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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

1936: PERDICARIS HOME - EAST STATE STREET

At one time there was a row of quaint and well kept cottages that were located along East State Street just beyond So. Clinton Avenue. They were known as "the cottages." Above is the home of Ian Perdicaris, founder of that development. The site of this home is now a parking lot.

1890'S Circa 1890's TRENTON MILLS - SOUTH WARREN STREET

I am merging old Trenton landmarks like "Trenton Mills" with the atlas of the area as it was before Trenton's landscape changed and evolved. Above is an offset news photo of the old Trenton Mills plant which was located along Assanpink Creek in downtown Trenton. It is difficult to imagine a grain milling plant in that location as we see the Trenton of today. There is no longer a South Warren Street as we knew it. Today it detours over to South Broad Street next to the German Lutheran Church.

1922: TRENTON COMFORT STATION - SO. MONTGOMERY ST.

Few indeed are those who recall this old landmark in downtown Trenton. Indeed, given the pitiful few seniors who are into computing I would guess that there are very few visitors to this site who remember that concrete structure which once graced the center of South Montgomery Street in downtown Trenton. Here's architect Harry Hill's drawing of the facade of the womens' side of the building.

1938: MANGOLD PHARMACY - PRINCETON AND PENNINGTON AVENUE

The battle monument area of Trenton has seen dramatic changes over these many years. Above is a photo of one of the more vintage commercial establishments that was once located on the corner of Princeton and Pennington Avenues. The Mangold name is familar in the history of Kuser Mansion. A Mr. Mangold was the first caretaker in the early part of the 20th century. There is a possibility that there is a relationship with the pharmaceutical Mangold.

Blogger Ralph Lucarella said...

Tom....We had a Mr. Mangold as a neighbor on Bert Ave, in Villa Park in the early 30s. I don't recall what his profession was but he had a screened in tennis court on the lot next door to him. It was strange to see a home with a tennis court on a residential street but then again that area contained many prominent people at that time, including the Police Chief and Wm. Dearden, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. Many teachers also lived in that neighborhood and people who were with St. Francis Hospital. It was a sad time whwn we had to move due to the depression. Best Regards.

1938: CHAMBERSBURG OVERCOMING A HEATWAVE

Out in the country, we engaged in that annual ritual of "gettin' under the hose." We spent hours during those hot and humid central Jersey summers. We lashed the hose on the clothesline and had a delightful shower, or perhaps a rousing game of "high waters," or the most fun of all, sitting in a wash tub under the hose.

1955: PRIVATE GLOVER, THOMAS L., RA 12480163

Ask any veteran who served in Uncle Sam's U.S. military if they still remember their serial number and I would bet that he or she would pull it out of the past like a bolt of lightning. My service with Uncle Sam as an "RA," (vs. a "US") was an experience that I will carry with me forever. As indicated in the article I wrote a number of years ago, the gifts the army gave me were twofold: 1) Teaching me to touch type, and 2) making a man out of me.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

1919: DONATION DAY AT MORRIS HALL

From the "MORRIS HALL" folder in the Local History Collection, this interesting old view of the original Morris Hall edifice long before the expansion into the St. Lawrence Rehab center.

1915: IS THIS THE ORIGINAL ST. BASIL'S CHURCH?

Interestingly, the article gives no indication of the location of this fledgling church. I would assume that it was St. Basil's Roumanian-Greek Church. Any visitor who can clarify, please do.
Check out that great old building!

NO DATE, BUT OLD! YARDVILLE "MILL RACE"

FROM GARY LIPPINCOTT, THIS UPDATED

VIEW OF MY POST BELOW, ALSO GARY'S INTERESTING COMMENTARY.

Grist Mill on Church Street

This is a photo of the Grist Mill on Church Street,. This view is as if you were standing on the side of the creek between the Bridge and the dam on the Groveville side, looking down Church Street toward Yardville. The small white bridge in the center is the raceway bridge and is no longer there. The building to the left of the bridge is the Grist Mill; there was a Saw Mill further down the Raceway. The long dwelling in the trees was a multi family dwelling where the Mill workers lived, at one time my Uncle Jack Coffee lived there. The dwelling was torn down in the early 1950’s to make way for Route 25, now Route 130.

As you follow Church Street to the top of the hill, this is where the intersection of Church Street and Route 156. Route 156 at this time it was know as the Bordentown-South Amboy Turnpike, Chartered February 16, 1816, becoming Park Street as it entered Bordentown, along the Railroad Tracks.

The road forked just past the Crosswicks Creek, the right fork was the Bordentown-South Amboy Turnpike, the left fork is now known as Hogback Road, which continued on to the Bordentown–Crosswicks Turnpike, a privately maintained road, the Toll House is still on the corner. These were the two main roads to Bordentown long before Route 130 (Route 25, before 1953).

