OK. I guess an introduction is in order. For longer than i care to remember I have been fascintaed with the history of my hometown… Manville, NJ. Over the years I’ve collected info from various places… found wells of photographs, read books, scribbled random tidbits of info into sketchbooks and journals, and spoken to townsfolk. It’s been my intention for a long time to produce some sort of actual pysical history of the town since it seems to be completely void of a recorded wealth of it’s heritage, or any sort of historical society or foundation. There are just tidbits scattered randomly about town. For the moment, I think I’ll use this blog as a means to put together some info i already have as i research more, and hopefully reel in some readers to make their own contributions. You see the blog is meant to be interactive, a casual vehicle… to hopefully pull together some sort of unified account of our history as a town. In other words it will operate as sort of a collective… if you have any info whatsoever, please get in touch. I feel like having a way to embrace your heritage is really important to any community… let’s work together, and build something amazing!


Just for good measure here is an old photo of Main Street. It’s facing out of town… straight ahead you can see the Weston Train Station, right around the bend there you would go through the tunnel under the raliroad tracks and out towards the Kupper Airport. The photo was taken by Neal Ranauro, who was a professional photographer that took photos for Johns Manville’s “Spotlight Magazine”. He spent the greater part of his life photographing the town.


16 thoughts on “Introduction

  1. What is amazing is that so many of the names of the previous generation are still prevelent in town today. Manville was a great town to grow up in. What I remember with fondness was how neighborhood kids would get together just about every day in the summer and after school for pick up games in the various parks in town. Street hockey, baseball, basketball, etc. Kids today don’t do that. Saturday morning HS football games always seemed better than Friday night games.

  2. I remember that huge blind spot when trying to turn left onto Main Street off of Railroad Ave (now Kennedy Blvd). I’m sure it was part of the reason the “new” underpass was built (late 60’s?).

  3. Any empty lot was fair game for a local baseball field. Most times we had to clear it before we could play. For the fun we had it was well worth it.

  4. I was once told that a group of boys that lived in the “lost valley” area were hanging out on a Saturday trying to think of a name for their “gang”. My father Joseph, born in 1910, was one of them. At the time my father enjoyed reading westerns and suggested the name “Lost Valley”. It was a name of an area or gang in the book he was reading. The guys liked it and from that day forward they were known as the boys from Lost Valley”

  5. I moved into Manville back in 1965-1966 when I was 5 going on 6 and these pictures help me to know more about the town I grew up in and loved. I moved out of Manville when I became an adult and moved back in when I got married and had a child. I have since moved away and out of state but do come back from time to time and the town is not live it used to be when I grew up there and go do I miss my childhood days in Good Old Manville, NJ. Please keep this site up and running so I can share it with my son and my grandsons.
    Karen Horn aka Karen Bockman

  6. Funny I grew up in Lost Valley sometime in the summer of 1965 or 1966.
    Does anyone remember the flood of 1968 or 1969,I believe, and lived in the valley?

    • hey tim. the easiest way is to photograph them with a digital camera or scan them and email them to me and let me post them (i will give you credit for sending them). if you want any help getting them into digiatal format i would gladly come with a digital camera and help. and i guess the other method is just mail them to me me and i can scan them and send them back. my personal email id if you want to talk about it. thanks so much.

  7. I have an old news article about my Grandfather delivering a baby he was Victor Daku special forces i also have a few old pics of when he was a dog catcher pics of the truck really old like 1950’s i’m guessing we belonged to the Hungarian chruch on 5th & pope also have a few older Manville hungarian pics and parade pics on main st. if interested let me know thanks L.Payne

  8. I really enjoyed viewing and reading the history you put together from my hometown. I started screaming when I saw the picture you listed as a mystery home dated Feb. 1969. That was my grandparents home, the house my dad and his seven siblings grew up in. It has a rich history I would love to share. Your website inspired me to talk to my dad in hopes of gathering more accurate facts which I look forward to learning. For now I can only share what I know. The photo you have listed was taken about 10 years prior to being torn down when it was sold to a builder who built 16 homes on the property. Your photo shows the backside of the house which faced Knopf Street on the north side of town. I don’t know the names of the three other streets, but the property took up a one block radius. The house was over 200 years old when it was demolished, a very sad day for my family. My grandparents Joseph and Loretta Rogalski, moved to the US from Poland and purchased that house which was also a place of business known as the Roadhouse. It was also larger than in the picture. One third of it burnt down in a fire. The Roadhouse was a happening place from what I hear back in its day. It had ballrooms, a saloon and was an inn. The front side of it, not pictured, had a large wooden porch with several large columns. It also had a stepping stone in front of the porch which was used by stage coaches. I’ve heard so many stories from locals who experienced good times there. Vince, the owner of the Manville Pastry Shop which you have pictured always raved of it and he delivered many cakes there for parties and events being held there. I personally don’t have any of these old pictures and just asked my dad to see if any suviving family members do. If any of your viewers have anything to share I would love to see them. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

    • Hello! I’m so glad you just posted that info! Just to be clear, we are talking about that huge white house right? The one with the nativity scene out front? This seems like an extremely important & lost piece of Manville’s history and if you or your family could give me a little more background I’d love to do a write up on this specific building. It would be amazing if you could track down any more photos of this building as well. For now I will update the old post, but I’m really looking forward to doing a complete history on this. My personal email is please feel free to email me at that address with any additional info. Thanks again! -Mike

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