Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Lover's Lane becomes muddy Fourteenth St.

When Ambridge was still Economy, owned by the Harmony Society, a path existed on what is now 14th St. between the current Duss Ave. and Beaver Rd.

The path was lovely and tree-lined, first with the mulberry trees the Harmonists used for their silk-making, and later, apple trees. While it was formally called Mulberry Lane, then Apple Lane, it was popularly known as Lover's Lane. The Harmonists may have practiced celibacy, but that apparently didn't stop young people from romantic strolls.

Lover's Lane, Economy, PA
State Library of Pennsylvania
Old Economy Village archives

"Lover's Lane" was so beloved that a number of early postcard views of it were published.

Lover's Lane, Economy, Pa.
postmarked January 22, 1909

But that sylvan scene ended with the development of Ambridge. According to a December 26, 1916, Daily Times article, after the Liberty Land Company opened Apple Lane as a street in 1903, "the old apple trees began to decay and become scraggy. Now they are nearly all dead."

The photo below shows 14th St. after some houses were built on the former Lover's Lane, and utility poles were up, but the street was unpaved, and at the time of the photo, covered with rutted mud. Only a few straggly trees remained, near the top of the street. Above current Beaver Rd., the hill, then a part of Harmony Township, was still bare except for some trees.

The shot was taken looking east, from just above Duss Ave. The building in the right foreground appears to be the 14th St. side of the building on the southeast corner of 14th and Duss, before a rear addition was added. That building, 1398 Duss Ave., was built in 1914 according to Beaver Co. tax records.

Fourteenth St.
looking east from just above Duss Ave.
circa 1914 - 1920
John Dunn Collection

While I didn't look at the tax records for every house I could see in the photo, the records of the houses I did look up show they were built between 1906 and 1920.

Today, the street is paved with bricks, and trees again line the street, although not mulberry or apple trees.

Fourteenth St. looking east from Duss Ave.
April 16, 2016

You can read more about Economy's Lover's Lane in my February 14, 2014, blog post.

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