Sorry, I get carried away, now back to the Grist Mill

Below is a receipt for grain purchased at the Grist Mill, March 12, 1918


I have since received the communication above from my friend and Groveville Historian Gary Lippincott; thanks Gary!
DON'T MISS GARY'S GROVEVILLE SITE:
http://www.grovevillememories.blogspot.com/

Circa 1910: FABULOUSLY INTERESTING SOUTH TRENTON STORIES

If there is one area of Trenton which holds a special interest to me, it would be the Mill Hill area, and the area we know of today as that area bounded by the Delaware River, Riverview Cemetery, Centre Street and back to Bridge Street. There is such magnificent and little known history surrounding that area. From the canal barges that once plied the D&R Canal, the riverboats, and most of all the exciting old time residents as described in the article above.

1907:ANDERSON'S GENERAL STORE AND POST OFFICE


 

There are a number of little "itches" that plague those of us who are researching history. For me, one of them is the actual location of the Anderson General store. It is known that it was on Mercerville's "five points" at Nottingham Way, Quaker Bridge Road, White Horse-Mercerville Road, and Edinburg Road. However, there have been conflicting statements given to me over the years as to just where it was at that intersection. According to the current Hamilton Township history book published by the Historical Society of Hamilton Township, the store was located on the southwest corner of Nottingham Way at five points, opposite Bill's Olde Tavern. Once again, I have scanned this detailed photo in so that you can visit that old store....maybe even pick up a pack of "Sweet Caporal" cigarettes, or a bottle of "Lydia Pinkham's" for the little lady of the house.

An aside: Going bare foot as you see by the boys in this 1907photo, was a common occurrence in years gone by. Even back in the 1930's and 40's, we were often running around the neighborhood barefooted. (and boy did it hurt when we stepped on one of those straw colored burrs that grew along the path!)

Monday, June 28, 2010

CIRCA 1910-1912 FIVE POINTS IN MERCERVILLE

What a great photo! Don't miss the "Mercerville Road House" on the extreme right. This photo had a bit of "noise" and other imperfections, but with a bit of "tlc," we have a nice view of downtown Mercerville in the first decade of the 20th century.

Circa 1959: SGT, KEITH KAUFFMAN, GOVERNOR'S AIDE

Along with being one of our star bass singers in Louise Baird's Room 300 music class back in the 40's and 50's, Keith was a classmate of mine back in the class of 1951 at Hamilton High School. His always ready smile and sense of humor was always a welcome addition to the Hamilton choir. I haven't heard from Keith since he left the area and moved to California; I hope he is in good health.

CIRCA 1901: FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH - CENTRE STREET

This interesting mini history of the legendary First Baptist Church in the Mill Hill section of South Trenton is from an un-dated page from an old scrapbook in my collection. based upon the condition of the original, I presume it was from around the very early part of the 20th century.,

1956: STEINERT GRAMMAR SCHOOL COMMENCEMENT

Thanks ti Cathy Csorgo Annaccarato for this and many other mementos from her years at Steinert High and Hamilton High class of 1960. Cathy, please correct me if I mis-spelled your last name. I searched my files and came up with the above spelling from a former post.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

2010: "MUSIC FOR A SUMMER NIGHT" BEGINS TONIGHT!

In those years before the modern distractions of computers, television and other diversions, families spent many hours of their leisure time in spiritually uplifting and inspiring family singalongs around the piano. Once again this year, I will be giving area residents the opportunity to partake in this long-forgotten custom, except I have replaced the piano with the computer, which has an unending repertoire. This year’s Kuser Park program is entitled,
“MUSIC FOR A SUMMER NIGHT.”
There will be songs for all ages, as I draw on the music of the 40’s 50’s, 60’s 70’s, hymns, and some easy listening from the 80’s. As in the past 5 years, the programs will be on Sunday afternoons at the Kuser Park Gazebo shown in the photo above. For those visitors who are not familiar with the location, Kuser Park is located on Newkirk Avenue at Cedar Lane in Hamilton, with an alternate entrance off of Kuser Road behind Trenton Catholic Academy. The programs will run from 6 to 8 PM. The first program will be on Sunday afternoon, June 27, skipping July 4th weekend and resuming every Sunday thereafter from July 11, 18, 25, August 1, 8, 15, and 22.

As in years past, this program is completely free of charge, and at no expense to the taxpayers of Hamilton Township.

There will be no rain dates. Most of my “Sentimental Journey” readers and visitors to this blog love the music we grew up with. Mark you calendars and come on out. Please be sure to introduce yourself. Bring a blanket or folding chair and take a very nostalgic, heart-warming, and bittersweet trip back to the years when music was music.

THANK YOU!



1947: CHAMBERSBURG CHESTNUT SOFTBALL LEAGUE

Ralph Lucarella, I would hope that you, and a number of other veteran Chambersburgers will recognize some of the guys on the Fabian softball team. We'd like to know all we can about the Fabians and the league in which they played.

1947: REMEMBER GEORGE CASE SPORTING GOODS?

