photo reprinted from: the 1932 firemans scrapbook called “down memory lane”
“Company Number I fire truck, mired in the mud in answer to a fire call in the vicinity of Brooks Boulevard, and North 19th Avenue, which area was called Irishtown, or Little Dublin, in reference to some of the Irish settlers in the area. Picured in an attempt to free the truck from the mud is Joseph Bulat. This event took place in 1926. The truck has three chemical tanks of 35 gallons each, for a total of 105 gallons. It was a Ford Truck. According to Joe Bulat the following men were at the fire: Andrew Hambor, Whilliam Whelan, Pat Whelan, Mike Fatto, George Esposito, and Adam Fucillo.”
Every good community is dictated by the will of it’s people. In the early 1900’s there was no such place as Manville, NJ., but only a small section of Hillsborough that happened upon an ever growing population with the asbestos manufacturing giant Johns Manville serving as its catalyst. Johns Manville showed up in town in 1912, and by 1914 Polish families were flocking from eastern Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh as well as Jersey City and Bayonne. Between the creasote factories, the railroad, and newly formed asbestos factories there was more work than a town could shake a stick at… industrial America had planted its foot dead smack in the floodplain farmlands of what was soon to become Manville NJ. By 1915 a small firehouse had sprung up, and by 1917 the firehouse was serving as a place of worship. By 1921 they had built the glorious looking Sacred Heart Church and were conducting class in the basement. The community was growing at a furious rate, and according to the townsfolk, Hillsborough was ill prepared to accomodate the newly popultaed area or provide the basic modern necessities of life. Some recall a situation involving a fire truck getting stuck in the mud while responding to a fire. After years of pressing the townspeople rallied around the Catholic Church, emancipated, and became an independent Borough in April of 1929. Among them were future Mayor Joesph Onka and future Police Chief John J. Jasinski. Manville prospered over the following decades even despite the great depression and World War I. In fact the war probably helped considering Johns Manville had been producing asbestos products for the war effort itself.