Lawrenceville was founded in 1814 by William Foster, father of composer Stephen Foster, who was born there in 1826. It is named for Captain James Lawrence, hero of the War of 1812, famous for his dying words, "Don't Give Up The Ship!" Lawrenceville was selected as home to the Allegheny Arsenal, due to "The area's accessibility to river transportation and its proximity to what was then the nation's only iron producing district". Lawrenceville was annexed to the city of Pittsburgh in 1868.
Today, Lawrenceville is undergoing an exciting revitalization, being noted by The New York Times as a "go-to destination". (" A Design District Takes Shape, Jeff Schlegel, The New York Times, October 14, 2007.) Transplanted young hipsters and those who have lived in Lawrenceville for their entire lives dwell side by side, as the neighborhood's affordable housing has become a major draw for those looking to renovate an older home at a reasonable cost. Whether choosing historic homes or one of the newly renovated condos or lofts, real estate price appreciation is the second highest in the city, after the South Side, according to Carnegie Mellon University. ("Real estate prices higher in some places", Tim Grant, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 2, 2007.) Lawrenceville is part of Pittsburgh's Design Zone, and art galleries have opened up all along Lawrenceville's main artery, Butler Street, and the surrounding area, along with clothing boutiques, furniture stores, and a number of new restaurants, coffee shops, and bars. Construction of Pittsburgh's Children's Hospital is nearing completion along the Penn Main corridor and plans to open its doors in 2009. A short film set and shot in Lawrenceville, Mombies, is one story in the film Greetings From Pittsburgh: Neighborhood Narratives
It has a zip code of 15201, and has representation on Pittsburgh City Council by the council member for District 7 (North Central East Neighborhoods). Lawrenceville is surrounded by Polish Hill, Bloomfield, the Strip District and Stanton Heights.