Yes, we "old timers" remember the sporting goods store that "Georgie" Case established after finishing a distinguished career with the American League Washington Senators. Like Willie Mays and Al Downing, George Case was a local baseball hero who made it in "the bigs," as we used to say.

1909 (Circa 1909) "Main Street" Yardville N.J,

Ok all you Yardville historians, help me with this one. Gary Lippincott, Don Whiteley, Lakeside Girl, and indeed, all you folks who are more familiar with "Main Street," Yardville, which one would assume is South Broad Street, (but not necessarily!") I have scanned this at 600 dpi in order to put you in the middle of that dirt road. I have also had to segregate the right side of the photo and lighten it. The original is in the dark. Check out the old horseless carriage along the curb as a horse-drawn vehicle goes by. This is an extremely rare postcard photo of early 20th century Yardville, So go ahead, take a leisurely walk up Main Street in Yardville!

Friday, June 25, 2010

1914: ISAAC WATSON HOUSE HISTORY

That area of Hamilton along the "Marshes" along the creek is a stretch of land that runs along the creek down to Trenton's Riverview Cemetery. It is probably the most historic and ancient historical area in the Mercer County area. It was here that the Watson family moved from "Farnsfield" in England and settled in the area, along with Conrad Abbott, Bow Hill, and other incredibly historic lore.
Special note is made of the Andrew Rowan connection.

1900: (Circa 1900) J.S. Wyckoff & Son Carriages



For well over 50 years, I have had a consuming interest in local history. All of these years as I have piled on historic bits and pieces, interesting newspaper articles and photos, and countless other local history memorabilia, I remain completely enchanted with old photos of local interest. The incredibly clear photo above in its original form is in a fast fading sepia specimen. Through the miracle of digital software enhancing procedures, these old photos can be brought back to pristine condition, as you can see by the exquisite photo of J.S. Wyckoff& Sons carriage factory. For those of us who love to use a bit of our imagination, I have scanned this incredibly clear photo in high definition in order to allow those visitors who are interested in those old horse and carriage years to enlarge the photo and plant yourself in the Wyckoff yard with all of his workers and carriages. The signs hanging on the wall on the left for "Perline" has been enhanced, as has the sign over to the right by the main building where the man in the white shirt stands. That sign was selected and scanned at an extreme high rate. It reads, "Dr. Daniels' Horse and Cattle Medicine." This carriage shop was located at South Stockton and Front Street in downtown Trenton.
This photo was generously donated by Ms. Amy Brand.

1877: HAMILTON SQUARE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH LOSES THE BELLTOWER

Among the millions of pages in my collection of Trenton newspapers are many accounts of countless churches in the area which lost their steeples or bell towers; actually, their crowning glory. The First Baptist Church in Trenton had a majestic steeple which reached toward the heavens but it gave way to mother nature. The downed spire in the photo was 120 feet high and brought down into the yard of the adjacent Reed property. Future research should reveal the actual date. For some reason the 175th anniversary history published in 1950 doesn't give the actual date.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

2010: JERSEY FRESH: THE COVETED JERSEY TOMATO

Every time I read or hear some wise derriere make a negative assault my home state of New Jersey, I do a slow boil. Years ago, the Secaucus area of New Jersey had a reputation for the odorous environment from refuse from factories, etc. With the arrival of the environmentalists, that problem was solved a number of years back. However the aforementioned dunderheads get their cheap laughs by constantly pinning a negative image on a state that has countless wonderful attractions. We are, and have been known as "the Garden State." Even as Florida and California are noted for oranges, lemons, and citrus fruit, Idaho, for the potato, Washington state for apples, so too is Jersey noted for the much desired and revered Jersey tomato. Visitor John Mullen is typical of those who are no longer living in New Jersey, but maintained his taste for the best tomato in the world. Likewise there are those who crave a "Tasty Kake," fresh Taylor Pork Roll, and in my case, an ice cold bottle of yesterday's Kern's cream soda.

1948: HAMILTON HIGH SCHOOL CHRISTMAS ASSEMBLY PROGRAM

I was a sophomore back in the Christmas season of 1948. I have highlighted members of the class of 1951 in the cast. Unless a visiting Hornet corrects me, I believe the rest of the members are believed to be seniors from what would be the class of 1949.

1944: WORLD WAR II - THE FUTURE OF TELEVISION

"Even small television sets will probably have screens about 8 x 10 inches....in more expensive television sets, screens will be as large as 18 x 24 inches..." Mention "Coaxial Cable," Alliance "TENNA-ROTOR," Philco, Capehart, and DuMont, to any of us "old timers" and we will regale you with stories of our struggles to point that antenna toward Philadelphia or New York for the perfect picture. I remember seeing the very earliest 6 inch television sets; indeed, I picked one up at a flea market back in the 1960's, but lost it in a flooded basement a year or so later. My very earliest experience with television was on a Trenton Transit bus going down Liberty Street toward town. At the bus stop, a television set was on and through the open window I had a chance to get a very fleeting glance at the picture. Result: complete infatuation with the new medium. It would be 1948 before brother Bud went to Bond's Electric on Hamilton Avenue and purchased a 10 inch "Admiral Consolette."
Those MEMORIES DO LINGER!

