Saturday, August 13, 2016

Ambridge Library in Ambridge Hotel, 1925

Before Alexander Laughlin, Sr., the owner of Ambridge's Central Tube Company, built the magnificent Laughlin Memorial Library as a tribute to his late son, Alexander Laughlin, Jr., the Ambridge Woman's Club had established reading rooms to serve the community.

The first reading room was at 462 Maplewood Ave., in a building that still stands, currently being used as a residence. As the number of books and borrowers grew, the space on Maplewood became too crowded. So in 1920, the library moved to space in the large Ambridge Hotel on the corner of 8th and Merchant Sts.

According to information furnished by the Borough of Ambridge, the photo below shows the interior of the library in the Ambridge Hotel in 1925.

Ambridge Library interior
Ambridge Hotel, 8th and Merchant Sts.
courtesy Borough of Ambridge

Around 1928, members of the Woman's Club approached Laughlin, Sr., for a donation to help fund the reading room in the hotel. He did something better; he built and gave to Ambridge the impressive library building that stands on 11th St. between Maplewood Ave. and Church St.

Update: October 25, 2016:

In the Daily Citizen's 50th Anniversary edition, June 25, 1954, it reprinted this old news snippet from 1920:
The I.O.O.F. which recently purchased the Hotel Ambridge has offered to rent the bar room for a library room at $60 per month and the executive committee of the Woman's Club voted to accept.
I'd guess the bar room became available after prohibition began in January 1920.

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