Manville Family Shoe Store


Hey everyone, I spent the day today scanning tons of negatives from the Manville Silver Jubilee festival… Manville’s 25th birthday celebration. I’m only about a third of the way there on getting them all done (there are a lot) But here is this great photo of the Family Shoe Store car getting ready to ride in the Silver Jubilee parade in 1954. I just thought this was a super cool photo, with really cool hand painted type on the flag! You guys deserve a Tuesday afternoon post… Also, SHOES FIT FOR QUEENS! This photo was taken by Neal Ranauro and will expand a couple of times if you click on it. Thanks again to the Manville Library for sharing it’s tremendous archive!




Hey folks. I just got finished scanning these Manville Movie Theater photos from the Manville Library Archive, which I thought you all might enjoy. All of these photos were taken by Neal Ranauro around 1954 and a couple of them have appeared on this blog before. These versions, however, are higher quality scans from the original negatives. They are huge and let’s be honest they are too awesome not to look at again. The Manville theater was in the same building that the massage parlor is on Main Street between Rosalie St. and Beekman St. You can recognize it from the weird rectangular shape on the front of the building, which is still currently there. All of the photos will enlarge twice if you click on them twice.

Please feel free to share these via social media, but please use the share buttons on the bottom of the posts so the the photos will link back to this site. It’s super important to establish this site as a trusted source of old Manville photos so people will submit more, and in turn I can share them all with you guys! In the meantime thanks for looking and stay tuned as I will be posting many many many more originally sourced photos in the near future!

Thanks again for the town of Manville and the folks over at the library for allowing me to digitally archive these, and literally thousands of other photos which I will be getting up here just as soon as I can get them all cropped and scanned.


Main Street Crossing / Chester House

bridge-construction-33Photo: Neal Ranauro circa 1948 • Click photos to enlarge

I spent the day today scanning some old negatives and came across this photo of the Main Street crossing right before they started work on the underpass in 1948. This photo is way more interesting if you click on it and enlarge. From this view you’d be standing on the tracks behind Johns Manville, or what is now the Manville Police station, looking towards the underpass. You can see the little booths and the old railroad gates that are now gone. We’ve seen other variations of this photo before, but the thing that really struck me about this photo was the building on the right which is the Chester House… before they put the brick addition on the front. Have a look… this photo will actually expand twice if you click on it.

chesterTommy from Chester House was recently telling me that he found a lot of old photos that he wanted to share on this site, and I imagine he will have much better looks at this, but this is a pretty rare and cool look at the original front porch and the way the building was originally designed.

I guess you would call this architectural style American Mansard which became popular in the Northeastern US in the mid 1800’s. This building also bears a striking architectural resemblance to the Elmcrest Inn. Which was an old, beautiful building on the current site of the Manville CVS, that was tragically and hurriedly torn down whilst Manville residents were trying to get it listed on the national historic register.

I wonder if they were designed by the same person, and I wonder if the Chester House ever had one of those cool little cupolas at the top!

I’m fixing stuff again


So when I started this blog back in 2009 I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know how to make things the right size, how to crop, or how to allow enlargements on the photos. Also, the category field has grown so much things are not appropriately tagged anymore. Since there was a tiny following as compared to now, and considering how expansive this site has gotten I thought all the newcomers may enjoy a little curation of old posts. So I decided to start going back and fixing the old ones, updating the photos and category tags as well to make them easier to find and reposting links. I started with one of my favorite ones… the construction and opening of the Main Street underpass. This was a crucial and landscape altering construction project that happened starting around 1949, and fortunately Johns Manville photographer Neal Ranauro captured some amazing photos of it all. Please visit (or revisit) the old post by clicking HERE. The photos are now cropped and available to view at about 5 times the size as they previously were. I hope you all enjoy, as there will be more similar updates on the way!

Manville Roller Rink // Crystal Roller Palace // Rhythms // Hullabaloo

photo 2Manville Roller Rink • Click photo to enarge

So this is a great old Manville building that still exists at the outskirts of town. It’s now known as Rhythms of the Night and had previously had a stint as a dance club called The Yellow Rose. In the late 60’s it also spend some time as “The Hullabaloo” Here is a current era photo of Rhythms.


The Hullabaloo was also a dance club. Since we don’t have a photo of the place here is an incredible video of garage band “Witches Bru” playing there back in the day.

The truth is that I personally haven’t been inside this building since it was the local roller rink called the Crystal Roller Palace. In my era, The Crystal Roller Palace was a magical place straight out of an early 80’s cult teen coming of age action movie ala “Over the Edge”, where I was fortunate enough to be able cross the makeshift stone bridge across the local creek behind the place and rock the Joust arcade machine whilst listening to the latest Ozzy Osbourne track. Unfortunately I could not find a photo of the outside of the place, but there is a Facebook group dedicated to it. For illustrative purposes I stole this photo from it. I’m sure they won’t mind.


As this photo so perfectly illustrates, it was one of those great cultural watershed places in American small town living… and a great place to show off the latest long sleeve rock and roll T shirts. I suppose it had been for years prior. There was also of course, rollerskating, which somehow seemed to come second to the arcade for me… but I could do it. Well.

Before it was the Crystal Roller Palace, and before the Hullabualoo, it was still a roller skating rink, which I believe was just called “The Manville Roller Rink” and frankly I don’t know when it was constructed or when it opened. I do know from some old newspapers that it did exist at least as far back as 1941. Here is another really early photo of the place.

photo 1You can see it pretty much stayed the same except for an addition that was put on at some point. It’s a tragedy that those cool windows didn’t survive its metamorphosis over the years. Thanks to Carol Ascolese for these great old black and whites. These are definitely new to the site.

The “Old 1623” Johns-Manville plant switch engine

jm train crew niceThe Old 1623 • Click Photo to Enlarge

This post is for all my fellow train lovers and railfans. This photo is from the collection of Neal Ranauro, and was reprinted in The Manville News for the Manville’s 50th anniversary celebration issue. As stated in the above caption this photo was taken back in 1938 by Ranauro and features the John’s Manville work train and crew. Affectionately known about town as “the old 1623” this work horse and it’s crew manned the 12 miles of track within the JM yard moving the 1200 or so different types of products to the appropriate lines to be moved out across the country. This is a great and iconic photo. Another great one from Neal Ranauro… that guy was the best.

Just for good measure here is one more shot of “The Old 1623” about to take flight. She truly is handsome.


Vintage Main Street

$_57Main Street, Manville • Click photo to enlarge

Hello everyone. I am still alive, and just turned up this tremendous early postcard of Main Street in Manville. I find these things a lot, but this is one of the oldest and craziest ones I’ve ever seen. If you have been around Manville for awhile you surely recognize the Old Sacred Heart Church there on the right, which was demolished back in 2002 due to “unsafe conditions”. Purely judging by the vehicles way off in the distance I’d say this is definitely a pre-depression era photo. It’s crazy even despite all the time I spend looking at old Manville photos this view is almost unrecognizable.

You’re basically looking at what is now the Main St. / Camplain Rd. intersection. This is before the Blumberg building. In fact, this is the first look I think I’m having of any of those buildings on the left side of the photo. This is a really great shot. Anyone know a timeframe on this? I know that church wasn’t built until 1921, so I’m thinking this is early to mid 20’s.