Tuesday, October 31, 2017

400 block of Merchant St., 1904, 1909, 1910, and 1915

Merchant St. "Looking north from Charles St" (now 4th St.)
Vaughn Arnold collection
Laughlin Memorial Library archives

The 1904 date on this photo means it was taken the year before Ambridge was incorporated. The 400 block of Merchant was still unpaved. It appears that there were sidewalks of some kind, but dirt from the street and/or empty lot may have washed over it.

As best I can determine based on other early photos and vintage postcards, the building with the Coca-Cola sign still stands. I can't find an address on the building, but I think it would be 429 Merchant. It's the dark brick building between City Plumbing and the building at 435.

The huge painted Coca-Cola sign advertised Tingley's Pharmacy. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see "LEY'S," part of the Tingley's front sign jutting over the sidewalk. Currently, you can still see part of a faded painted sign near the top of the 429 Merchant building, but it doesn't match up with the lettering near the top of the Tingley's ad. If anyone gets down to that part of Merchant and can figure out what any visible letters might say, please let me know. Perhaps the last two letters are "UE" as they appear to be in the final two postcards below?

Note the small sign on the front corner of the Tingley's building showing that it had a Bell telephone.

I can't clearly make out what the sign says on the building to the north of Tingley's, but it may say "Laundry." There was a "Chinese laundry" near that part of the block, so that would fit.

On the opposite side of the street, the closer, three story building is no longer there. In the distance is the Ambridge Savings and Trust Company at 5th and Merchant Sts. It was later remodeled and became the beautiful Economy Bank of Ambridge, razed in 1984, and now the location of WesBanco's drive-through windows.

The 1909 postcard below gives a better look at the Tingley's ad.

400 block of Merchant St. looking north

You can still see the edge of the Coca-Cola sign in the postcard below. I can't make out the postmark year, but I'd say the card is circa 1910:

400 block of Merchant St. looking north
circa 1910

And another bit of the sign in a slightly later postcard. I wrote about the Briola Bros. grocery, shown on the right, in a June 20, 2017, blog post, "Briola Bros. store, Ambridge's first grocery":

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

You can see other early views of the 400 block of Merchant in the October 30, 2014, post, "400 block of Merchant Street: vintage views."

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