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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Ambridge's Bank St. homes

Some Bank St. homes
"Housing conditions in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, home of the American Bridge Company"
Arthur Rothstein
1938
Library of Congress

Homes were built along the northern bank of Big Sewickley Creek in southwest Ambridge from Ambridge's earliest days, before "Bank St." existed.

At some point between 1911 and 1917, Ambridge constructed Bank St. between those homes and the bank of Big Sewickley Creek. The new street ran parallel with the 100 and 200 blocks of First St. and was connected with First St. via the driveway to the Borough's garbage incinerator and dump. When Bank St. was built, the driveway became an extension of Maplewood Ave.

In the aerial photo below, the arrows indicate the location of the Bank St. homes. West (toward the Ohio River) is at the top of the photo. You can see an American Bridge Co. building near the very top. The street running vertically with vehicles parked on it is First St.  Merchant St. is the street that runs horizontally above the triangular shaped building. Park Rd. is the uppermost horizontal street; Ohio River Blvd. hasn't been extended into Ambridge yet, although it may be under construction. In the left bottom corner, you can see a vehicle about to leave Beaver County and drive across the bridge over Big Sewickley Creek to Allegheny County. You can see more of the creek in the upper left as it wends itself towards the Ohio River, flowing under a railroad bridge, then under the railroad tracks between American Bridge and the rest of Ambridge.

Aerial of Ambridge's First St. neighborhood
1945
U.S. War Department
Laughlin Memorial Library archives

Now, although Ambridge still has a Bank St., the homes are gone, razed, along with First St.'s former homes and businesses, in the name of renewal and redevelopment.

Bank St. sign
Ambridge
September 28, 2014
credit Nancy Knisley

The following undated photos are from the late Louis Vukovcan's collection of historic Ambridge photos. The notes on the photos are his. The photos are courtesy of Stacey Brock.

As you can guess from the photos, Ambridge's wealthier residents didn't opt to live on Bank St.

"Left End Bank Street"
(closest to Ohio River Blvd.)
circa 1970
Louis Vukovcan collection
Used with permission

You can see a bit of the American Bridge plant on the far left background.

"Left End Bank St."
circa 1970
Louis Vukovcan collection
Used with permission

A view of Bank St. looking towards the northeast. The arrow points to what was then Maplewood Ave. between First and Bank Sts. I think the other notation says "Truth Home Bank St."

A northeastern view of Bank St.
circa 1970
Louis Vukovcan collection
used with permission

Unfortunately, the note on the left side of the photo is cut off at the top, and I'm not sure what the note above the three story tenement says.

"Right End Bank St."
circa 1970
Louis Vukovcan collection
used with permission

Google maps and Ambridge Borough disagree on what the road that connects First St. and Bank St. is currently called.  The Borough says Bank St. now intersects with First, at least on the street sign.

Street sign at the intersection of First and Bank Sts.
looking east on First.
September 28, 2014
credit Nancy Knisley

Google maps says it's still named Maplewood Ave. Here's the most recent Google maps satellite view of the First and Bank St. areas.

Google Map satellite view showing Bank and First Sts.
2016

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