Manville Sewage dedication Booklet / Timeline.

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So I know how boring this sounds, but I swear to god this little booklet is one of the most comprehensive Manville histories that had ever been compiled up to it’s printing in 1938. It includes some photos, some small town history, lots of info on the Manville sewer system, a very comprehensive timeline, and a complete list of Govt. officials right up to 1938. The typography is not too shabby either.

If you are doing any sort of research on Manville this is a great place to start. You can download and save the entire booklet, and you should. But if you don’t have the patience for that I am going to include preview photos of the timeline below since I feel like it’s amazing. OR you can just skip straight to looking at the whole thing… it’s worth it and you can view it right HERE.

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Manville News, December 5th, 1941

banner-12-5-1941Hey everyone. Since I’m on fire with the posts lately I figured I would scan another issue of the old Manville News. I know a lot of you just want to see photos, but these newspaper issues are literally not available anywhere else and are a valuable resource. Also, it’s been a long, long time since I posted one. This one is from December 5th, 1941. You can download this issue by clicking the following link… Manville News 12-05-41 OCR

If you are new to this blog… a while back I aquired some 1941-1943 issues of this old local weekly paper and have already scanned and posted like 26 issues. You can get the older issues under the “Newspaper Archive” category on the right side of the blog or by clicking HERE. You can download each issue and they are scanned with text recognition so you can search the PDFs for names and the like. They have some great old advertising too! Anyway. There are more photos coming soon I promise!

First Manville Parade. July 4th, 1923

CCI08072013_00001Click Photo to Enlarge

Hello everyone. It’s a great morning! After I slugged back a few extraordinarily large cups of coffee and made some advertisements at work I noticed a new Manville related email. It was a Gem. This is a photo of the first Manville parade from 4th of July in 1923. If you know anything about the history of Manville, you know that in 1923 Manville was more of an idea in a forgotten corner of Hillsborough than an actually town on paper. So this photo is rare and incredible. Furthermore, I’m still trying to sort out the exact location of this, but I have never seen this particular vantage point from this early. Like always if you can shed some light on this photo or know anyone in it please feel free to leave comments. On behalf of all of Manville’s residents, I would just like to thank Rich Hamernik for this incredible and valuable contribution.

John Royce, Manville’s first landlord was a crook.

1685 Landowners Map • Click to Enlarge

I was doing a little more digging on the Library of Congress website and I found a great link to a digital book entitled Historical discourse on occasion of the centennial anniversary of the Reformed Dutch church of Millstone. If you are doing any research on the Hillsborough / Manville / Millstone area this is an excellent & detailed record on the earlier settlers of the area. It also includes this great map from 1685, which I have seen in poor photocopied form before… the quality on this copy is great. You can read or download the complete book for free HERE. But for Manvillian purposes we need mostly be concerned with the dealings of John Royce.

Some of you might recognize the name Royce, since the Royce brook is still so called in Manville. The truth is that John Royce was the first official landlord of Manville. Famous for his shady real estate dealings and infringing on (and leasing out) portions of other peoples lands that lay next to his borders. He also leased said lands that he didn’t even legally fully own out to a gentleman name Charles Winder for a period of a thousand years… and then proceeded to sell parts of this leased lands to other parties. It was a nightmare that took the executors of his estate years to get sorted back out. SO you can fairly say that the first Manville landlord, like many more to come… was a crook.

On the receiving end of the shady dealings were Van Vechty & Co., which actually had to shell out money for the disputed areas twice to satisfy the discrepancy in ownership. The deal opened the floodgates 1703 for the Dutch to settle the new lands formerly known as Roycefield & Royceton so named for the former owner. They promptly renamed the area Harmony Plains, which would many years later become part of Manville.

For what its worth it’s a great story and the great story is told in more detail in the book… I extracted the relevant pages and posted them below. The map above opens in a new window, and in my opinion it’s a tremendous help to look at the map while reading to keep your bearings, as most of the property owners lands told in the tale are listed on the map. Anyway here you go… all of these pages will enlarge if you click on them…

Manville News, November 7, 1941

Alright, well I managed to get a second issue scanned today. Thanks goodness for slow work days! This issue is for November 7th, 1941. There’s a lot more local content in the issue than the last. Only 6 more issues until we finish out 1941… and while that feels like an epic milestone, there are still a lot of these issues left. This is a good one though. Heres a download LINK!

