Sunday, October 8, 2017

Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, 1948 - 1981

Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses
1026 Melrose Ave.
Daily Citizen
August 25, 1954

Daily Citizen caption:
KINGDOM HALL -- Jehovah's Witnesses gather each Tuesday, Friday and Sunday evenings at Kingdom Hall, Melrose Ave., Ambridge to study and discuss the Bible. The congregation number approximately 150. To be a members (sic) of the congregation one must go forth and preach from the Bible unless one preaches he or she is considered a visitor of the congregation and not a member. The group meets each Sunday morning, at Kingdom Hall, at 9:30 a. m. and leaves at 10:00 a. m. on a round of Bible preaching--they also go forth on other mornings to perform similar instruction. All members of the congregation are preachers and a group of special servants direct the teachings, handle business matters and conduct the affairs of the group. Robert Marciniak is the congregation servant in Ambridge. The local group erected the Melrose Ave., edifice.
The congregation started in Ambridge in 1924, at first meeting in private homes, later in rented halls on 5th St. and at 1133 Merchant St. In 1948, the members of the congregation built the Kingdom Hall building at 1026 Melrose Ave. in 60 days. (Spang-Chalfant newsletter, Nov. 1957, "Featuring the Ambridge Churches.")

The Melrose Ave. building was a one-story, light red brick building. Built on a single narrow but deep lot, the design of Kingdom Hall made the most of the space available, covering almost the entire lot except for a little bit of a front yard. A woman who had gone there said that because the building wasn't very wide, but it was really deep, the interior made her think it looked like a bowling alley.

The congregation moved to its present building, constructed by volunteers, in the Fair Oaks section of Leet Township at 194 Ambridge Ave. in 1981.

I remembered the Melrose Ave. Kingdom Hall and wondered what had happened to it. I didn't see it when I visited Melrose on one of my trips back to Ambridge. The building now at 1026 Melrose Ave. didn't look at all like Kingdom Hall. Was it razed after the congregation moved to Leet Township?

It was only after I looked at a satellite view of the building at 1026 showing a narrow, but very deep building on the lot, that I realized that Kingdom Hall had been hiding in plain sight, disguised as a two-story apartment building with a modern facade and an extension towards the sidewalk on the left-hand side. The only feature visible from the front that gives a clue that it was once Kingdom Hall, is the original right-side front window.

1026 Melrose Ave.
March 27, 2014

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