|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
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.