Plummer's Run Creek

Plummer's Run Creek - March 1912
Plummer's Run Creen passing by the Knowston home on West Liberty Avenue, flowing downhill towards Pauline Avenue.

The South Hills area is well known for its abundance of streams and brooks that flow through the many valleys and contours of the rolling hills. Many of the larger creeks, like Saw Mill Run, Glass Run, Streets Run and Beck's Run, still flow inexorably towards their juntion with the Monongahela River.

Other smaller tributaries flow down the valleys towards these larger creeks. Streams like Clairton Run, McNeilly Run and Little Saw Mill Run flow into Saw Mill Run Creek, so that by the time it meets the Monongahela in the West End, it is more like a small river.

1876 Map showing Plummer's Run Creek.
An 1876 map showing Plummer's Run Creek running parallel to West Liberty Avenue.

Another little known stream that feeds Saw Mill Run Creek is called Plummer's Run Creek. It flowed for many years along the path of West Liberty Avenue and emptied into Saw Mill Run Creek near the present-day Liberty Tunnels. It was named for Nathaniel Plummer, one of the original local landowners, on whose property the stream originated (near Potomac Avenue). It is a prominent feature on old maps from the 1800s.

When West Liberty Avenue was first laid out in 1839, the Lower Saint Clair Township road was called Plummer's Run. The dirt road, which ran alongside the creek, took on it's present name in 1876 when West Liberty Borough was incorporated. Being the main road running through the heart new borough, it was given the name West Liberty Avenue.

Plummer's Run Creek - May 1910    Plummer's Run Creek - March 1915
Plummer's Run Creek passing by Capital Avenue in 1915 (left) and ponding by a sewer pipe north of Ray Avenue in 1910.

Homeowners and businesses that settled along the path of Plummer's Run had small bridges over the stream to access their buildings. As development increased the small creek became an impediment and, like many of the other Saw Mill Run tributaries, was diverted underground into the local sewer system.

For Plummer's Run Creek, this occured in 1915 during the reconstruction of West Liberty Avenue. In the 100-plus years that have since passed, this once prominent terrain feature, which still flows beneath West Liberty Avenue, has been all but forgotten.

Plummer's Run Creek - March 1915
Plummer's Run Creek at the lower end of West Liberty Avenue just before it empties in Saw Mill Run Creek in 1915.

Click on images for larger pictures.

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