Email me and tell me about YOUR first television set.
Our visitors will be interested.

1940's: LELAND BUKER'S TRENTON TRANSIT

My friend of many years, the late Leland "Leon" Buker was a long time employee of the Trenton Transit Company. Indeed, Lee bled Trenton Transit's trademark cream and green colors. If these posts survive the years, as I suspect they will, future generations will be vitally interested in mass transit as it was experienced during the 20th century. Lee Buker's extensive collection of Trenton Transit memorabilia is ensconced safely in the Hamilton Township Public Library's Local History Collection, thanks to Rosemary and Tom Buker.

1991: HAMILTON TOWNSHIP IN 1950

1950: I was 16 going on 17, had an unrequited crush on Madeline Bencivengo, Pat MacBean, Mary Pyrah, Shirley Gress, and quite a few others whose names escape me these many years later. Unlike many of my classmates, I wouldn't reach the golden age of 17 and a driver's license until September 29th of that year. As you might imagine from the article I wrote those many years ago, Hamilton Township was a very different place than the megalopolis of today. A ride down Route 33 to Betty and Bill's would take us by Orsi's applicance store at the corner of White Horse Mercerville Road and Route 33, the Moser farm across from Betty and Bill's and Cedar Gardens. Kuser Road was as two lane road with open fields interspersed with deep woods.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

1953: TRENTON'S LEGENDARY ETON MENS' SHOP

Back in my teen years, I found myself, and the Glover family as part of the less affluent members of Trenton society. We never had the green stuff to be outfitted at F.W. Donnelly, R.A. Donnelly, or most of all, the Eton Mens' Shop. For us it was Metropole Clothing Factory on North Warren Street, or perhaps a trip to "Cheap John's" on South Broad Street, or another less expensive outlet whose name escapes me......was it Barnocky, or something along that line? Regardless, Eton was to the boys as the Stacy Sporty Shop was to the girls. Beautiful clothing, but prices that were above and beyond the budget of us "commoners."

1939: HAMILTON TOWNSHIP'S LINCOLN SPEEDWAY

I would wager that I am one of the very few who knew about the Lincoln Speedway which was once located on Klockner Road, adjacent to the Municipal Hospital, today's Geriatric Center, which would place it at or very near the present site of Nottingham High School. I have no idea of the exact location of the track....how far from the Hamilton Avenue side, etc. Once again, three isolated files come together above: a broadside, a program, and an article relating to the early beginnings of the 1/5th mile dirt track. Fascinating!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

1968: CAN YOU IDENTIFY ANY WITHOUT PEEKING?

I did fairly well on this picto-quiz on those people I knew personally. However, there were a number of personalities I didn't recognize. In 1986 I was commuting out of town daily and there were a number of persons whom I never met. Old time Hamiltonians will have fun checking out the "now and then" photos.

1986: NOTTINGHAM WAY AND CRESCENT AVENUE

This photo was lifted from the 1986 Hamilton Township map which Hamilton citizens receive each year. Former Mayor Jack Rafferty and his team had a very avid interest in local history. Jack Rafferty is an expert on Pre-Columbian artifacts, and has acquired countless relics from the former inhabitants of the area down by the Hamilton marshes, also known as the area which was formerly the Conrad Abbott estate. Were it not for Jack Rafferty, there would be no "Local History Collection" at the Hamilton Library. Were it not for former Councilman and friend Jack Lacy, there would be no Tom Glover connection with the Hamilton Township Public Library. It was Jack Lacy who spoke with the powers that be back in the early 90's to add me to the Hamilton Library staff.

Monday, June 21, 2010

2010: THIS SUNDAY, JUNE 27 IS THE BEGINNING OF MY SINGALONG PROGRAM

In those years before the modern distractions of computers, television and other diversions, families spent many hours of their leisure time in spiritually uplifting and inspiring family singalongs around the piano. Once again this year, I will be giving area residents the opportunity to partake in this long-forgotten custom, except I have replaced the piano with the computer, which has an unending repertoire. This year’s Kuser Park program is entitled,
“MUSIC FOR A SUMMER NIGHT.”
There will be songs for all ages, as I draw on the music of the 40’s 50’s, 60’s 70’s, hymns, and some easy listening from the 80’s. As in the past 5 years, the programs will be on Sunday afternoons at the Kuser Park Gazebo shown in the photo above. For those visitors who are not familiar with the location, Kuser Park is located on Newkirk Avenue at Cedar Lane in Hamilton, with an alternate entrance off of Kuser Road behind Trenton Catholic Academy. The programs will run from 6 to 8 PM. The first program will be on Sunday afternoon, June 27, skipping July 4th weekend and resuming every Sunday thereafter from July 11, 18, 25, August 1, 8, 15, and 22.

