The Story of Ambridge

///The Story of Ambridge
The Story of Ambridge 2017-03-07T16:37:37-05:00

bridge_250The Empire State Building in New York and the Sears Tower in Chicago were also the work of American Bridge. While American Bridge affected the skylines of cities all over the world, its impact was not lost locally; Three Rivers Stadium and the Civic Arena were fabricated and erected by American Bridge. In 1926, a unique partnership between American Bridge and Jones & Laughlin Steel in Aliquippa built the Ambridge-Aliquippa Bridge over the Ohio River to connect the two communities. The Borough of Ambridge was incorporated in 1905, named for the company that built it and brought it into the industrial age.

band_250Ambridge prospered and by 1930 had a population of over 20,000 people. Unlike many company-built towns, the workers of Ambridge became property owners quickly. Over 60% of the population was foreign born; they worked hard and saved their money. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recognized the residents of Ambridge for their thrift. For a borough of its size, it had the largest number of dollars per capita invested in savings and loans. American Bridge erected a large sign, calling itself and Ambridge the “Largest Bridge and Structural Steel Center in the World.” Its impact on the world cannot be denied, but its impact on the lives of thousands of people living in this small area of Beaver County is very important. Many first- and second-generation Americans were able to achieve the “American Dream” of financial security.

kristufek_250In 1983, the economic relationship between Ambridge and American Bridge ended when the company ceased operations in Ambridge. Like the Harmony Society before it, American Bridge did not disappear over night. The oil embargo of the 1970’s and the importation of foreign steel gradually eroded the profitability of the Ambridge plant. This devastating blow to the economy of Ambridge is still viewed with mixed feelings. Like many other towns along the rivers of Western Pennsylvania, Ambridge is building a new identity and diversifying its economic base.