Joe Patero’s Manville Memos • Sea Capt.’s Mansion

Dan Nebb

Manville Memos was a great column that appeared weekly in The Manville News in the 80’s. They were written by Joe Patero after some of his interviews with folks from around town. This particular one from 1983, is the last part of a three part interview with Dan Nebb who’s parent’s owned Capt. Frederick Davey’s old Manville estate, which later became The Elmcrest Inn. If you missed part one you can click here.

Dan Nebbs • Part 3 of 3 • “Sea Capt.’s Mansion”

If you have ever seen the movie classic, “Gone With the Wind” you are familiar with the fabulous ante-bellum mansion, known throughout the Sout as Tara, the legendary home of Scarlett O’Hara.

One Hundred years ago, the existed, in what had not yet become Manville, another Tara. But this one was for real!

It was the mansion of a retired U.S. Navy captain, Frederick Davey, who was its designer and builder.

It was the showplace of the area, according to James P. Snell, in his “History of Hunderton and Somerset Countys,” published in 1881.

Only the “cream” of Somerset County could consider itself fortunate enough to even be invited to one of the captains parties.

The front porch faced south on the enormous residence, while the huge barn where the horses were stabled was between the railroad tracks and the house itself. The entire property was surrounded by several hundred feet of immaculate picket fencing.

Shortly after the turn of the century, Captain Davey sold his pride and joy to J.J. Becker and son, who changed the name to “Elmcrest Park”

Then in 1922, Louis Nebozinsky purchased the entire property for $24,000, a tremendous amount of money in those days.

By that time, yet another name was beginning to attach to the site, this time the “Weston Hotel.” Louis’s son, Dan, is quick to explain that “it was never really a hotel at all. It was the home myself, my brother Bill and our eight sisters grew up in and loved.

”We rented rooms only one time to a touring Vaudeville company who had just finished a performance at Charlie Mazur’s theater in Manville. The actors had apparently no other bookings because after an extended stay, one morning they were suddenly gone, not paying their bill and leaving all their luggage behind.

“On top of the house there once was a glass cupola. As a kid, I loved to climb up there and see what I thought was the whole world. ”

The big horse barn behind the house was totally destroyed by a fierce fire in 1931.

“After the Prohibition Era ended, my father applied for either the first or second liquor license in Manville and converted the downstairs or the home into a place where drinks were served to the general public. Looking back at that decision, I realize that in my father’s mind it was the correct thing to do, but I really wish the borough would have purchased it for municipal offices. Manville would’ve had the most magnificent Borough Hall in the entire United States.”

In the late 40s the Nebbs sold thier mansion to Charles Esterhoy, then followed Nick Lebedz, Joe Cimino and Jim and Joan Wirzman as owners.

Additions have been made and at the same time items such as the once famous cupola and the front porch have been removed, and yet dominating essence of the structure remains today as Wirzman’s Inn.

“It’s quite a place,” said the Wirzmans’ in a recent interview. “It’s history and background are extremely interesting. We are trying to restore some of the old class that was here over a century ago. ”

Once in a while, after we close up, we leave a drink of brandy on the bar for the captain and in the morning the glass is empty.”

This illustration appeared in the original Manville News article. Click to Elnarge

Manville Becomes a Borough 1929

Photo: John Mayola • Click Photo to Enlarge

Here is another great Manville Photo I got from the Somerset County Historical Society. It’s another great one. This is from the 1929 Parade celebrating Manville’s independence and new status as a Borough. This is Main Street and you can see the Johns Manville offices in the background (surely this was no coincidence) It looks like the road was freshly paved, and you can also see The Federal Creosote Company way off in the background. Manville was finally, literally on the map as a new independent, industrial power town. Must have been a pretty sweet party.