Thursday, June 22, 2017

Luce Hardware & Supply, Metz 22 ad, 1912

I really like vintage newspaper ads and am especially delighted when I find something unexpected--like Ambridge's Luce Hardware and Supply Co.'s 1912 ad for a Metz 22 car. Imagine going to your local Do It Best for some picture hooks, potting soil, and a new car.

Luce Hardware & Supply Co. ad for the Metz 22
Daily Times
March 28, 1912

The advertised 28 - 32 MPG isn't bad, but that "100 miles on a pint of lubricating oil" is a bit of a negative. On the plus side, the Metz 22's guaranteed hill-climbing performance would be a real asset in Ambridge.

As far as I know, Luce Hardware & Supply Co. opened in 1905. I don't know when it closed. I also don't have a street address.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Briola Bros. store, Merchant Street's first grocery

Frank and Michael Briola owned a grocery at 422 - 424 Merchant St., as well as an ice plant on 10th and Melrose Ave. According to the 1924 Economy Centennial book, Economy of Old, Ambridge of Today, the Briola Bros. store was built in 1903, the first and largest grocery store on Merchant St.

The photo below shows what the interior of the store looked like in 1908. I know relatives of Frank and Michael Briola still live in the Ambridge area. Can anyone help identify the people in the photo?

Interior of Briola Bros. Grocery Store
422 - 424 Merchant St.
courtesy Borough of Ambridge

 Here's a 1904 ad from Sewickley's Weekly Herald:

Briola Brothers grocery ad
Weekly Herald
January 2, 1904

And here's an ad, also from 1904, that ran in the Ambridge Economy Citizen:

Briola Bros. groceries ad
Ambridge Economy Citizen
December 16, 1904

You can see part of the Briola Bros. store on the right side of this postcard:

400 block of Merchant St. looking north
dated Sept. 9, 1915

After the Biola Bros. store closed, it was occupied by an OK Grocery, Tile City, and most recently, Tim Cassidy Construction.

This is what 422 - 424 Merchant St. looked like in 2014:

422 - 424 Merchant St.
March 30, 2014

I don't know yet when the Briola Bros. store closed. I'll update this post if I find that information.

I'll write about the Briola Ice Plant in another post.

Here's the reverse of the postcard above:

reverse of postcard above

Sunday, June 4, 2017

American Bridge Co. produces Americans

Beginning in 1903, when the American Bridge Company started building its massive steel fabrication plant on land that would later become part of Ambridge, immigrants poured into the area, first to build the plant, then to work in it. American Bridge became a part of the melting pot which turned the immigrants who worked for the company into Americans.

"Americanization Class of Ambridge Plant School on their way for their 1st Papers"
Courtesy Laughlin Memorial Library archives
circa early 1900s

While most of the new immigrants came from Eastern and Southern Europe, in the 1924 Economy Centennial book, Economy of Old and Ambridge of Today, St. Stanislaus Catholic Church pastor, Father Stanislaus R. Labujewski, is quoted (spelling as in original):
Ambridge is the most cosmopolitan town in America. Representatives of various nations reside here, and, probably, no other city can boast of having such a polyglot population. Each of these nationalities below cited, speak their own language, as well as that of their adopted country.  
American, Polish, Scotch, Italian, Slovak, Ukraiian, German, Irish, Greek, Russian, Croatian, English, Lithuanian, Spanish, Belgian, Roumanian, Serbian, Slavonian, Austrian, Canadian, Bulgarian, French, Armenin, Swede, Norwegian, Bohemian, Egyptian, Turk, Portugese, Porto Rican, Argentinean, Danish, Arabian, Finlander, Swiss, Welshman, Brazil, Mexican, Slovenian, Albanian, Negro, Dalmatian, Montenegrin, Jew, Bosnian, Hollander, Esthonian, Hungarian, Chinese, Japanese.

American Bridge offered a variety of classes to its workers and their families, some work-related like drafting, and others meant to turn immigrants, many who could not speak English when they arrived in Ambridge, into Americans.

"Class in English for Foreigners, Ambridge Plant School"
Courtesy Laughlin Memorial Library archives
circa early 1900s

And then these immigrants who became Americans helped to build America.