Over the weekend I got an amazing email from Tom Schneck. It included this rare photo of his uncle Floyd Shimalla driving around in the first Manville Police car. If you recognize the name Floyd Shimalla that’s because he was Manvilles first constable and is featured in the pretty famous “First Manville Administration” photo that is on display at the Manville Library. I also posted it on this site… you can see it HERE. According to Tom he was also a professional Heavyweight boxer, which I actually was not aware of, but if you ask me is pretty good experience if you are about to serve as the only constable for a brand new town. Anyway, this photo is dated 1929. I’m not sure what that building is in the background there… anyone know? Thanks so much Tom, for this great photo! Here is the back of the photo…
Whelp, it’s been a while since I posted up a new digital issue of the Old Manville News, so here you go. November 28th, 1941. I still feel slightly unaccomplished at not finishing out the whole year of 1941 yet, but this stuff is a lot of work. Anyway we have a few car accidents here, the continued labor negotiations with the Johns Manville plant, and the confirmation of Manville’s great sewage facilities. I hope you enjoy this issue… we are almost up to 1942! Here is a link. Manville News 11-28-1941 OCR
Old Main St. Flood • Click to Enlarge
You know sometimes a photo is just a photo, and this photo is just a great old photo, albeit a blurry one of an old flood. This is Main Street looking south towards the old Weston Station, and the old, long since been replaced crooked tunnel.
I didn’t make this post to talk about floods. I did it to say thanks. I started this blog at the end of 2009 with absolutely no expectations that people would actually care. I did figure that it would generate minor interest from a few folks around the neighborhood, but taking a look at the stats I realized that it’s pretty incredible.
A blog about a tiny town, 2 square miles small, that generates views from every country in the world. Even Today we helped someone in Slovakia find info about their families home in Manville.
Just today viewers also checked in from Indonesia, Phillipines, Canada, Denmark, UK, & Slovakia. I even have a map of the hot viewer areas, and Alaska checks in as much as the mainland. This site has been viewed 128,397 times. Today we hit 1000 comments for only 133 posts. There are 74 subscribing members. All those stats do not even include the people that read through rss feeds and email notifications.
These are all mind boggling statistics, and here’s the best part. The participation from the readers, all the info in the comments, all the submissions, and all the siblings showing the site to their elders to help pass down the information are the very things that make this site great. So I just wanted to take a moment to share those statistics and thoughts… and to just say thanks for continuing to breathe life into this thing. It’s been an awesome ride so far… I’m looking forward to some more good years.
I just got an email from a person in Slovakia doing genealogical research & asking if I would help get some information on the Dobak family. They sent over this photo of the family house on Florida Ave. in Manville. Block 22. It will enlarge if you click on it.
Here’s what I do know… a number of streets, particularly on the North side of town used to be named after states. So I know the following streets former names….
Rhode Island Ave became North 7th ave
Louisiana Ave became North 8th ave
Kentucky Ave became North 9th ave
Here are few important questions…
#1 What is the current street name for what used to be Florida Ave.?
#2 Does anyone know or remember the above house?
Hello everyone, I was just checking out my buddy Gary Carmon’s Manville site carmonsandusky.com and noticed he put up some great new photos. While we were on the topic of old signs and storefronts I decided to lift a few. These all came from Neal Ranauro’s Manville photo archive, and I’m not sure how I missed these when I was looking through them, but they are great. You can click on the photos to enlarge them.
First is this great photo of the Chester House. If you enlarge it and go to the right of the photo you can see the old Gamby’s Diner at the future site of Quick Check, and Charlie’s Resturant in the back there.
This next photo is a little further down Main St. Starting at Quigleys Bike Shop. The Quigley’s building in now the home of The Grub Hut, but back in the day it was like the great bike shop in town that was famous for the giant tangled bike heap that sat in the middle of the front room. As a kid I remember being slightly afraid to go in there in fear of a bike avalanche and a slow agonizing 8 year old death. I’m still looking for good photos of that place if anyone has any. Anyway you can see the great Liccardi Motors lot in the back there. I’m not sure what year that disappeared, but I totally do not remember it. Looks awesome though. I’m sure it was an asset to an evening drive down the strip in it’s day. You can also see the old corner Sunoco Station way in the back there. Oh and speaking of great advertising… how about the 24 hour milk dispensary. I wonder whatever became of those amazing old signs.
The next photo is more of a birds eye, and was taken out of one of the JM office windows, where Ranauro worked as photographer. This is the corner of Knopf and Main. You can see Lebbings Garage, Shop Rite, and the Esso station, which I believe may have been run By the Manna Family. This is just a great view of Main St. with plenty to look at.
