|Merchant Street near intersection with 8th Street,|
photo courtesy of Bob Mikush, used with permission
I really like this photo of the northwest corner of the intersection of Merchant and 8th Streets, even though I don't know the year or the occasion. But who doesn't like a parade?
I didn't realize until recently just how many parades Ambridge once had every year. There were parades for the big occasions like Veterans Day or Labor Day, local events like the soap box derby or Nationality Days, and to draw attention to causes like buying bonds or supporting the United Fund.
Now that I understand how much planning and effort goes into planning a single parade every year, I am amazed at Ambridge's managing to host a parade, some of them huge, several times a year.
But there is another reason I like this photo so much: it's just packed with bits of old Ambridge:
- The Ambridge Hotel on the corner of 8th and Merchant Streets (now an empty lot) with a good view of the large black sign for "Sportsman's Bar and Grill" above the main entrance;
- Martin Braun Quality Cleaner and Tailor, 813 Merchant Street (now DeWalt Health Food);
- Fritz Jahn's store at 811 Merchant Street (now Mikush Maytag). Mr. Jahn, who died in 1975, was a long-time Ambridge florist and greenhouse owner. I believe the awning above his store says "Gift Baskets." [Update February 17, 2016: there indeed was a business called "The Gift Basket" at 811 Merchant.] On the "Fritz Jahn" sign it also says "Florist" and "Dress Goods - Patterns";
- The Texaco sign from the station that once stood on the southwest corner (now a Subway);
- Streetcar tracks on Merchant Street;
- Vintage bus #419, not sure what company;
- Billboards advertising: Morton Chevrolet (once at 1900 Duss Avenue); Tom Tucker "Southern Style" Ginger Ale (still sold) and below, Model Restaurant (763 Merchant Street); and Krauss Jewelers (at 546 Merchant at the time of this photo, later at 610 Merchant);
- The second story porch on the back of the building at 765 Merchant Street (currently Groomit Pet Boutique).
But, as far as I'm concerned, a most intriguing and puzzling item in the photo is the sign for "RADIO STATION WRYO 1050 ON YOUR DIAL" on the Fritz Jahn building. WRYO was an 250 Watts AM Rochester station which existed from 1948-1955 (which helps date the photo). Why was WRYO in an Ambridge building? Was it a studio? An office? Does anyone know?
Update May 26, 2015: Note the comment below dated September 18, 2014, which solves the WRYO mystery:
From "A History of Rochester in Words and Pictures, 1849-1999" ;
RADIO. STATION. W.R.Y.O.. 1949. Rochester, for a time, had a Radio Station. It began in 1949, with its transmitter tower located at Cleveland Avenue, North Rochester. It also maintained studios in Ambridge and Aliquippa.
Update February 17, 2016: Here are two 1949 WRYO ads listing an Ambridge studio:
Beaver Valley Times
May 26, 1949
Beaver Valley Times
October 27, 1949