Monday, April 24, 2017

Ambridge alley between 6th and 7th Sts., 1904

"Rear of tenement row from alley between 6th and 7th"
Vaughn Arnold collection
Laughlin Memorial Library archives

Leafing through a copy of a special section of the "Old Economy - Ambridge Sesquicentennial Edition" of the South News, published August 15, 1974, I found some information about this photo. Vaughn Arnold, once the owner of Ambridge's Daily Citizen, supplied the photo to the paper, and I assume the description may have come from him.
This is the rear view of a row of apartment houses as seen from the alley between 6th and 7th Sts. The building to the extreme left, in the background, housed a grocery store operated by Shippam and Campbell, who was a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds.
I believe the "alley between 6th and 7th" was "Alley No. 3" on old maps, running between Merchant St. and Melrose Ave. The "tenement row" may be some of the still-existing row homes on the west side of the 600 block of Melrose. Could the frame house at the far end of the row be 653 Melrose?

This photo and others from the same era show that when it began, Ambridge was a pretty messy place, hardly the picturesque new Marvel City described in early ads.

As far as the "pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds" goes, the only pitcher named Campbell I've found who played for that team in the appropriate era was Billy Campbell, who was born in Pittsburgh and played for the Reds 1905 - 1909, but I don't know if he ever owned a store in Ambridge. If anyone can positively identify the Campbell referred to in the photo's description, please let me know.

The copy of the special Sesquicentennial section belonged to the late Eddie Dzubak, Sr. Thanks to his daughter, Lesabeth Trzcianka, for giving it to me.

Update April 28, 2017:
Looking at the 1905 Sanborn Insurance map of Ambridge, I think the Shippam and Campbell grocery store was most likely at 654 Merchant St. (The street numbers for that building was 635 in 1905, but Ambridge renumbered the buildings on Merchant in 1917; 635 became 654.)

The large building with the advertising on the left side of the alley was probably a stable.

I've also found that Campbell's first name was "William," which supports his being Billy Campbell, Reds pitcher.

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