As in years past, this program is completely free of charge, and at no expense to the taxpayers of Hamilton Township.

There will be no rain dates. Most of my “Sentimental Journey” readers and visitors to this blog love the music we grew up with. Mark you calendars and come on out. Please be sure to introduce yourself. Bring a blanket or folding chair and take a very nostalgic, heart-warming, and bittersweet trip back to the years when music was music.

1918: CONSCRIPTION IN WORLD WAR I

"Over there, over there, send the word, send the word over there,
that the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming,
the drums rum-tumming everywhere,
So prepare, say a prayer, send the word, send the word, we'll be there,
We'll be over, we're coming over,
and we won't come back 'til it's over over there!.."

That old WWI patriotic song was brought back to us some 22 or 23 years later as we marshaled our armed forces for still another "war to end all wars." I can remember my father playing that oldie on our piano and all of us proudly singing it.

On the right side of the page are pages one and two of a 1918 conscription notice which notifies all able bodied American men to register for conscription into what was then known as "the war to end all wars." Most of our WWI heroes have passed on, even as many WWII veterans are leaving us daily at a very alarming rate. The graphic on the left was found on the web at a site that I inadvertently closed and cannot find in order to give credit.

Friday, June 18, 2010

2010: WHO IS THIS TOM GLOVER GUY?

I don't know whether I posted this interview or not. However, Ms. Norine Longo from the staff of the monthly "Hamilton Post" interviewed me some time ago. To be quite honest, I really didn't read it when it published because I had fresh memories of the substance of the interview. This was published in the "Hamilton Post," and there are visitors from all over the globe who do not receive that splendid local monthly newspaper. So these months later, I am publishing it so that those who wonder who this Tom Glover guy is can get a good idea of my 76 going on 77 years of living in the best town in the whole of America. Norine, your interviewing skills are splendid; asking all the right questions to get right down to the interviewee's soul.

