to the triangle bounded by the rivers and Wood Street. Market Street was the hub of the town, and anyone who went beyond Wood was moving to the country. It is said that in the 1840'sa storekeeper who had quarreled with his Wood Street landlord moved his business around the corner to Fifth Avenue. There he prospered in spite of the dire prophecies of his friends. Others followed and drew trade after them--one shoeman is claimed to have sold his wares to the blare of a brass band. Hogg's Pond had recently been filled by dirt from the canal and from Grant's Hill, so there was plenty of good building land available. The coming of the Pennsylvania Railroad assured the continued prosperity of the section; recognition of this fact was shown by the erection in 1853 of a new federal customhouse and post office at Fifth and Smithfield on the site of the present Park Building. Already in 1842 the county commissioners, with uncanny prescience of the trend of real estate values, or perhaps only to save expense, had erected a new courthouse on Grant's Hill, and the Roman Catholics built their St. Paul's Cathedral on the northwest corner of Fifth and Grant in 1829.
Grant's Hill, it will be remembered, had been purchased by