Manville News, December 26th, 1941

BANNER-12-26-14Ok folks. Here is a digital version of the old Manville News. This one is great for several reasons. First of all, I have been eager to get to this one since it contains a train wreck in the Manville train yard… which is also known as Port Monmouth Junction (for all you fellow train nerds). Growing up over on Angle Ave. in lost valley, right across from the tracks, I had always heard about this one… it spilled tar everywhere.

Another reason this issue is great is that it concludes the entire year of 1941… so I get to feel like I actually accomplished something. In reality I’m only about a third or so through the stack. Still, it somewhat feels like a milestone.

One more reason this is great, is that it features a little blurb about Chester Trojanowski. Father of Tommy from the Chester House bar. The bar was named after Chester ala it’s name “The Chester House”

Allegedly he was quite a roller skater, and was performing in town in the following week. You can view and download the Issue via the following link. manville-news-12-26-1941-ocr


Main Street • Vintage Views

Hello everyone, I was just checking out my buddy Gary Carmon’s Manville site and noticed he put up some great new photos. While we were on the topic of old signs and storefronts I decided to lift a few. These all came from Neal Ranauro’s Manville photo archive, and I’m not sure how I missed these when I was looking through them, but they are great. You can click on the photos to enlarge them.

First is this great photo of the Chester House. If you enlarge it and go to the right of the photo you can see the old Gamby’s Diner at the future site of Quick Check, and Charlie’s Resturant in the back there.

This next photo is a little further down Main St. Starting at Quigleys Bike Shop. The Quigley’s building in now the home of The Grub Hut, but back in the day it was like the great bike shop in town that was famous for the giant tangled bike heap that sat in the middle of the front room. As a kid I remember being slightly afraid to go in there in fear of a bike avalanche and a slow agonizing 8 year old death. I’m still looking for good photos of that place if anyone has any. Anyway you can see the great Liccardi Motors lot in the back there. I’m not sure what year that disappeared, but I totally do not remember it. Looks awesome though. I’m sure it was an asset to an evening drive down the strip in it’s day. You can also see the old corner Sunoco Station way in the back there. Oh and speaking of great advertising… how about the 24 hour milk dispensary. I wonder whatever became of those amazing old signs.

The next photo is more of a birds eye, and was taken out of one of the JM office windows, where Ranauro worked as photographer. This is the corner of Knopf and Main. You can see Lebbings Garage, Shop Rite, and the Esso station, which I believe may have been run By the Manna Family. This is just a great view of Main St. with plenty to look at.

Remember if you have any photos you would like to share please get in touch with me so we can help preserve our towns history. I can help you get them scanned and digitally archived as well.

Manville advertising / signage

The Manville Lanes • Click to Enlarge

I took a walk over to the Manville Lanes today after learning is was all closed up and gutted. My main goal was to try and find a worker so I could attempt to procure the giant sign on the side of the building, but no one was around. It bummed me out so much that that classic old sign, a beacon of my childhood might escape my grasp and end up in a landfill somewhere off the side of 287. As I stood in defeat remembering the way only half those neon letters used to flicker and light up the Manville night sky, it occurred to me that I might take a little walk around downtown Manville and get some photos of some of the great local advertising before it dissapears as well..

Like always the adventure was a rewarding one. I wish I has time to cover the whole town but for now here are a few Gems.

I recently struck up a friendship with the John Krasansky. John has a genius personality that kind of reminds me of Nick Charles in the movie the thin man.  The guy can tell great stories, so I honestly didn’t believe him when he told me there was an old Kay Appliance showroom that closed in the 1950s and was undisturbed ever since. But when I got there I’ll be damned if there wasn’t a 1950s appliance store time capsule. I don’t want to post the address because I think I already shook up the neighbors by taking all kinds of photos over there, but I got this great shot through the window…

You can enlarge the photo by clicking on it. It’s amazing that a place like this exists. And speaking of store that closed down decades ago, leaving room fulls of brand new antiques… The Chabra Professional building used to have a hardware store under it. Apparently they just put some white paper over the windows, hung a few wreaths and called it a day. In all fairness this is a pretty iconic building in town. I love the old sign with the terrible spacing.

The next one is an old ghost sign on Main Street that is now obscured by buildings. I managed a decent photo of it. It’s an ad for M.H. Burke & Co. Which was apparently a Dept. Store in Somerville. I’m glad this thing survived…

The next two photos I got are fairly new, but they are great hand painted signs so I included them. The first one is from the Hair Palace… and it’s just super well done.

The next one is out in front of the jewelry store on Main St. This is just a great diamond painting. I’m not sure if they used cheap paint or if they intentionally left the old rickety paint… either way this is great…

This is another classic Manville sign, I wish they didn’t ruin it with the plexiglass. I guess kids were breaking the neon…

Camplain Liquors doesn’t only have this classic neon, but on the side window they have another great hand painted sign. This one is such a classic too…

Ice Cold Beer, I don’t know anyone who can argue with that. This next one is one of my favorite neons around. The Chester House sign. Tommy recently got someone to give this sign a facelift and fix the neon arrow… it looks great.

And finally the old Kay Electric building has a great old sign painted right on to the building. This one is kind of tucked away…

I managed to get a pretty good shot of one of the old service trucks too… it’s pretty cool the way the old paint preserved the logo a little.

