I know I wasn't the only person wondering about the identity of the town in the photo, because I've been asked "Is this really Ambridge?" several times. But I can now say with confidence, yes, it is Ambridge, because I have learned enough in the past several years to identify a few of the buildings. And a postcard message from 1905 helps too.
I've numbered the buildings I have IDed on the postcard. To see a larger view, click on the card:
|Ambridge looking northwest from hill|
While I've numbered the buildings from left to right, I'm going to start with #4 on the far right side, because, several years ago, that's the first building I thought I could identify.
#4. First St. Veronica Church, 8th St. and Glenwood Ave. Since razed.
|St. Veronica Church|
The next building I identified was #2, near the center:
#2. The long building with five single windows on the top floor, then groups of windows on the floor below, looks to me like the Ambridge Savings and Trust Co. building, once on the northeast corner of 5th and Merchant Sts., now also gone. The roof line is right.
|Ambridge Savings and Trust buildings|
5th and Merchant Sts.
Louis Vukovcan collection
courtesy Jackie Vukovcan
#1. Based on the distinctive roof line with a cube on each end, I believe that #1 might be 439 Merchant St. Vintage colored postcards show that building as red brick, with second and third floor balconies. It's the third building on the left side of the postcard below. That building still stands, but it's now painted white and its balconies are gone.
|400 block of Merchant looking north|
|439 Merchant St.|
October 3, 2014
credit: Nancy Knisley
3. The identical, closely spaced row of roofs are probably the houses on Melrose Ave. They're still there more than a century later.
|"Melrose Avenue Looking West, Ambridge, Pa."|
500 block of Melrose looking north
postmarked September 28, 1911
The message on a mailed copy of the postcard below clinched the identification for me, plus provided some interesting facts about early Ambridge I hadn't heard before--including why the postcard scene might be as hazy as it is.
|"View of Ambridge, PA"|
The message on the card says:
My dear Uncle, You can't see the Bridge works in this picture--just a little smoke. We are 25 minutes ride from Pittsburg. Have been here over four months and haven't seen a bright morning yet. Pittsburg smoke covers us up. Like the work but don't like the country. Am going to move pretty soon. Am working on sky scrapers now. 8 hr days with Sat. P.M. off. Wages are good too Living expenses are correspondingly high. Sincerely Rex. (I think its signed Rex, but maybe Ray?)
Here's a scan of the reverse of the mailed postcard immediately above:
|reverse of mailed postcard|
Nov. 7, 1905
It looks to me as if the card's photo might have been taken from a hill near 3rd St. Any thoughts on the hill's location?
Thank you, Tom Martin, for the unmailed postcard at the top of this post.