Petey Semenick Sr. talks Manville History

Hey everyone. So I’m in the middle of digitally archiving lots of old “original manville residents” interviews. This one with Petery Semenick Sr. is absolutely incredible. Petey surely needs no introduction to Manville folks. For starters, he founded Petey’s bar & Casino, he was a fireman, founding member of the Rod & Gun Club, and original resident before Manville was even a real town. The interview was done by Stuart Crump, former Managing Editor of the Manville news back in March of 1979. Thanks to Petey Semenick Jr. for giving me his blessing on posting this, because it’s incredible.

Petey has a tremendous memory and his narrative of Manville history is amazing. I edited this a little bit, cutting out just the names, addresses, and really personal stuff thats really not anyones business. This interview is pretty long, but it’s a really great look at early Manville. He discusses early JM, Manville Farms, The Manville Gypsies (seriously!), the original Main St. buildings Elmcrest and Greaseheimer hotel (Chester House) Harmony Plains school, all of the Petey’s businesses, bootleg whiskey, the Rod and Gun Club, Fire Co. number 2, instructions on how to craft a baseball from scratch, the Manville Saw Mill (pictured in the video) and so many more random nuggets of great info. It’s totally worth a listen.

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Main Street • Vintage Views

Hello everyone, I was just checking out my buddy Gary Carmon’s Manville site carmonsandusky.com 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.

Petey’s Films • Random People

This is another film clip from the legendary Petey Semenick film collection. This is another clip transferred off of a VHS tape to digital video by Gary Carmon. I believe a lot of people are familiar with these films, as there were shown frequently at Petey’s bar back in the day. Frankly a lot of these clips are a mystery to both myself and Gary, so if you recognize anyone in the films, please leave a comment. Gary has a lot more great Manville history on his website as well so if you can’t get enough of this head on over there. There will be plenty more of these to come, so stay tuned. And please if you are in or can identify anyone in the videos let us know!

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.

 

 

Camplain Road 1937

 

Click Photo to Enlarge

This is a reprinted photo from the November 7th, 1985 issue of the Somerset Messenger Gazette. Here is the original cation…

“There was but one home and one business on Camplain Road, near South 20th Avenue in Manville, when this picture was taken in 1937. Abestos Inn in later years became Pal’s Inn. The house at the right has also withstood the test of time. Ernest Rosebrock of Bridgewater submitted this picture to the Gazette.”

This photo is just so awesome, and just goes to show that there some amazing photos of Manville that we just havent seen yet. If I find them, I’ll be sure to share.