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Ambridge, Pennsylvania
Borough of Ambridge
The Rapp House in Old Economy Village
The Rapp House in Old Economy Village
Location in Beaver County and the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.
Location in Beaver County and the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Beaver
Settled 1824
Incorporated 1905
 • Type Borough Council
 • Total 1.70 sq mi (4.40 km2)
 • Land 1.49 sq mi (3.85 km2)
 • Water 0.21 sq mi (0.55 km2)
764 ft (233 m)
 • Total 7,050
 • Estimate 
 • Density 4,442.13/sq mi (1,714.86/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
Zip code
Area code(s) 724
FIPS code 42-02288
Website Borough of Ambridge

Ambridge is a borough in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, United States. Incorporated in 1905 as a company town by the American Bridge Company, Ambridge is located 16 miles (25 km) northwest of Pittsburgh, along the Ohio River. The population was 7,050 at the 2010 census.

Early history

The town is near the location of Legionville, the training camp for General "Mad" Anthony Wayne's Legion of the United States. Wayne's was the first attempt to provide basic training for regular U.S. Army recruits and Legionville was the first facility established expressly for this purpose.

The Harmony Society first settled the area in the early 19th century, founding the village of "Ökonomie" or Economy in 1824. Although initially successful, accumulating significant landholdings, the sect went into decline. By the end of the 19th century, only a few Harmonists remained. The Society was dissolved and its vast real estate holdings sold, much of it to the American Bridge Company, who subsequently enlarged the town and incorporated it as Ambridge in 1905.

Current day

Even though the steel mills no longer dominate the landscape, Ambridge remains the home of Old Economy Village, a National Historic Landmark administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The site interprets the Harmony Society, one of America's most successful 19th century Christian communal societies. Old Economy Village also provides public education and preservation of the Society's unique material culture. Founded by George Rapp, it was the third and final location of the Harmonites. Established in 1824, Old Economy - known to the Harmonites as "Ökonomie" - was founded upon German Pietism, which called for a higher level of purity within Christianity. Soon the Harmonites were not only known for their piety, but also for their production of wool, cotton, and silk. As a pioneer in the American silk industry, Economy became known as the American silk center in the 1830s and 1840s. Today, the site maintains seventeen carefully restored structures and gardens that were built between 1824 and 1830. The buildings reflect the unusual life style of the organization, which, by the 1840s, was well renowned for its economic success in textile production. The site also portrays the community's involvement with agricultural production, railroads, and oil. The recreated gardens encompass more than 2 acres (8,100 m2), providing colorful 19th century flowers. The gardens' formal pathways, stone pavilion, and seasonal flowering hedges are among the striking features. Old Economy's buildings, grounds, library, archives and 16,000 original artifacts are fused to create an interpretive facility for the Commonwealth.

Although the different ethnic groups of Ambridge have blended over time, the community continues to recognize the origins from which it came. Since 1966, Ambridge has held an annual heritage festival celebrating the borough's ethnic pride. Diversity in food, music, and entertainment continues to unite the community in remembering its origins. Organized by the Ambridge Chamber of Commerce, the three-day Nationality Days festival takes place in May and is located in the heart of the downtown Commercial District. Vendors line the center of Merchant Street as thousands of attendees – locals and tourists – enjoy Italian, Ukrainian, Greek, Polish, German, Croatian, and Slovenian cuisine. Booths are sponsored by numerous churches in Ambridge, bringing with them the recipes for their cultural dishes such as pirohy, haluski, stuffed cabbage, and borscht. Live entertainment, arts and crafts, and children's activities are also available. Thousands visit this festival daily (located on Merchant Street from 4th Street to 8th Street).

Ambridge PA Presby PHS16
Presbyterian church in Ambridge from a pre-1923 postcard

With Ambridge now over 100 years old, revitalization is beginning to occur along Merchant Street in the Downtown Commercial District. Entrepreneurs and investors have begun to renovate the Victorian facades of the commercial storefronts. Antique shops are opening in the Historic District, which is also a National Historic Landmark, and a once industrial warehouse area is being converted to condominiums, shops, and parks. In 2007 Ambridge was designated as a Preserve America Community by the White House. Convenient to Pittsburgh along the Ohio River Boulevard and just across the Ohio River from the Pittsburgh Airport, Ambridge leaders hope it will benefit by its location and low cost of living.


Ambridge is located at 40°35′35″N 80°13′31″W / 40.59306°N 80.22528°W / 40.59306; -80.22528 (40.593167, -80.225200), along the Ohio River.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.7 square miles (4.4 km2), of which 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km2) (12.87%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 5,205
1920 12,730 144.6%
1930 20,227 58.9%
1940 18,968 −6.2%
1950 16,429 −13.4%
1960 13,865 −15.6%
1970 11,324 −18.3%
1980 9,575 −15.4%
1990 8,133 −15.1%
2000 7,769 −4.5%
2010 7,050 −9.3%
2019 (est.) 6,601 −6.4%

As of the census of 2000, there were 7,769 people, 3,595 households, and 1,966 families residing in the borough. The population density was 5,179.3 people per square mile (2,044.5/km²). There were 4,099 housing units at an average density of 2,760.9 per square mile (1,069.3/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 85.69% White, 11.38% African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.45% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.73% from other races, and 1.66% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.83% of the population.

There were 3,595 households, out of which 23.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.6% were married couples living together, 16.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.3% were non-families. 39.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 18.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.14 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the borough the population was spread out, with 21.7% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 23.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.9 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $26,263, and the median income for a family was $35,529. Males had a median income of $30,996 versus $21,455 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $15,089. About 16.4% of families and 17.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.3% of those under age 18 and 14.1% of those age 65 or over.


The town is served by the Ambridge Area School District. The town's high school is Ambridge Area High School. Students and citizens, are known by the locals as "Bridgers", which is also the name of the football team.

Ambridge is also home to Trinity School for Ministry, an evangelical seminary in the Anglican tradition.

Notable people

  • Richard D. Adams, U.S. Navy Admiral and first husband of actress Martha O'Driscoll
  • Dennis Wuycik, Former ABA professional basketball player, played for the University of North Carolina under Head Coach, Dean Smith

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Ambridge para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Influential Hispanic activists
Janet Murguía
Nelson Merced
Jovita Idar
Dolores Huerta
María Teresa Kumar
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