HANGING AROUND…

chester-baseball-club-1This is a great photo that I nabbed off of ebay awhile back of an AD for Chesters Ice Cream Parlor, which I believe was the “other” Chester House from back in the day, and it got me thinking about what it might have been like to hang out in town at the time… for some reason the movie back to the future comes to mind when Marty Mc Fly travels back to 1955 and ends up next to his young father drinking a soda. Tommy from the Chester House has been nice enough to share some old stories with me as his family goes back in the town as far as the town goes back. But, does anyone have any good stories of old hang outs in town? Something awesome that might have happened? Legendary stories? I put up a companion thread on the message board if anyone wants to share any old stories… I know I personally would love to hear about them. I mean seriously what’s a town if the legends don’t get handed down to the young folk. If your interested just click on the “MANVILLE MESSAGE BOARD” link on the right side of the main page or just click THIS. In the meatime here is my collection of “Manville Drink Chip” photos.


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41 thoughts on “HANGING AROUND…

  1. Was Chesters by any chance, a place on S. Main st that sold pizzas? My parents took us out for pizza once in a while someplace on S. Main st. The name almost rings a bell. The pizza we had at that place somehow set my standards for what I think pizza should taste like.

  2. I think the place you’re thinking of was Esposito’s – pizza and bar – the pizza was thin crust and oozing of oil. It was on S. Main between Washington Ave and Dakota St.

  3. WPS – Thanks! Now I remember the name. Never found a pizza like that anywhere else. My mouth is watering now. Thanks for the info. ron

  4. WPS Now I remember. Thanks! Espositos made a pizza i’ll never forget. I can almost taste it now, with a glass of orange soda. Guess that became a lost art. Thanks for remembering it! ron

  5. Another lost art might seem insignificant to some, but I miss dearly. It is the Hard Rolls we used to get at the Manville Bakery, and the Jelly Donuts.
    A buttered hard roll was a staple in the morning for millions of people. Now, no one knows how to make them. A crispy, airy, delicous roll. Anyone remember them? – ron

    • You’re making me hungry, Ron. Out here in Indiana you can’t get anything resembling a REAL hard roll! When I was last in town, I got some from the bakery next to what was Walt’s Inn on the North Side. Much better than anything out here, but still not the same. Really miss the Somerset Bakery ‘s Rye bread, too. They were across from the Sugar Bowl or Mary’s Market on West Camplain Road.

      • Somerset Bakery was the best by far – I remember my dad bowling at the old Parkway Lanes on friday nights and coming home after stopping at the bakery – they weren’t open but he would go in the back (our neighbor was one of the bakers) and bring home fresh hot rye bread, donuts and hard rolls, a real treat – if I remember correctly the bakery was on the corner of 10th and Camplain – sort of across from Petey’s and Palahach’s Furniture Store – the Sugar Bowl was on the corner of 6th Ave I believe, across from Camplain Rd school and Mary’s was just up the street between 7th and 8th ave.

      • Wow, I used to work at Somerset Bakery in the late 70’s as did all 4 of my brothers. Many a time we triple pumped the jelly and cream donuts. They practically exploded on the 1st bite. I can remember working an entire 24 hours making nothing but babkas at Easter and Christmas. Sweet memories.

    • How can I forget the Hard Rolls from the Manville Bakery. That was what we had to eat Sunday after Chruch with our eggs. Oh so good.
      The Jelly Donuts are the best and when I go into Manville from where I live now I always stop at the Bakery in town to get at least one Jelly Donut.

    • Frank you’re right the place was known as Georges – I remember now – I believe it was owned by George Esposito – I don’t know when the name changed but the early – mid 60’s it was George’s – there was another place in town – near Weston on the corner of Main and Fucillo St – I remember it as the Green Light Tavern – they made some pretty good pizza too, I remember them having what they called Bar Pies – a small idividual pizza you could buy for 50 cents.

      • You are both right. George was one brother and another brother opened a pizzeria in Raritan. Espo’s ring a bell on Second Street in Raritan. I am in my early 60’s and George’s was the best Italian you could get in Somerset County. As kids we could get “sauce sandwiches” for lunch. No meat or cheese, just sauce on the Manville Bakery’s hard rolls.

    • Carol and Cora — I nevever had a “sauce sandwich” on a hard Manville Bakery roll, but it sounds delicious. Doubt if anyone can ever beat the apple turnovers and the jelly donuts from the Somerset Bakery.

      • Yes! I remember the sauce sandwiches at George’s. we used to go there at lunchtime from Sacred Heart school. They only cost 10 cents! Then one day the owner (George?) came out and told us he coudn’t serve them anymore. Lost money on them I guess, and the sauce sandwiches passed into history!

  6. The only pizza even close to George’s on South Main Street with a REAL thin crust was Chimney Rock. But sadly since ownership change and becomming much to bloated of an operation, they have missed their old time pizza by just a little bit

  7. I remember when the Manville Bakery burned down. We went there to watch them fighting the fire. The street behind the bakery was a flowing mass of melted lard or whatever they used. It was heartbreaking at the time realizing that the bakery we loved and went to every Sunday morning was gone.

  8. Adam Kita — Fantastic that we are hearing from someone who was actually involved in making those delicasies. You and your brothers are part of a lost art!

  9. Adam Kita — The Bobkas was another favorite the Somerset Bakery made. My Grandmother used to make them in her coal stove until she got too old.

  10. When we were kids we would “camp out”in the backyard and go to the Somerset bakery sometime dirung the night and they usually had a window open back between the bakery and the little firehouse.The guys would give us fresh,hot donuts or whatever they were making at the time.
    Nobody uses that filling in the jelly donuts that they used anymore,that was the best.
    Frank,I think we went to HS together.You probably knew me as Al,it’s a long story on the name thing but hi.