Remember if you have any photos you would like to share please get in touch with me so we can help preserve our towns history. I can help you get them scanned and digitally archived as well.
The Manville Lanes • Click to Enlarge
I took a walk over to the Manville Lanes today after learning is was all closed up and gutted. My main goal was to try and find a worker so I could attempt to procure the giant sign on the side of the building, but no one was around. It bummed me out so much that that classic old sign, a beacon of my childhood might escape my grasp and end up in a landfill somewhere off the side of 287. As I stood in defeat remembering the way only half those neon letters used to flicker and light up the Manville night sky, it occurred to me that I might take a little walk around downtown Manville and get some photos of some of the great local advertising before it dissapears as well..
Like always the adventure was a rewarding one. I wish I has time to cover the whole town but for now here are a few Gems.
I recently struck up a friendship with the John Krasansky. John has a genius personality that kind of reminds me of Nick Charles in the movie the thin man. The guy can tell great stories, so I honestly didn’t believe him when he told me there was an old Kay Appliance showroom that closed in the 1950s and was undisturbed ever since. But when I got there I’ll be damned if there wasn’t a 1950s appliance store time capsule. I don’t want to post the address because I think I already shook up the neighbors by taking all kinds of photos over there, but I got this great shot through the window…
You can enlarge the photo by clicking on it. It’s amazing that a place like this exists. And speaking of store that closed down decades ago, leaving room fulls of brand new antiques… The Chabra Professional building used to have a hardware store under it. Apparently they just put some white paper over the windows, hung a few wreaths and called it a day. In all fairness this is a pretty iconic building in town. I love the old sign with the terrible spacing.
The next one is an old ghost sign on Main Street that is now obscured by buildings. I managed a decent photo of it. It’s an ad for M.H. Burke & Co. Which was apparently a Dept. Store in Somerville. I’m glad this thing survived…
The next two photos I got are fairly new, but they are great hand painted signs so I included them. The first one is from the Hair Palace… and it’s just super well done.
The next one is out in front of the jewelry store on Main St. This is just a great diamond painting. I’m not sure if they used cheap paint or if they intentionally left the old rickety paint… either way this is great…
This is another classic Manville sign, I wish they didn’t ruin it with the plexiglass. I guess kids were breaking the neon…
Camplain Liquors doesn’t only have this classic neon, but on the side window they have another great hand painted sign. This one is such a classic too…
Ice Cold Beer, I don’t know anyone who can argue with that. This next one is one of my favorite neons around. The Chester House sign. Tommy recently got someone to give this sign a facelift and fix the neon arrow… it looks great.
And finally the old Kay Electric building has a great old sign painted right on to the building. This one is kind of tucked away…
I managed to get a pretty good shot of one of the old service trucks too… it’s pretty cool the way the old paint preserved the logo a little.
1685 Landowners Map • Click to Enlarge
I was doing a little more digging on the Library of Congress website and I found a great link to a digital book entitled Historical discourse on occasion of the centennial anniversary of the Reformed Dutch church of Millstone. If you are doing any research on the Hillsborough / Manville / Millstone area this is an excellent & detailed record on the earlier settlers of the area. It also includes this great map from 1685, which I have seen in poor photocopied form before… the quality on this copy is great. You can read or download the complete book for free HERE. But for Manvillian purposes we need mostly be concerned with the dealings of John Royce.
Some of you might recognize the name Royce, since the Royce brook is still so called in Manville. The truth is that John Royce was the first official landlord of Manville. Famous for his shady real estate dealings and infringing on (and leasing out) portions of other peoples lands that lay next to his borders. He also leased said lands that he didn’t even legally fully own out to a gentleman name Charles Winder for a period of a thousand years… and then proceeded to sell parts of this leased lands to other parties. It was a nightmare that took the executors of his estate years to get sorted back out. SO you can fairly say that the first Manville landlord, like many more to come… was a crook.
On the receiving end of the shady dealings were Van Vechty & Co., which actually had to shell out money for the disputed areas twice to satisfy the discrepancy in ownership. The deal opened the floodgates 1703 for the Dutch to settle the new lands formerly known as Roycefield & Royceton so named for the former owner. They promptly renamed the area Harmony Plains, which would many years later become part of Manville.
For what its worth it’s a great story and the great story is told in more detail in the book… I extracted the relevant pages and posted them below. The map above opens in a new window, and in my opinion it’s a tremendous help to look at the map while reading to keep your bearings, as most of the property owners lands told in the tale are listed on the map. Anyway here you go… all of these pages will enlarge if you click on them…