Thursday, January 28, 2016

Group photo: Carpatho-Russian Band 1920

Many Ambridge organizations once had bands. The photo below is of the Carpatho-Russian Band of Ambridge PA, from the collection of the late local historian William (Bill) Bowan in Laughlin Memorial Library's archives.

St. Michael's Band
1920? 1925?
Laughlin Memorial Library archives

Based on the brickwork around the doors and windows, I would say that the photo was taken on the steps of St. Michael's Hall, which once stood at 308 Maplewood Ave. You can read more about that St. Michael's Hall, as well as the other St. Michael's Hall on Pine St., in my June 29, 2014, article, "Two St. Michael's and the Masons."


Addendum: After I posted the above information and photo, Carol Demchak Flanigan provided a newspaper clipping with the same photo that she says was published in the late '70s by the Beaver County Times as a "Looking Back" feature. Carol's grandfather, Roman Demchak, is in the photo.

The Times article provided some information about the band and identified all the members but one.

According to the article, Peter Pawlack organized the band around 1920 for Holy Ghost Orthodox Church--which still exists at the corner of 2nd St. and Maplewood Ave.--and said the above photo was taken "about 1925."

The band was active for 12 years and escorted the funeral processions of members of Holy Ghost to 4th St. and Glenwood Ave. The band then traveled with the procession to Economy Cemetery, playing "solemn" music on the way to the cemetery, but "lively" music on the return to St. Michael's Hall.

From left to right, the band members are identified as:

First row: Mike Pristash, Mike Dzabiak, John Bowan

Second row: Mike Painka, Peter Pawlack, Peter Belchyk, Roman Demchak

Third row: Makar Slapak, Sava Dunda, Angelo Borgia, Tony Marzlo, John Minnick, Andrew Felk, unidentified, George Pawelchack, Mike Dudenich, Emil Bentley, John Fedoryk

Back row: (flag-bearers) Paul Fedoryk, Stanley Laban

If anyone knows the identify of the remaining unidentified band member, let me know, and I'll add it.

Thank you, Carol!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Group photo: Suffragettes, 1909-1910; Abstinence Union, 1906

Lorianne Stangl Burgess provided me with this wonderful photo! According to Lorianne, the group of young women standing in front of the window of the Ambridge Laundry were not laundry employees, but rather were suffragettes waiting for the beginning of a march down Merchant St.

Suffragettes in front of the Ambridge Laundry
400 block of Merchant St.
circa 1909-1910
owned by Lorianne Stangl Burgess

Here's what's written on the back of the photo: "4th 5 St., Merchant. 1909 -10. Ambridge, PA."

Suffragettes photo reverse

The Ambridge Laundry once was on the east side of the 400 block of Merchant St. as shown in the postcard below. On Walter Wacht's Ambridge Reprise site, he says the postcard photo shows a 1906 suffragette march. I can confirm that the postcard goes back to at least 1906, because the one I own is postmarked October 1906.

Suffragette Temperance march
400 block Merchant Street
postmarked Economy Pa,  October 3 1906

I've been trying for many months to try to learn more details about any suffragette marches in Ambridge, but so far, haven't been able to find anything. The hunt continues!

Update July 14, 2016:  While so far, I have found nothing definitive to explain the nature of the march shown on the above postcard, I'm increasingly leaning towards its identification as a temperance, not a suffrage, march. Maria Notarianni, who oversees the Good Samaritan Parish Archives, says that the Archives' copy of the postcard identifies the scene as the "1906 Catholic Abstinence Unions Parade."

The May 28, 1906, Pittsburgh Press says that on the previous day, the Catholic Total Abstinence Union of the Pittsburgh Diocese had held a large temperance rally in Ambridge.

Walter Wacht recently gave me the source of his identification as a suffrage march. "The picture (where ever I got it) had the caption." So there are conflicting identifications of the photo.

Here's a photo of women leaving the Ambridge train station for the temperance march:

Women arriving for temperance parade
May 27, 1906
Laughlin Memorial Library archives

Typed caption: "Assembling of the temperance parade after the arrival of delegates from the Catholic Total Abstinence Union Pittsburgh Diocese. May 27th 1906."

The back of the photo says: "May 27, 1906 - Womans (sic) Temperance League of Pgh - arriving for parade in Ambridge Pa."

Here's a photo of the arrival of men for the same march:

Men arriving for temperance parade
May 27, 1906
Laughlin Memorial Library archives

Handwritten caption at top: "May 27, 1906 - Start of a Parade from R. R. Depot. Note - Adams Express Office, Upstairs R R. Ticket Office; Amer. Bridge Co. & Suspended Arc Lamp on Corner."

Monday, January 4, 2016

Ambridge memorabilia: cartoon postcards

These five postcards are from the late Louis Vukovcan's collection. Thanks to Jackie Vukovcan for allowing Maria Notarianni to scan them and allowing me to share them here.

These postcards were generic, having nothing to do with Ambridge but the word "Ambridge." The postcard publisher would sell the same postcard in different areas, just insert another location in lieu of  "Ambridge."

I'm not sure when these particular types of cartoon postcards were popular. 1930s? I found similar cards online, but no era was given. Maybe someone with more knowledge of postcards can tell me.