Vintage Manville Films

Hello folks, I noticed a lot of new subscribers on this blog, that’s awesome. Thank you. This new post is another great one for the video category. My buddy Gary Carmon, who also does a great website on the Carmon / Sandusky families has turned up some old Manville footage on VHS. Thankfully he put up the time and money to convert these to digital format and has begun to edit them. So here we have the first two, which Gary has graciously encouraged me to share on this site.

This fist video we believe is on Petey’s Bar, but cannot confirm. The first minute or so of the video is pretty shaky, but settles into a nice clear depiction of what Manville does best… have a lot of fun. I do not know the date on this either. If you can verify that this is in fact Petey’s, or if you are in or can identify anyone in the film please leave a comment and let us know.

The next film is of the Manville Fire Dept. If you are in, or can identify anyone in the film, please leave a comment.

Gary has also posted some photos from Neal Ranauro’s collection that are not shown on this blog. Please check out his website, especially if you have any info pertaining to the Carmon / Sandusky families. Thanks Gary for sharing these videos, and for spending the time and money to make these videos available to the public.

Johnny’s Hillbilly Haven

Click Photo to Enlarge

So this week has been great for submissions. This great photo of Johnny’s Hillbilly Haven  Is from Diane Stefanchik Hvasta, who’s family owned the bar from the 60’s to the late 80’s. Like many other Manville Main Street buildings, it had one of those great marble storefronts. I wonder why those all came down, seemingly all at the exact same time? If you look on the right side of the building you’ll see an old phone booth… man, those things are antiques now!

Here is the original cation she sent with the photo… Thanks Diane!

My dad owned Johnny’s Hillbilly Haven on Main Street (the Chinese Restaurant now at South Main and Dakota Avenue) from 1962-1989.  Here’s a photo from 1979, possibly the Memorial Day parade.  The bar was bought in 1961 when it was called Max’s or Maxie’s. 

I’ve also got another great submission coming up tomorrow. Stay tuned.



Manville buildings 1969-1970

The Elmcrest Inn, Feb. 1969 • Click to Enlarge

Hey everyone. So it’s been a busy few weeks for me, but I finally got around to scanning this envelope full of Manville photo slides that were recently unearthed from an old dusty cabinet in the Somerset County Historical Society. It was pretty frustrating trying to get nice scans of these, but after much rigging I got clean prints and the fruits were pretty amazing. First of all you can see above I got a nice transfer of that Elmcrest Inn photo… which I’m probably most excited about out of the bunch. Here are the other good ones… these will all enlarge a bit if you click on them. The second scan is another Manville favorite place which still exists. The Chester House.

This one is sort of a bad photo, and a little blurry, but people ask me about it alot. And it’s really the first good color photo on this site of The Polish Home. The polish home is also a defunct Manville building, which was located right across from Roosevelt School.

Just got an update on the following building from Antoinette (Rogalski) Vinciguerra! She says…  “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.”

This next one caught me really off guard, and I feel so dumb for never paying attention to this, despite seeing it so many times in my life. I always heard that Camplain Rd. was so named “Camp Lane” because it literally was the campsite of the Continental Army. It’s a little hard to read in the photo, but this sign that sits right outside of Classical Glass on Camplain Rd. reads.. “Encampment area for Pennsylvania troops of the Continental Army from about December 15, 1778 until June 1, 1779.” If anyone in Manville tries telling you nothing ever happened in Manville you bring em here.

Ok. this next one is another mystery house, although it is entitled “The Fiero House” taken Feb. 1969. I’m not sure if this still exists or what the signifigance is but here is a photo.

And last, but most definitely not least is this great photo of the Main Street School (formerly located at the site of the Main St. parking lot). A lot of folks on here attended this school, and I know it’s been a fan favorite on here. The is pretty much the best color photo I’ve seen of this place yet.

I’m not sure who took these photos, so I cannot give a proper credit. If you took them let me know and I’ll be sure to get your name on them. Also, a huge thanks to the Somerset County Historical Society for trusting me with these slides, thinking of me when they were unearthed, and inducting me a trustee. If anyone out there is interested in getting involved with the society, we are looking for fresh faces & ideas. Please get in touch!

Oh, one last thing before I leave you alone. I’ve been talking to some great older folk who keep telling me about some friends around town that have these incredible photo archives, who would be dying to show them off. If you are one of these people, please get in touch with me I would LOVE to come hang out, have about 10 cups of coffee and chat about Manville… AND see some great photos. If you would like to share photos on here as well please get in touch with me. I will credit everyone, I have all kinds of digital archive technologies, and I would be happy to print extra copies or provide you with the digital versions of your photos on a disk. Please help preserve the history of this town. Also, I have specifically heard the name Smolinka as a person who has a great archive of photos. If anyone knows them or anyone else with photos please communicate to them about this site. I know a lot of older folk don’t like to, or are unable to use computers, which pretty much cuts my lines of communication to them. Thank you.

The Elmcrest Inn

The Elmcrest Inn • Click Photo to Enlarge

Well two fun things happened today. One, I was officially inducted as a Somerset County Historical Society trustee. The other thing happened right after, when another member of the society opened up a dusty old cabinet revealing a shoebox full of photo slides, including some 1969 shots of Manville. “I think there might be some stuff in here you’d be interested in” Being Ill equipped at home to handle any decent slide scans, I still couldn’t console my urge to post up this one great shot of The Elmcrest Inn, so I went ahead and popped in my crappy flatbed scanner. There will be more of these to come, and I wont even have to use any fancy Iphone filters to make em look old and scratchy. For now though you’ll just have to settle for this one great photo of one of my favorite defunct Manville establishments.