Friday, May 19, 2017

Melrose Ave., 1911 postcard

"Melrose Avenue Looking West, Ambridge, Pa."
500 block of Melrose looking north
postmarked September 28, 1911

I always think of Melrose Ave. as a north-south street, but I'll grant it actually does run somewhat northwest-ish and southeast-ish, especially at its southern end. Some early postcards of Merchant St. also say they look "west," rather than what most of us would call north.

To the best I can determine, the postcard shows the 500 block of Melrose. I say that because of the style of house on both sides of the street. While the 400 and 600 blocks of Melrose have similar homes on the east (even) sides of the street, neither of those blocks have them on the west side, either now or in 1911.

At the far end of the scene, there appears to be a smokestack, and beyond, a tall hill. The hill must be on the other side of the Ohio River, but the smokestack baffled me. I couldn't think of any Ambridge mill that could have been visible from Melrose like that. I've finally decided that it can only be the huge J&L smokestack, also across the Ohio, in the area that would eventually be called Aliquippa.

If you think I've gotten the block and/or the smokestack location wrong, please leave a comment with an explanation.

Here's a scan of the reverse side of the postcard. The information on the far left side says, "No. M 1267. Pub. and controlled by Stephen G. Horlick, Newsdealer, Ambridge, Pa." You can read about Steve Horlick in the December 3, 2016, blog post, "Steve Horlick and his stores."

reverse of postcard

Here are links to other Ambridge Memories articles with early scenes of Melrose:

Then and now: 400 block Melrose Ave.

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


  1. Hi, Nancy. I just discovered your blog this week. My name is Sheila Barry (not Mary Agnes Kennedy, that was my grandmother), and live in California. My mother, Ruth Goddard (Barry) grew up in Ambridge, went to Ambridge High. I have cousins who grew up there, the Wolfs. I think my cousin, Bill Wolf, still lives in the area with his wife Clay. My great uncles worked for the steel mill there. I found your blog because, on a whim, I googled Walt's, Ambridge, just to see if something would come up. Walt's was a restaurant my grandparents had for a few years in Ambridge. It was a diner, and my grandmother said they served the first hamburgers in the area. My grandmother did the cooking including making pies, I believe. This would have been in the 1930s, I think.
    They sold the diner and bought a chicken pie business. They bought the chicken pie business with another couple who were their partners, and they all worked in the shop together. They only had one other employee. But the local union organizers wanted that employee to be in the union. One night, the front window of the pie shop was smashed and all of their equipment smashed as well. They had no insurance so that was the end of the business.

    I looked to see if there was any reference to Walt's on your blog. Too long ago. Anyway, I am going to share the blog with my sister who is very into geneology and family history. Thank you.

    Sheila Barry

    1. I have two entries for "Walt's" on the "Ambridge List of Lists" page (listed near the top of the menu on the left side of this page.)

      One is Walt's Bar, 600 Melrose Ave. and the other is Walt's Sandwich Shop, 763 Merchant St. Could one of these be your grandparents' restaurant?

      I'd have to hunt through my notes to find out when these businesses were in Ambridge. I can't say when I'll find time to be able to do that.

      The "chicken pie business" has me stumped. Do you have any more information about it?

      The 1930s isn't "too long ago" for this blog as it covers Ambridge history before 1971.