Tom Glover, Local History Collection Historian at the Hamilton Township Public Library.
Do you ever wonder about how things used to be? Does history really repeat itself? This man doesn't wonder; he knows.
One of Hamilton's own, Tom Glover is Hamilton Township Public Library's Local History Collection Historian. Having an impressive background serving our country and as a part of the amateur radio community since the mid '70s, this man comes full circle in his talents and wisdom.
If you haven't heard his name, you're missing out!
Even if your best subject isn't history, Tom Glover is still Someone You Should Know.
Q: What do you enjoy most about being the local historian at the Hamilton Township Public Library?
A: Finding new and exciting historical information relating to our local area. Also finding names, photos and articles relating to local folks who are still with us, or who are related. Example: Posting a class photo which includes a person who is related to one or more of the students. I have received numerous emails from the younger generation who were thrilled to see their grandmother, grandfather, or some other friend or relative from years past.
Q: If there was anyone you could go back in time to meet who would it be?
A: This is a difficult question to answer. There are many whom I would like to meet. I would guess it might be Ernest Thompson Seton, whose books on wildlife set me on the road to being a reader when I was a young boy. His book, “Wild Animals I Have Known” was written in a way that carried the reader right into the everyday life of the wolverine, wolf, shrike, falcon, or numerous other wildlife, each with a personality of its own.
The restrictive nature of the above question calls for an additional comment: There are MANY people whom I would like to meet AGAIN. The Misses Ruth Margerum and Louise Baird, the school teachers who were responsible for my undying love of music, Miss Emily C. Reynolds, who I only got to know as a child, Miss Julia McLain, my 6th grade Kuser School teacher who taught me the magic to be found in literature, Margaret Gaydos, my 8th grade Kuser School teacher who exposed me and my classmates to Shakespeare, Longfellow, Tennyson, and other literary giants. How I would love to sit down with any one of them today and reminisce!
Q: If you could pick one, what would you choose to be the most interesting thing about Hamilton’s history?
A: Interesting question. I would say that it was being able to witness the evolution of Hamilton Township from a very rural farming community into an evolving megalopolis, along with the proliferation of farms that evolved into the numerous housing developments we see today.
Q: You served in the US Army Security Agency, can you tell us about that?
A: I served as a veteran of “The Cold War.” The Army Security Agency was a secret “Cloak and Dagger” organization whose mission was and is top secret. The fact that the ASA is still a viable “Cloak and Dagger” entity suggests that I maintain my age old pledge to not talk about my work, except to say that I was a Morse intercept operator. No one has given me the authority to reveal what we did. Suffice to say it was a “hush hush” organization utilizing the top ten percent of inductees into the military, and based upon the test results of the U.S. Army’s “AFQT” (Armed Forces Qualification Test).
Q: How did you decide what you wanted to be and do for a living? What necessary steps did you take to get you to the point that you are at now?
A: I so wanted to be a teacher when I graduated from Hamilton High School in 1951. However, my mom and dad couldn’t afford the $900 tuition to Trenton State Teachers’ College. I ultimately ended up giving 40 plus years to a “Mom and Pop” business who promised great things when we organized back in 1960 or so. The business was a moderate success, and my buddy and I were sure we would replace the two principles when they retired.
I was given the heady title of “Secretary” of the new company, and my buddy was the “Treasurer.” However, the principles each had two sons who were given the reins to the business. Unfortunately, the company went chapter 11 just as my buddy retired, and I was about to retire, and the inventory and assets were sold to a northern New Jersey company. Bottom line: I found myself retired at 62 with no pension, no medical insurance, and a very challenging start to retirement.
I will be eternally grateful to former Council President Jack Lacy for getting me a position in the Circulation Desk at the Hamilton Library, where I worked full time for 4 or 5 years. I subsequently approached Mayor Jack Rafferty and proposed filling in a long standing void for a local history repository at the Hamilton Township Public Library. Jack Rafferty, Mo Rossi, and Joe Belina were apparently impressed with my proposal and agreed to create today’s Local History Collection which is where I am today, and hope to be until I am no longer physically or mentally able to function.
Q: You also have a background in amateur radio. Can you tell us about your experiences with that? What interests you about radio? Your favorite thing about radio?
A: The computer age is so wonderful! I have always been a lover of “OTR;” which those of us in the hobby know of as Old Time Radio. I love to listen to the radio programs of my youth. Thanks to the digital age, I have literally hundreds of hours of old time radio programs in what is known as MP3 format. I could never begin to list all the programs I have on a separate storage disk. Example: World War II radio news programs with Edward R. Murrow, Elmer Davis, Frank Singizer, Gabriel Heatter, etc. Also “The Lux Radio Theater,” “Terry and the Pirates,” “Dragnet,” my favorite boyhood radio program, “Hop Harrigan, America’s Ace of the Airways,” and…..well I could go on forever.
As to my amateur radio career, It began back in the 1970s when I passed my “General” class FCC license. I purchased my first radio from an amateur radio friend, and talked all over the world with other “hams.” My other little two meter UHF radio was a constant companion for me as I talked with a select group of fellow hams as I commuted to and from New Brunswick during the '70s through the late '80s. The hobby has taken a back seat in my life due to the extremely high cost of amateur gear, the marked downturn in local 2 meter activity, and also to the new highly technical facets of the hobby which are beyond my technical ability to comprehend. I have great respect for those guys and gals who are into the latest hi-tech digital evolution of the hobby. I made many dear friends in the amateur fraternity, and really miss our daily mobile “Commuter Net.”
Q: How do you think radio will evolve in the near future?
A: Commercial broadcast radio has descended (or ascended, depending upon your age and point of view) into a medium for the younger generation. When one turns from 88 TO 108 on the FM dial, it becomes apparent that the music matrix is aimed at the 18 to 45 generation who love “rock” music in all its forms, or “rap” and other loud and crass “music” which is aimed at the 18-49 year old “demographic.” Gone are the Jack Pintos of the world disk jockeys who brought us truly listenable music. (Jack Pinto from WBUD was one of my favorite radio personalities.) I have found refuge in XM satellite radio where I can play music geared to my personal taste. XM and Sirius radio do not have to yield to the 18 to 45 demographics while the commercial radio stations depend on them. I personally don’t approve of the crude and sometimes foul and bawdy language I hear on some of the stations.
Q: As a frequent blogger of a variety of interesting topics, when did you begin blogging? How did you come to the decision that this was something you were going to partake in? How did you begin and what have you done since your starting point to draw in readers and followers?
A: I began blogging in November, 2005 with “Tom Glover’s Hamilton Scrapbook.” (http://www.glover320.blogspot.com/). The very large collection of persons, places, and things relating to the local area of Mercer County grew and grew, and I felt compelled to make them available to the public. My first interest is unearthing material on Hamilton Township, then Trenton, then the surrounding Mercer County area. I love to uncover obscure or little known news items from as far back as I can go.
The response to this website is about to reach 150,000 visitors; far above my wildest estimates. The very sad part of the situation is that there are pitifully few senior citizens in my age category who are interested in learning the basics of computer technology, and are thus denied an experience they would truly treasure. They would be the one segment of the population that would benefit most from the 3,000 plus posts that are on the site as of today.
Q: What do you find inspires you most (in your writing, in life)?
A: Many people ask how I can remember so many details of my early years. I have inherited my mother’s fantastic memory. I can recall the most remote details of seemingly insignificant events from as far back as my early grammar school years. When my readers write and tell me they how they enjoy or relate to my columns, or my websites, or my music presentations, it makes all hard work worthwhile.
Q: Where is your favorite place to visit in Hamilton?
A: Kuser Farm. I worked for Fred and Edna Kuser from the age of 13 right up to my marriage in 1954. My brother Bud preceded me, starting with the Kusers in 1940, and my younger brother Donnie worked there for a short while after I left. The Kuser Farm holds very special memories for me. It was in that very rural environment that I learned to love rural living. I find it a wonderful place to walk, meditate, and commune with God and nature.
Q: What is the earliest memory you have of becoming interested in automotive, radio communications, and aircraft history?
A: Every boy has a special place in his heart for the automobile. My buddy Don Slabicki and I began driving on Kuser Farm when we were 13 years old. I was the owner of a 1961 “Rambler” and also a 1940 Buick “Special” during my antique auto years.
It became a rich man’s hobby and I had to give it up. My interest in airplanes goes back to my WWII years. My oldest brother Len flew 30-plus missions over Nazi Germany as a waist gunner on a B-24 “Liberator.” That and the fact that my brother Bud taught me the fascinating hobby of building airplane models kept me interested in airplanes. I could still identify the sound of an old Douglas DC3 (or the military version C47) if it were to pass overhead today. The same goes for a P51 Mustang, and the whistle of a P39 Bell Airacobra.
Q: Based on your experience, how do you think Hamilton has evolved as a town over time? Where do you think it will go from here?
A: At the risk of sounding jaded, I miss the small town, rural character that was once Hamilton Township. I’m sure that sentiment is due to my advancing age, and equally sure that there are numerous others of my generation who share that sentiment.
My generation grew up in an era that was less complicated. We spent much more time in the great outdoors, before all the modern digital appliances, video and video games, and other leisure distractions became a part of everyday living. I miss that big open front porch on my Hartley Avenue home, where we played cards and games, talked about our girlfriends, and had the chance to commune with our neighbors on their front porches.
As to the question of where Hamilton will go from here, I envision a growing and burgeoning community with ever increasing traffic problems. I remember Route 33 when it was bounded by farms, Kuser Road when it was a two lane road with foliage that slapped your windshield if you made way for an oncoming vehicle, Route 25 (today’s Route 130) when it was also a country highway. We have changed from a very charming rural farming community to a highly populated and growing metropolis in the short span of 50 years, but I love Hamilton and will spend the rest of my days here.
Visit Tom Glover online at:
-Tom Glover's Hamilton Scrapbook: http://glover320.blogspot.com/
-Tom Glover's Bromley: http://tomgloversbromley.blogspot.com/
-Hamilton High: "Ever We'll be Loyal:" http://hhs51.blogspot.com/
-Kuser School: A Local Legend: http://kuser-school.blogspot.com/
-Amateur Radio-Broadcast Radio: Tom Glover Looks Back: http://gloveradio.blogspot.com/

