Monday, March 9, 2015

The Laughlin memorial in Ambridge's Laughlin Memorial Library

Alexander Laughlin Jr. Memorial
Laughlin Memorial Library
credit: Nancy Knisley
November 18, 2013

In the center of the back wall of Ambridge's Laughlin Memorial Library, there's a beautiful arched recess, mostly black marble, that holds a memorial to Alexander Laughlin, Jr., for whom the library is named. In the late 1920s, his father, Alexander Laughlin Sr., donated the money to build the library in memory of his son.

Here's the text of the memorial:

In Memory of
Alexander Laughlin Jr
son of
Alexander and Mary Mead Laughlin
President of Central Tube Company
Major in the American Expeditionary Forces
of the World War 1908 - 1919

Alexander Laughlin, Sr., unrelated to the Laughlin family of Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation, was the founder of Ambridge's Central Tube Company. Central Tube closed in the 1930s; afterward. H.H. Robertson bought some of Central Tube's property. After Alexander Laughlin, Jr. returned from military service in France during WWI, he succeeded his father as Central Tube president. He died in 1926 at the age of 37 after being anesthetized while having dental work done.

When the Ambridge Woman's Club later approached Alexander Laughlin, Sr. for a donation towards maintaining a reading room that served as Ambridge's library, he instead gave Ambridge a library in memory of his son, dedicated in July, 1929. And what a magnificent library it is!

The Beaver County History Online article, "A History of Beaver County's Libraries" by Christie L. Blackburn, describes the library's extraordinarily beautiful interior in detail including this information about the memorial to Alexander Laughlin, Jr.
Entering through bronze doors, a far wall in the interior reveals an imposing and dignified bronze memorial tablet of Major Alexander Laughlin, Jr. It was executed by Bryan Baker, a famous sculptor. The figures of industry and patriotism shown are symbolic of Major Laughlin's busy life in the manufacturing business as president of the Central Tube Company of Ambridge and his patriotic services during World War I.


  1. nancy
    what where your folks names? go to AHS? live in what area in town?
    can write a book about anbridge, good memories. need some info just ask, you know a walt wahct (sic) other ambridge site guy, lost contact few months ago 49 grad.

    1. If you're asking about me, my basic information is on this blog. Just click on my name under "contributors" on the menu on the left.

      If you are asking about my parents, do you email? Email me at

      I don't know know Walter Wacht, but wish I did. I tried to contact him some time ago via the email address on Ambridge Reprise and received no response. The Ambridge Library has what appears to be a hard copy or draft of the Ambridge Reprise site, so I asked about him there, but none of the librarians could tell me anything. I'd love to talk to him for sure.

      I'd also like to take you up on your offer to help with information, but I don't know how. There are so many Anonymouses that have commented here. Could you either register and use your registered log-in or identify yourself in your comments? That would be helpful.

    2. jd aka john domansky
      nancy i just found your reply, i had contact with walt wacht for quite a few years, few months ago he stopped thanking me for the ecards i sent him, jan 2015, walt & i have about the same knowledge of ambridge, he knew the area he grew up in, well. i have a wider inventory of ambridge & could answer whatever you asked him i'm sure. not bragging, just been there, walts info also came from older persons around, dad mom etc i think his ambridge site shows him in a jet fighter plane he flew in korea or nam. never talked face to face only he remembers me from school. & living in rented parents home 1925 duss ave for a few yrs. house had a porch.
      swing & we sat there for hours watching traffic zip by, i worked the crossword puzzle & still do other puzzle games to help this 82 yr old brain function, suduko & free cell are great.
      the blog above ur comment is mine, waiting to see if you post the pics i sent u.

  2. Since prohibition, The bar across the street from Stengel's Bakery on the corner of Wagner St & Merchant has always been in operation as a bar. Although I don't know the dates, It has been called Cariodis's Bar,Erin's Bar in the 50's putting it in the time frame of the picture.During the 60's & 70's it was called Rick and Denny's.Ed Phillip's bought it around 1980.He re-named it Fat Eddies. About 2005 or 2006, his daughter re-named it Dee,Dee's.How ever,the bar business not suiting her, she sold it to Brian and he swiched the name back to Fat Eddies in an effort to re-store the atmosphere of a great neighborhood bar,which he was successful. And it is a nice place to socialize to this day.

    1. jd aka john domansky

      that bar on the corner, long block of 12th st in the 40s was owned by the hornaks, dad mom & girl named alice they lived on 14th & duss ave next to gas sta on corner, bar was next to slaviks grocery. across from stangls