Genießen Sie diesen Titel jetzt und Millionen mehr, in einer kostenlosen Testversion

Kostenlos für 30 Tage, dann für $9.99/Monat. Jederzeit kündbar.

Ambridge

Ambridge

Vorschau lesen

Ambridge

Länge:
174 Seiten
1 Stunde
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Apr 14, 2008
ISBN:
9781439619865
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

In 1905, the German religious settlement of Economy changed forever from what its charismatic founder had planned in 1824. Built to await the Second Coming, Economy was passed from the hands of the moribund Harmony Society to the American Bridge division of United States Steel Corporation. The new owners renamed the town Ambridge. As the mill town burst into life, the population spiked from 600 to approximately 37,000 by 1945. Inevitably, Ambridge felt the collapse of big steel. In the 1750s, this land along the Ohio River held Log Town, which was a meeting place for Colonial and Native American leaders. Later there was Legionville, where Gen. Anthony Wayne trained American troops during the early Indian wars. This was followed by the final home of a utopian society and one of the largest mill complexes of the 20th century. Through vintage photographs, Ambridge chronicles the diverse history and evolution of this community.
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Apr 14, 2008
ISBN:
9781439619865
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor

Larry R. Slater, a trained archivist and historian, owns a market research consultancy in Pittsburgh. Photographs for this book came largely from the archives of Old Economy Village and the Laughlin Memorial Library.


Ähnlich wie Ambridge

Ähnliche Bücher

Ähnliche Artikel

Buchvorschau

Ambridge - Larry R. Slater

encouraging.

INTRODUCTION

The town of Ambridge in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, defies one to describe it neatly in a 10-words-or-less format. Sprawling along the Ohio River some 12 miles from Pittsburgh, it has been a meeting place for Native American and Colonial leaders, a military encampment during the Federalist period, the third and final home for a unique and somewhat mysterious German millennial society, and the site of an industrial goliath owned by United States Steel Corporation that employed thousands and was key both to the nation’s war efforts, to the construction and repair of bridges coast to coast, and to the manufacture of metals-making machinery.

Ambridge is now in the long and often painful process of reinventing itself, like so many of western Pennsylvania’s former steel towns. Even now it defies a neat description. Is it dying, one more municipality in a region choked with too many municipalities, or trying to find itself as part tourist destination and part center for smaller, creative businesses? This depends on who one asks.

The very founding of the town is a lesson in ambiguity. Ask four different Ambridge residents today when their town was founded and you may get four different answers. During the 1750s, a nearby strip of land was known as Log Town, a place where Native American leaders met with Colonial officials, traders, and land speculators. In 1792, Gen. Mad Anthony Wayne established Legionville on or near what is now part of Ambridge. Wayne drilled the men of Legion of the United States here before leading them into Ohio and a crushing victory over a Native American coalition at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. That victory opened Ohio for settlement by citizens of the westward-focused republic.

By 1824, the Harmony Society, from Württemberg, Germany, bought much of the land to form Economy (Oekonomie), a community of largely celibate millennial Christians. Under their charismatic leader Father George Rapp, the Harmonists confidently awaited the Second Coming in this third and final of their settlements. Unfortunately for the hopes of the Harmonists, the second coming turned out to be the coming of early-20th-century industry in all its raw, crushing, and majestic power.

In 1905, long after most of the pious believers had died, the last two trustees of the society sold the entire town to the American Bridge division of the newly formed United States Steel Corporation. The world’s first billion-dollar company, U.S. Steel found the perfect place for a bridge, girder, and military equipment operation with water frontage and plenty of room for rail. The American Bridge Company, the division, became Ambridge, the town.

This book chronicles the roughly 150-year economic boom that defined Economy/Ambridge. The final pages also chronicle the economic bust that brought Ambridge and every other metals industry town in the Pittsburgh region to a shuddering halt and into a long process of decay. The collapse of several interlocking industries, the migration of a significant portion of the borough’s younger working population to other states and cities, and the decay of core institutions and infrastructure is hardly the end of the story or of Ambridge.

No one expects Ambridge to come booming back to its mid-20th-century industrial powerhouse days. For one thing, those days are long gone for most former western Pennsylvania mill towns. For another, any population in 2008 that hopes that the revitalization of its town rests with a single company or industry is a population locked in a time warp. Does all of this mean that Ambridge is stuck in perpetual decline? Hardly. Any spot in America that can boast roughly 250 years of continuous habitation is not down for the count by any means.

What remain are a unique multibuilding living history museum and a growing historic district, which draws regional and national tourists, historians, architects, and planners to the area—a core of homegrown entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs drawn from other states and countries who are investing time, talent, and treasure to bring viable small businesses to easily reached urban neighborhoods. What remains, then, is a bit of everything it takes—save perhaps sufficient seed capital as well as the genuine inclusion of diverse populations and workforces that are essential to bring everyone’s ideas to the table. All in all, once each of these elements is present and working in tandem, not a bad start for a comeback.

One

ECONOMY AND THE HARMONY SOCIETY

The story of Economy, the final home of the millennial Harmony Society, can quickly be told in four images. Of course there is far more to tell, as one will see later. The town began as a communal religious experiment built on farming and investments in 19th-century industry. By 1905, this same community gave birth to Ambridge, a town that owed its growth and relative prosperity to the United States Steel Corporation. Naturally the story is more complicated than that. Four carefully chosen images, however, show the growth and death of this settlement of largely celibate German communalists. In the beginning were the fields and the orchards, and the Lord’s anointed (George Rapp) saw that they were good.

Celibacy, although the rule of the society, was enforced with a relatively light hand. Many Harmonists who began following Father George Rapp in Germany, for example, were already married with families. Those faithful were grandfathered in once celibacy was adopted. Rapp himself was a widower with a daughter, Gertrude. He also adopted Frederick Rapp as a son. Both in Germany and the United States, families or married couples who elected to join the society were also allowed to do so.

Gardens, harvested fields, and vines were central to Harmony Society culture, even while the trustees regularly reviewed 19th-century industry for good investments. Rapp had begun his working life as a vine dresser in the German vineyards, and many of the original society members were also agricultural. Economy was a town surrounded by tilled fields, while many family and communal dwellings both had their own kitchen gardens

Sie haben das Ende dieser Vorschau erreicht. Registrieren Sie sich, um mehr zu lesen!
Seite 1 von 1

Rezensionen

Was die anderen über Ambridge denken

0
0 Bewertungen / 0 Rezensionen
Wie hat es Ihnen gefallen?
Bewertung: 0 von 5 Sternen

Leser-Rezensionen