To read articles written by Tom Glover for the Trenton Times, visit http://www.nj.com/columns/times/index.ssf?tomglover.
Join Tom Glover Sundays for Free Summer Sing-Alongs at Kuser Park as he presents "When Music Was Music." To view more about these events, visit http://www.hamiltonspace.com/article/19818-free+summer+singalongs+return+kuser+park .

Thursday, June 17, 2010

1873: LEGISLATIVE CHRONOLOGY FOR THE CITY OF TRENTON

The main thrust of this blog is to not only personalize the posts with familiar persons, places, and things, but more importantly, to bring into the light of the 21st century little-known historic facts of local history, figures and photos from the historic past of Hamilton, Trenton, Ewing, Pennington, Hopewell, and all other local communities. To some visitors to this blog, such posts will probably be of lesser interest. I have noted that there are few comments on "heavy" local history material, probably due to the fact that the majority of visitors are more interested in the personal photos and articles which are being published. The overall goal of this blog is to present both "the personal touch" and valuable, little known local history.

1902: METHODISM IN TRENTON -

The beautiful First Methodist Church on South Broad Street in downtown Trenton has been a fixture there since 1895. As can be seen in the article above, Methodism has been an active religion in the Trenton area since Captain Thomas Webb introduced it in the year 1766.

1902: THE LALOR TRACT

THIS ARTICLE WAS POSTED IN JANUARY OF 2010. HOWEVER, THE IMPORTANCE OF THE HISTORY OF THE HOLDINGS OF THE LALOR FAMILY WHICH EXTENDED FROM THE DELAWARE RIVER, DEUTZVILLE-RIVERVIEW CEMETERY AREA TO AN AREA NEAR BROAD STREET PARK, AND NORTHWARD TO THE CASS STREET AND ADELINE STREET PLACE THIS HISTORIC ARTICLE IN THE CATEGORY OF HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE.
(THE FORMER POST HAS BEEN DELETED AND MOVED UP TO RECENT POSTS.)

