Wednesday, March 23, 2016

700 block of Merchant St., 1953

I was asked if I had a photo of the huge Caplan's Wholesale Grocers store that once stood on the southeast corner of 8th and Merchant Sts. I haven't found a photo of the store alone, but I did have this great 1953 Daily Times photo of the 700 block of Merchant showing part of the front facade of Caplan's on the left; it's the big light building:

700 block of Merchant St., looking south from 8th St.
Daily Times,
October 3, 1953

Original Times caption:
MAIN STREET OF AMBRIDGE BOROUGH -- This is Merchant Street, the main thorofare of Ambridge, shown from Eighth Street, looking south towards Leetsdale. Most of the main business establishments front the appropriately named street. The borough's two theaters are shown in the 700 block.

Over the years, Caplan's may have changed its paint color. Some folks remember it as being green, others blue.

I didn't have reason to go into Caplan's too often, but I remember going in to get supplies for the Recreation Center Summer Playground Program's carnival when I worked as the playground leader there and for my bridal shower. While those events were held during the same summer, they were not simultaneous. Although combining the two might have been fun.

On the right hand side of the photo, you can see the State Theatre marquee. The Ambridge Theatre is further up the street on the left side, but is harder to make out as that part of the photo is so dark.

The CVS parking lot is now where Caplan's once stood.

You can see a 1922 photo of that same intersection, when Caplan's building was the location of the Martsolf Furniture store, in my April 24, 2014 blog post "Eighth and Merchant Streets, 1922."

If you're interested in learning more about the State Theatre, check my February 26, 2014 post, "The State Theatre."


  1. Thank you for sharing your pictures. Times look a lot different now looks fun in the 50s

  2. Thank you for sharing your pictures. Times look a lot different now looks fun in the 50s

  3. Thanks for sharing. I was born in 1953, so it takes on a special memory. Not that I remembered, but it's nice to see what the town looked like the year I was born.

  4. jd aka john domansky

    the 1st 2 business stores on left after kaplans are, donatellis pharmacy & buffalinis tavern- bar, ambridge theater marquee is a little dark, but visible, all 4 theaters in town, changed movies twice week, so you had a lot of choices, those 4 were where i spent much time. for a while in the late 30s we lived next building from ambridge hotel, north. back 1st floor apt.

    1. I wrote about Donatelli's, business name Ambridge Pharmacy, on January 24, 2014. One of the best Art Deco facades in Ambridge, gone, now part of the CVS parking lot.

      I keep forgetting to tell Bob Mikush that you once lived in an apartment in the building where Mikush Magtag is now, 811 Merchant.