Saturday, August 2, 2014

The iconic American Bridge footbridge

American Bridge footbridge over Ohio River Blvd.
Beaver Valley Times,
February 13, 1954

Original photo caption:
BRIDGE TO PLANT Motorists using Route 88 in the Ohio River Boulevard, one of the most heavily-traveled highways in the state, pass under this bridge entering U.S. Steel's Ambridge plant of the American Bridge Company.

When I started this blog a little over a year ago, I started looking for photos of Ambridge icons--distinctive and beloved parts of the borough that, at least at one time, meant "this is Ambridge." Many of those icons are now gone.

One of the photos I searched for again and again, in many places, was the American Bridge Company footbridge over Ohio River Boulevard, once state Route 88, now Route 65.

The footbridge began at the southwest side of the American Bridge office property and was used by workers to cross the boulevard to enter and leave the mill area.

I felt there had to be photos of the footbridge, but my hunt had been fruitless until this morning.

Yesterday, reader Maria Notarianni sent me a link to an article about Gutowski's Bakery that she'd found in the February 13, 1954, Beaver Valley Times, and she mentioned that that issue of the Times had a number of articles about Ambridge businesses. This morning, I started browsing the paper, and there was the long-sought after footbridge photo! Finally.

I remember so well waiting to pick up my dad after his shift ended on the rare days my mom had the use of our only car, parking on Park Road near the bridge, watching for him to appear.

I was so proud that travelers driving by on busy Ohio River Boulevard could read the sign on the footbridge announcing that Ambridge's American Bridge plant was the "Largest structural steel fabricating plant in the world." What an extraordinary mill it was.

Park Road end of the sidewalk that once led to the American Bridge footbridge
Laughlin Memorial Library archives

"Bridgeworks" workers crossing over footbridge to mill,
Beaver County Times,
November 7, 1979

Original text with photo:
SHORT TIME - Workmen walking to their jobs at U. S. Steel Corp.'s American Bridge Division Ambridge may well be wondering whether they are on "short time"--the time between when a decision is mde to close the plant and when the plant actually closes. The 950 union members will meet Sunday morning to hear the steel giant's proposal for the future of the plant.
U.S. Steel contends the plant is no longer competitive in the steel fabricating market.

The mill was closed for virtually all production in mid-1982, and closed for good in the spring of 1984. The footbridge is gone. I do not know when it was taken down. If you know, please leave a comment.

When I visited the American Bridge office site in November 2013, when the razing of the building had begun, the sidewalk that once led from Park Road to the footbridge ended abruptly above Ohio River Boulevard.

End of sidewalk that once connected to the American Bridge footbridge,
November 20, 2013


  1. I share the same memories. My Dad worked in the Main Building for 43 years. I remember his stories of Big John, Little John, his boss, Johnny Kremmel, and many others.

  2. I remember sitting on Park Ave as well. One Halloween we sat for hours because some barges broke grandfather was John Kremmel and his son John both were dad was Jim and didnt get to drive accross the tracks until he was superintendent. So proud to be from Ambridge

  3. Funny, but I don't remember seeing the footbridge and I have lived in Ambridge my whole life. I guess we take advantage of places and people in our lives until they are gone. Nice blog, Nancy! I especially like the last picture...a path that leads to nowhere but once connected to a footbridge that many have traveled.