Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ambridge Christmas Lights

Ambridge's Merchant Street lit up for Christmas,
Beaver County Times,
December 8, 1965

Oh, how I wish I had a color photo of Ambridge's Merchant Street at night during Christmastime in the '50s and '60s to post here, but, unfortunately, the best I can do is this black-and-white one from the December 8, 1965, Beaver County Times.

The strings of those large, bright, old-fashioned, multicolored lights from 3rd to 14th Streets formed a brilliant, colored canopy that took my breath away when I was a child, and still seemed pretty dazzling when I grew up. Seeing the lights strung across Merchant for blocks and blocks always put me in the Christmas spirit.

I don't know when Ambridge stopped stringing the lights across Merchant Street. Perhaps cost was the issue that forced an end to this long-standing holiday tradition. The electric bill for those big, old lights, and the cost to put the lights up and take them down every year, may have been too great a strain for the Chamber of Commerce to continue. But they are gone, and have been for a number of years.

I understand the current decorating along Merchant Streets is done by boy scouts who string those small, more modern lights in the trees along Merchant. Yay, for the boy scouts. But it just can't be the same magical spectacle.

[Update December 4, 2015: Now that I've spent over two years writing about Ambridge in the 1960s and before, I recognize this photo was taken in the 400 block of Merchant looking north towards 5th St. On the far right, you can see the Princess Shoppe sign at 454 Merchant. I believe that the sign with the "Mo..." and below it "furn..." is Modern Furniture, 432-434 Merchant.]

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