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Help save history in your community by organizing special events that encourage people to take care of and be proud of the place where they live.

Carson Street/Ormsby Park Clean-Up

Carson Street Clean Ups

"Our effort was to clean up our environment, and Ormsby Park was really, really dirty. We gave the garbage we collected to the CCI Center and they recycled the pop cans and bottles. The activity we did helped the park because it is a little bit cleaner now. Since Ormsby Park is a part of our history, we need to save it." —student quote

Carson Street/Ormsby Park Clean-Up

Phillips Elementary School students in the Brashear Association's “Friends of the Earth” after-school enrichment club helped clean up Ormsby Park on Wednesday, April 13, 2005. The park is located on South 22nd Street, a block from East Carson Street and adjacent to the South Side branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Ormsby Recreation Center.

The park is named in honor of Irish immigrant John Ormsby (1720-1805), who is called the “father” or “founder” of the South Side. In 1763, King George III of England gave John Ormsby several thousand acres of land on the South Side, in thanks for his distinguished military service during the French and Indian War. John Ormsby named his holdings Homestead Farms, and he and his family eventually settled on the South Side. Ormsby opened the first Monongahela River ferry, and established a brickyard and boatyard.

Ormsby's son Oliver inherited a large portion of Homestead Farms. Oliver had a large family of 10 children. After Oliver died, the land between South 21st and South 24th Streets comprised a unique family colony of five estates with mansions, gardens, and orchards resembling Mt. Vernon. The Ormsby estate included what was later known as South Pittsburgh, Birmingham, East Birmingham, Ormsby, and the larger part of St. Clair Borough.

In 1811, Dr. Nathanial Bedford, who was John Ormsby's son-in-law, laid out the streets of “Birmingham” and named some of them after members of John Ormsby's family: Jane, Sarah, Sidney, Wharton, Mary, Josephine, among others.

Ormsby Park was created in the early 1900s. The Ormsby Recreation Center was built by the City of Pittsburgh in 1939 as a Works Progress Administration project.

For more information about John Ormsby and Nathaniel Bedford, go to the East Carson Street page.

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