Saturday, January 4, 2014

400 block of Merchant Street, 1965

400 block of Merchant Street, Ambridge,
looking north,
Bridger yearbook, 1965

Here's a photo of what the 400 block of Merchant Street, Ambridge, looked like in 1965. You can see:

  • Nicholas Grill, 401 Merchant Street (later the location of The Red Bull Inn)
  • Kristufek Agency, 405 Merchant Street
  • Ambridge Army and Navy Store, 427 Merchant Street
  • Vince's Pizzeria, 427 Merchant Street
  • New Rainbow Room Hotel and Bar, 412 Merchant Street
  • Modern Furniture, 432-34 Merchant Street
  • Princess Shoppe, 454 Merchant Street

Can anyone identify the barber shop next to Nicholas Grill or the restaurant mid-block, odd numbered (west) side with the black sign? And does anyone have an address for Vince's Pizzeria?

Update 1/4/14: Kevin Butch O'Keefe, who worked at the Ambridge Army and Navy Store from 1963-86, provided the following information: "The address of Vince's pizza would have been 427. The Army & Navy store had already moved to 517 Merchant. The owner of the Army & Navy still owned the building at 427 and used the wall for advertising." Thank you! I've added the address for Vince's above and removed "Ambridge Army and Navy Store" from the list.


  1. I'm guessing the old gas station / ice cream place on 4th was added later?

  2. I don't remember anything before the Boron gas station was built except a vacant lot overgrown with vegetation on the upper, more hilly part. But that seems odd, given the value of that lot at the intersection of 4th and Merchant, prime real estate when that part of town was built. I wonder what the reason was that the lot was vacant.

    As of now, I don't know when the Boron station was built, except that it was after this picture, since there are parking meters in front of the lot and no curb cuts for the station.

  3. I don't know of a barber shop next to Nicolas Grill but 443Merchant Street has been Villellas Barber Shop since my grandfather bought the business & building in 1955 from a retiring barber & his beautician wife. I think it was called Gallo & Debrock Barber Shop for decades before my grandfather bought it.

    1. jd aka john domansky
      the barber shop name eludes me now, but there was also a poolroom in back, i think? back in the 30s & 40s gambling was open, numbers, cards & dice. towards 3rd st was another poolroom only, father & son owners, went to school w/son grad 1950. learned to shoot pool & make good money at it. one other good shooter was a pelegrino, when i was on i won most bets, but on was a hot streak & did not last. so many poolhalls & at the peak of ambridge there were about 100 taverns & bars, i shined shoes in most of them early 40s.

  4. Could the Ford van in this picture be the same van that's behind the ladies in the booth in this picture? -- If you look behind the second lady from the left in the booth (will need to click on the picture to view enlarged version) you'll see the distinctive grill/headlights. Larger side mirrors have been added but it still may be the same van. The pictures are only a year or two apart so there's a good chance it is the same van. Thoughts anyone?