Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Ambridge Savings and Trust Co. buildings

Ambridge Savings and Trust buildings
5th and Merchant Sts.
circa 1920s
Louis Vukovcan collection
courtesy Jackie Vukovcan

The three-story, red brick Ambridge Savings and Trust Co. (AS&TC) building on the northeast corner of 5th and Merchant Sts. is reputed to have been the first building constructed on Merchant St. in Ambridge. While there were older buildings further north on Merchant, in the area of 14th St., those buildings were in built in what was still Economy, not Ambridge.

The AS&TC, advertised as "The Oldest Bank in Ambridge," was chartered in 1902, and opened for business in 1903--two years before Ambridge was incorporated.

The upper floors of the AS&TC building were the location of some historically notable Ambridge events: The organizational meeting of Ambridge's Methodist Church was held there in 1903. In January 1904, the first Roman Catholic mass in Ambridge was celebrated there. Also in 1904, the young Ambridge Citizen newspaper opened an office there.

In 1911, AS&TC built and moved into an elegant two-story limestone building next door to its first one. You can see it immediately to the left of the original building in the photo above and the postcard below.

Ambridge's first Post Office building had been on 5th St., adjacent to the back of the first AS&TC building. Sometime after AS&TC moved into its new building next door, the post office took over the older one on the corner. It didn't stay there long; by 1923, the post office had moved into a building on the southeast corner of 7th and Merchant Sts.


Ambridge's post office (right) and 1911 Ambridge Savings and Trust Co. building to the left
5th and Merchant Sts., northeast corner
circa 1920s

You can see both the original AS&TC building and the 1911 building on the right side of the photo of the intersection of 5th and Merchant Sts. in the photo below.

"COR. 5th & MERCHANT BEFORE BEING REPAVED.
NOTE THE DOUBLE TRACK AND ROUGH STREET."
5th and Merchant Sts. looking north
circa 1920s
Louis Vukovcan collection
courtesy Jackie Vukovcan

Here's what that same intersection looked like not long ago:


5th and Merchant Sts. looking north
credit: P. J. Fletcher Shotter, used with permission

According to notes left by the late local historian William (Bill) Bowan, Ambridge Savings & Trust later remodeled both the brick and limestone buildings to create a single, large Ambridge Savings & Trust headquarters building.

At one time, Ambridge Savings & Trust reportedly had the largest deposits of any bank in Beaver County (Economy Centennial Souvenir Program, 1924). Like many banks, it ran into financial trouble during the depression and reorganized in 1933. According to Bowan, it became The Economy Bank of Ambridge.

Economy Bank of Ambridge
5th and Merchant Sts., northeast corner
1967 Ambridge Bridger yearbook

That beautiful Economy Bank of Ambridge building was razed in 1984; its location is now the drive-through of WesBanco bank. The only part of the AS&TC/Economy Bank building that remains are its gates, incorporated into the Merchant St. side of the drive-through.
_____

Update February 2, 2018: I thought I should add that 
I've been puzzled about the dates of the postcard and the undated photo at the top of the blog article.

From the cars, I would have said that the postcard was older. But the postcard also shows the corner building is the post office, which as the article says, moved into the building for a few years after the Savings and Trust Co. moved out.

On the other hand, the photo shows that the Savings and Trust Co. is in the corner building. Maybe it shows a period after the Savings and Trust Co. moved back into the building before remodeling the facade and converting it and the smaller building next to it into one large building. 

2 comments:

  1. If I'm remembering correctly, this last picture is what I remember of Equibank. I worked there from January of 1976 until I move to Florida in the fall of 1977. Jim Walters was the bank manager and Roy Martin his assistant along with Pearl Balicki ... Lena Scalese ... Kathleen Stubner ...MaryKay Vukovcan ... Charlotte Loeding ... Karen Egidi ...Carol Hurta ... Michelle Sovich ...Joann Lubic ... Jeanine Santos... I know I'm missing old friends ..gosh what great memories of co-workers and customers!! Thanks for the share!!!

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  2. Dr. Carr (Dentist) was on the 2nd floor.

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