The Borough of Ambridge may not have existed without the occurrence of two significant events — the formation of the American Bridge Company in 1900 and the dissolution of the Harmony Society in 1905. As a result, shortly after the turn of the 20th century, a sparsely populated area of land along the Ohio River, known as Economy Township, would be transformed from a quiet, rural, agricultural community into a bustling, industrial town.
The American Bridge Company was the result of a merger between twenty-eight small bridge and structural steel companies in 1900. After its formation, a search soon began for a location where the Company could build a large manufacturing complex and have easy access to water and rail transportation. The Company also wanted enough land to build housing for its workers and attract the large number of immigrants who were streaming into Pittsburgh. American Bridge found an ideal location when it purchased 2,500 acres from the Society in 1903.
Fourteen large manufacturing buildings soon changed the landscape along this peaceful section of the Ohio River. Affordable housing for the workers was built on the available land, and American Bridge formed a real estate company to buy up vacant lots in the old village and build more houses. American Bridge’s goal of over 4000 workers and a monthly payroll of $250,000 was achieved shortly after operations began. American Bridge, a division of U.S. Steel, was a pioneer in the construction of river barges and a leader in the fabrication of suspension bridges. The Verrazano Narrows Bridge in New York, the longest suspension bridge in the world, and the San-Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge were both fabricated in Ambridge.