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.

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