|700 block Merchant Street, looking south|
National Electric "Nationalist" newsletter?
Original caption: "This is Merchant Street--the Fifth Avenue of Ambridge--along which are located many of the retail establishments."
You can enlarge the photo by clicking on it to see the details better.
Note the trolley tracks.
The above photo was published in what appears to be a newsletter, perhaps National Electric's "Nationalist." It came from the late Louis Vukovcan's collection with no accessible identifying information--other clippings are pasted on top of some areas and the back is glued down.
This is primarily the 700 block of Merchant Street looking south, but you can see some of the 600 block too.
On the left is the Ambridge Theatre, 714 Merchant Street, showing Torrid Zone (1940) and The Great Flamarion (1945) which helps to date the photo. The theater was razed in 1965 to make room for a new Pittsburgh National Bank. The current driveway on the north side of Huntington Bank is approximately where the Ambridge Theatre once stood.
At the corner of Seventh Street, there's a "Drugs" sign, but I am not sure what drug store occupied that building in the 1940s.
Next to the State is a building with a "Peter Pan" sign. Does anyone know anything about that building? A Peter Pan Cleaners was once at 431 Merchant Street, but I don't know anything about a Peter Pan in the 700 block.
The next clearly visible sign is the huge vertical Sears sign at 653-655 Merchant Street. Sears closed that store in 1963 a week before it opened its new store in Northern Lights. The last time I was in Ambridge the building was empty.
I don't see any other signs I can identify. But I know one store was there: Romano's market at 703 Merchant Street, opened around 1942. Romano's, which carried a variety imported foods, primarily from Italy and Greece, didn't even need a sign. Shoppers could find it by the smells emanating from it: dried fish, garlic, sausages, cheese, and a host of other tasty, but smelly, foods.
If you know what other businesses were in the 700 block of Merchant Street in the mid-to-late 1940s, please leave a comment.