  11. I lived on south 7th growing up and we could always smell the bakery at night, as kids we would walk up to the bakery back door late at night and the workers would always give us something. I have never found another place that makes kaiser rolls as good as they did. I’m still searching….

    • My wife and I have tried dozens and dozens of recipes for KAISER ROLLS with no luck. Some came out like hocky pucks. A neighbor of ours who went to the Culinary Institute in Rhinebeck, NY thinks it’s the water that makes the difference, because all the recipes are basically the same. I think it was the yeast they used. Strange that the people that know how to make them won’t divulge the secret. If it was the yeast and the yeast somehow died out, that would explain it.

      • The hard rolls at Somerset Bakery were awesome! I’ve tried to find similar rolls in several different states, no luck. In fact, once you get out of the tri-state area, they don’t know what you’re talking about when you say hard rolls. They’re called kaiser rolls and they’re not the same. My mother also used the Somerset Bakery rolls to make her turkey stuffing and it was the best. I’ve tried her recipe using the rolls you buy today and it doesn’t compare.

  12. If anyone knows where those rolls are still made, maybe there is a chance that yeast can be resurrected if that is the cause for the general disappearance of those rolls.

  13. Cora Lynn, You might have something there. They did disappear after asbestos was taken off the market. Anyone know where I can get some asbestos? LOL

  14. Since I first found this blog – and this entry “Hangin’ around…” it got me thinking of all the places we used tho “Hang around” in Manville in the 60’s – there were no malls back then – we walked to most places or got rides before we we got driver license/cars – in no particular order – the old Manville Pool Hall on Washington Ave – used to be the old Post Office – now Franks Chicken Ranch – it was dark and smokey – just like out of the old movies – then in the late 60’s new owners and dressed up the place up bit – then there were the park benches in front of the old Police Station – used to gather there to see who was driving around and hopefully get a ride some where – the police used to chase us away if we stayed too long or too late – then the Manville Lanes – most times we just hung out in the parking lot – waiting and gathering until some one came up with some place to go or some trouble to get in to – one of my most favorite and fondest memories was “Joe and Ann’s” on the corner of Washington and Main – as close to “Arnolds” from Happy Days as you can get – before the TV show was even thought of – Many good times spent there with good friends – we should have been home doing homework but it was too much fun.

  15. Thanks for reminding me of Joe and Ann’s place. I went to Sacred Heart and once in a great while mom would take us in there after school. There was also the Sugar Bowl on Camplain we’d stop there sometimes and then Mary’s Meat Market(featuring milk) . Mary’s had a nice fountain, and the cream sodas were a nickel or a dime. Then Kulina’s..penny candy, the big Hershey bars for a nickel,popsicles a dime,loaf of bread, like 18 cents..whoa!
    I also hope someone here has some pics of the old Phillips66 gas station on Camplain. Owned by Bill Gall.

    • I remember it all only too well. My father built and owned the sugar bowl and the building most of his adult life and I worked in the store as a child. I found this site while looking for pictures of the old store. I hope everyone on this site is doing well and thanks for the memories.

      • Your father must have been Nick Evanoff. I liked him. He had a
        certain attitude about people. He always referred to peopls he didn’t much care for as “poor slobs”. I used t hang out at the sugar bowl and the cycle store next door that Sam Dementina ran.

  16. Anyone from the north side, Roosevelt School, in the early 60’s remember Tex and his wife (Vera?) who had the store on the corner of N. 7th and Brooks Blvd? They had a pinball machine in there that the guys used to play.

    • That store was great – they had pretzel stix in a jar for a nickel, and if you were feeling rich, they had old-school coke in the refrigerator behind the counter. It was Tex and Vera. Tex was a trifle deaf.

      You could go in with a quarter and walk out with a bag full of candy. We walked or road our bikes from Village Green.

      • And their dog was named “dog”. Only Tex pronounced it “Daawg”. Penny candy in the glass case (some were 2 for a penny).

  17. Somerset Bakery was located on 918 W. Camplain Road in Manville, NJ. It was a family owned business started by John and Jozefa Lazowski and later run by their 3 sons: Joseph, Ben and Chester. It was both a wholesale and retail bakery. Being in business over 50 years, the family employed many Manville residents. It operated 24 x 7 and specialized in a variety of bread (rye, pumpernickle, swirl, challah, etc.) rolls and donuts. The bakery was sold in 1982. Chester resides in Holiday, FL.

  18. Our dad used to walk from Roosevelt ave to a barn somewhere near the bridge going over the river by addessa car auction- they used to have square dances there. My pop showed me the structure when I was 7 years old- That was 41 years ago and I can’t find it now!

    • Could that have been the pavillion on the J-M picnic grounds? If it was, that’s long gone. It was taken down when National Starch bought that property from J-M.

      • Thanks for replying! As impossible as it sounds: it was on the opposite side of Findern Ave (main street manville) – many years later after a flood, the top of all the trees could not be seen on account of the water being so high- it looked like the raritan bay! I realize now that old rickety barn must have washed away- about twenty years ago several of my dads friends taught me how to fly R/C airplanes down there somewhere too- but there was an electric fence for cows! They were Ted Hamernick? Andy Botsco and others from WW2- who met my dad at the Manville VFW – I went to at least 20 polish weddings there! And my cousins are the Kopscos . My name is Richard Marshall

  19. My sister said there was a park back there behind the old Diehl’s factory (Singer) that was called Singer Park. It had a pavillion that was probably the structure you were talking about. There was a problem with flooding there.

  20. Does anyone have a picture of the old manville pool hall. I have the pool table from the pool hall and would to have see it it,s original setting. I am selling the pool table

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