Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Miss America visits Ambridge, 1927

In 1927, Miss America visited Ambridge. In the photo below, taken at the Mackintosh-Craven Garage, Miss America is on the right. Her companion was Miss Ambridge, Stella Fallieras Bellas. The Maple Restaurant's Tom Pappas told me that Stella Bellas, his great-aunt, was the first Miss Ambridge.

Stella Fallieras Bellas and Miss America
in front of Mackintosh-Craven Garage
300 block of Merchant St.
 April 1927
Laughlin Memorial Library archives

The August 15, 1983, Beaver County Times had a "Looking Back" article about this photo. The article said that during a 1927 nationwide tour, Miss America stopped in Ambridge for the I.O.O.F. (Odd Fellows) follies and a merchants' promotion.

Although the Times article said the Miss America in the photo was either 1926's Norma Smallwood, Miss Tulsa, or 1927's Lois Delander (misspelled Delaner in the article), I believe it must be Miss Smallwood, since the Miss America Pageant was held in September, so the 1927 Miss America wouldn't have been crowned yet.

The Times article said that the photo was taken during the summer of 1927. However, another photo of the two women, obviously taken during the same visit, is marked April 1927:

Miss America and Stella Fallieras Bellas
Ambridge Country Club?
April 19?, 1927
Laughlin Memorial Library archives

I think the women's clothing is more appropriate for April than the summer, so I'm inclined to think the April date is accurate.

According to the Times article, the garage provided the Buick in the photo for Miss America to use during her visit.

Here's a better view of the car parked at the Ambridge Country Club. The sign in the window says "Miss America, I.O.O.F. Follies."

Miss America and Stella Fallieras Bellas (in car)
Ambridge County Club
April 1927
Laughlin Memorial Library archives

The garage building is still standing in Ambridge, but much altered. Many may remember it as the former Taylor's Dairy building. Currently, the building is the location of Creekside Springs bottled water company.

Taylor's Dairy
Intersection of Duss Ave. and Merchant St.
Beaver Valley Times
February 13, 1954

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