I was pretty excited on Thursday when I received an email from Richard Onderko. Not just because I was being contacted by one of Manville’s current Councilman candidates. It was rather the content of the email which was something to the tune of “Hey Mike. Meet me over on South 5th I found some great stuff”… and I mean who am I to stand up a possible future Manville Council Seat holder, so I went.
I arrived to meet Richard and a guy named Kevin Shutack, who explained to me the far reaches of his family participation in the towns history. The Manville Police, The Building Commitee, and most thankfully owner of the Manville Print Shop that was right next to the Krausers. I remembered the print shop as a kid… we used to peer into the windows there to find out what went on inside of it. But not to get off track… it seems the print shop handled most of Manville printing needs going at least as far back as the early 40s including the printing of The Manville News. Kevin gave me all sorts of printed goodies that were produced by the shop including A LOT of issues of the paper from 1941-1943. Just as soon as I work out the best way to archive these I will be posting digital copies of the issues just as fast as I can get them up. They are in a super fragile state, with much discoloration and edge damage, but they are brilliant and contain tons of great stories and history including some key Manville events like the building of the row homes, robberies and the Manville train derailment in the 40s in Lost Valley. That’s not even the tip of the iceberg… there are tons of wedding and birth announcements. Deaths, car accidents, reports from the war involving Manville residents, honor role lists, sports scores. I can’t wait to get these up.
This marks the most fruitful batch of town history I have found since Neal Ranauro’s photo archive. I feel like so many mysteries have just been solved. On behalf of the town of myself and Manville’s lost history we definitely own a huge debt to the Shutack family, Kevin, and Richard Onderko for making the connection happen. None of the afore mentioned ever had to waste their personal time to help me communicate this stuff to everyone, but they did. That’s awesome. I also got to spend some quality time with Rich and Kevin who were both very knowledgeable and very willing to share some information with me. Overall I couldn’t think of a better way to spend Saturday morning than striking another victory for my perpetual quest for Manville’s past.