THE SWIMMING HOLE?

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PHOTO BY NEAL RANAURO *CLICK TO ENLARGE*

It seems like swimming has always been a favorite past time for many a kid in Manville. For me it was jumping off that train bridge down at the end of the Manville train yard into the grimy river that ran past Johns Manville. In retrospect that was amazing… especially when the enginieers would drive by and drop tons of bottled water out of the window of the train. I had a few real “Stand By Me” moments where I would be on top of that bridge and the trains would come shake the bejesus out of it. Scarry business. In this photos it looks like there was actually a designated swimming hole near one of our many rivers… my grandfather used to talk about swimming in town. anyone know about this? Or know anyone here?

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18 thoughts on “THE SWIMMING HOLE?

  1. Fantastic photo! Back then, they had something we are missing today. Notice, all forty or so of them are smiling or look serene in a swimming hole setting. Hope someone can date that picture.

  2. If I were to take a guess purely on topography, I would say this location is on the Raritan River in what was once referred to as the 2nd falls. If you make the left off of Dukes Parkway headed towards Finderne, you wil see the dam (1st falls) and this would be about 180 feet down river. The tree in the field was on a farm across the river that is actually in Somerville. The tree to the right is on an island as the river has a small fork at that point.

    The river is crossable at that point but just 30 feet down river is a 6-8 foot “hole” where smallmouth bass like to play.

  3. Adam Kita I don’t recall ever swimming in the Raritan River, but your accounts from that picture sound good. You are most likely right. You just fitted another piece into the unrecorded history of Manville.

    • I guess I’ll add my 02 cents on where this might be. I think it may be on the Millstone river – almost across from Sacret Heart Cemetary – there used to be a couple of houses down below the road – near the river – I remember one of those houses being red/maroon – St. Mary’s church used to have picnics (or clambakes as I remember) this was in late 50’s and early 60’s as I recall – the picnic area or back yard had a dock onto the millstone – That is where I first learned to swim – all the kids were in the water and I wanted to join in but was afraid because I couldn’t swim – my Dad assured me that if I jumped in he or the other kids would help me – so I decided to jump in – little did I know that he told all the other kids to scatter as I closed my eyes and held my nose and went for it – only to come up and find no one around – it was sink or swim – so I learned how to swim! Also the river in the picture looks too narrow to be the Raritan – the Millstone as I remember was pretty narrow in that area – Again just my 02 cents – maybe some one else remembers that house or picnic area.

  4. Anybody remember a picnic grove up in weston? I think it was called St. Stephens, which should mean there was a church somewhere with the same name.

  5. I remember that place – I think it was near or was what is now Papawick Park – never went to a picnic there but remember seeing it many times when we used to ice skate the royce brook when it froze over back in the 60’s.

  6. OK
    I little History ……
    Place: Millstone River
    Date: Early ’40’s or ’50’s
    Sandy Beach, a contractor had extra sand and put it on the river bank in the ’30’s. The place had a big tree on the other side of the River with a rope on it. We used to clime up the tree and swing off it into the midle of the River. We had B. A. B. (Beach) and Sandy Beach. Between the Millstone River Bridge and the Manville Rod and Gun Club. Back in the day the Millstone was always cleaner then the Raritan.

  7. Some more History …..
    Picnic Area: St. Stephen’s Grove on Royce’s Brook
    Place: End of West Frech Ave.
    Was owned by a Hungarian Sociaty. They gave the grove to Christ The King Church in the ’50’s. Later they sold it. A builder built homes their. You can check it out with the Wass family, they belonged to the Sociaty.

    Thanks for picking my brain !

  8. Jake… I was going to not approve these last 2 comments, but then i decided people deserve to see how much of a moron you are. congratulations.

  9. I swam at both places when I was young, the RR bridge and the falls by Dukes Parkway Park. At the falls there was a rope swing and the bank was clay and got very slippery, like a slide.
    It took some big ones to jump off the RR trestle. We got there by bike through Lost Valley.

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