|"Ambridge Aliquippa Bridge Across Ohio River, Aliquippa, PA"|
I don't have much information about the postcard. It appears to be a bordered linen-era postcard, a type of postcard published roughly between 1930-45.
The picture on the postcard appears to be a drawing, not a photo, so may not be entirely accurate. Despite the "Aliquippa" location in the card's printed caption, it shows the bridge from the Ambridge side of the Ohio. If nothing else, the postcard shows the bridge's walkway on the right, meaning the bridge is depicted from the east (Ambridge) side.
Here's a 1928 photo from Ambridge's Laughlin Memorial Library's archives of the bridge showing the same small building:
approaching from 11th Street, Ambridge
credit: William J. Bowan
photo courtesy of Laughlin Memorial Library archives
This photograph presents a view of the Aliquippa-Ambridge Bridge in 1928 from 11th Street in Ambridge. The new building on the right was being constructed at the time. In 1964-68, the building and confectionery store next door were both demolished to make way for Route 65 .I remember the building to the right with the North Pole Ice Cream sign, but I don't remember the building on the left. Does anyone know what it is and when it was demolished?
Update November 26, 2016:
I finally have a more positive identification of the small building to the left of the bridge.
After I shared the original post on Facebook, several people offered opinions on what the building may have been. One person suggested a toll house, but the Ambridge-Aliquippa bridge was never a toll bridge. I believe my cousin Frank Mish said it was a water pump house. Most of the commenters said they thought the building was a railroad switch tower.
I thought the building was in an odd location for a switch tower given the rather limited view the building gave of the train tracks that ran under the bridge, but what did I know about switch towers? Nothing.
The postcard in this post does give the impression that the building might have been just the top of a tower that was separated from 11th St. But then I took a closer look at the photo below of the bridge taken from South Heights looking east across the Ohio River towards Ambridge. The small building in question is near the far right in this photo. And although it's hard to see in the photo, the small building is not part of a tower. It sits level with 11th St. on the hill above the train tracks. Were switch towers ever not towers I wondered.
October 21, 1927
courtesy: Dale Donna Zehnder
Here's an enlargement of that part of the photo:
|Enlargement of area south of the bridge|
And then, during a visit to Laughlin Memorial Library, I found the photo below showing the Ambridge end of the bridge nearing completion:
|Ambridge-Woodlawn Bridge nearing completion on Ambridge side|
courtesy: Bowan archives, Laughlin Memorial Library
On the reverse of that photo, the late Bill Bowan, a local history expert, had written a description of the scene:
|Reverse of photo of bridge immediately above|
Completing work on New Ambridge Aliquippa Pa Bridge - at 11th St. & Ohio View. Ambridge Water Pump House on Left. Later razed in 1964-65 to make right of way for New Route #65.
Based on that, I have to conclude that the building to the left of the bridge entrance was a water pump house, not a railroad switch tower. At the time the bridge was built, Ambridge pumped its water from the Ohio River; the Service Creek Reservoir wasn't constructed until the 1950s.
* Originally known as the Ambridge-Woodlawn Bridge; the town of Woodlawn eventually became part of Aliquippa.