From deep within the millions of pages of Trenton newspapers comes this fascinating article telling interesting facts about the fabled "Lalor Tract." This 108 year old bit of history is quite difficult to classify. Along with interesting infomation on the Lalor family, there are tantalizing entries relating to Duck Island's tobacco and horseradish culture, Deutzville, Bow Hill, St. John's Cemetery, the D & R Canal, Jordan Mott and Roebling Companies, and numerous references to potteries. This article is a treasure trove of the South Trenton-Lalor-Bow Hill area of Hamilton Township.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

1914: THE ROBERT PEARSON HOUSE

Here's an old photo of the Robert Pearson House, not to be confused with the Isaac Pearson house over off of Independence Avenue in White Horse. This house was located further down South Broad Street approximately adjacent to the St. Raphael Convent in the area of today's Barclay Village. The Pearsons were among the earliest settlers in Nottingham, and owned thousands of acres all the way down to the Riverview Cemetery area of Trenton.

1947: KUSER ANNEX SPRING ENTERTAINMENT

Here are two "bobby soxers" from my generation. The uniform of the day for girls was dungarees rolled up to the upper calf, "saddle" shoes, black or brown and white, and of course the inevitable penny loafer. Here we see two of my classmates from Kuser Annex in 1947, Alvilda "Sissy" McGlynn, and Peggy Trolley practicing for their roles in the Spring Entertainment program for 1947, "China Boy." I was up for a part in that play, but rude and cruel Jean Larzalere told me I would have to give up my job working for the K users or forget about being in the play. I stayed with Fritz and Edna Kuser.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

2010: HOW I MISS MY "HAPPY"

She was oh so gentle, she loved the kids and the kids loved her, she was 11 years old and diagnosed with diabetes. Doc Solomon prescribed insulin to be given on a daily basis but it was impossible to bring her count down. Bottom line: Happy went to dog heaven and is happily running in the woods she loved so much. She passed on 5 months ago, but in those intervening 5 months, it seems she is sending me subliminal messages from above. I have seen more dog-related commercials, movies and other related canine reminders over the past 5 months that I did in all my life. I can't spend 5 seconds watching that commercial that has mistreated dogs and cats looking out at me from the TV. I actually tear up when I see the look on some of those poor mistreated animals, and would love to have 5 minutes alone with those who mistreat helpless animals. Animal lovers will agree that your pet dog or cat give unconditional love. You have to be an animal lover to understand the pangs of remorse one gets as we go on in our life journey. Over the years the Glovers have had chickens, geese, dogs, cats, and I even had "Corky," my variegated Canary. I have made a decision that there will be no more pets for me. My emotional makeup is such that I feel the loss as though I was losing a son or daughter. The only consolation is that Happy led a good life; like my 9 grandchildren, she was "spoiled rotten" as Mom Glover used to say. She would never dream of eating the common, ordinary "Iams" "Purina" or other prepared dog food. For her it was Glover table food. Perhaps I contributed to her poor health, but I know while she lived those 10-plus years before becoming diabetic, she was a happy member of the family. I miss ya, Happy....but I know we'll meet again, along with "Sniffy," "Queenie," "Nipper," "Nellie," "Shadow," "Sport," "Blackie" my favorite childhood cat, and other much loved household pets whose names escape me.

1938 (Ca. 1938) Sportsmen from the Italian American Sportsmens' Club

So many familiar names! Carlo, there's a Benedetti in there, there's Salamandra, Rossi, Funari, Mancuso.....many others. Before the place changed to the Villa Ristorante, the caretakers of the old Italian American Sportsmen Club let me metal detect on the property. I discovered that skeet shooting was a very important part of the recreation on the open field. There were 12 gauge shell casings all over the place on the field a bit beyond Kuser Road.

1942: A WWII AIR RAID WARDEN

He was a common sight to see back in the very early years of World War II. After the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the sighting of Nazi U-Boats off the Jersey coast, America found itself in a scary security position. With the possibility of enemy air raids over the continental United States, the Civil Defense authorities throughout the land formed air plane spotters on the roof of local buildings, and most fearsome, the "blackout." Enter the air raid warden. His job was to police his local neighborhood during a blackout to make sure ALL homes were in complete darkness, and all autos on the road were blacked out. He was equipped with the Air Raid Warden helmet, a flashlight, a police whistle, and a notebook. My father and my older brother Len were both local wardens. I dare say a number of my visitors were wardens also, or have relatives who were.

1922: HOMEDELL SCHOOL - THIRZA MCGALLIARD

The bureaucrats at the Hamilton School Board didn't like the idea that Miss McGalliard expelled students for their anti-social behavior. read her complaint as submitted to the HamiltonBoard of Education. Also read their letter reversing her decision. Miss McGalliard had a reputation of being a "no nonsense" disciplinarian. She was highly respected by MOST township parents.

Monday, June 14, 2010

1915: W.H. MOUNT GROCERIES, CIGARS, GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Slowly but surely, piece by piece, graphic by graphic, the digital files in the Hamilton Library Local History Collection begin to connect to each other. Above is a photo of Yardville's legendary Mount general store on South Broad Street, immediately below is an invoice to the Board of Education for supplies. Wonderful and interesting history!

1914: SCHOOL BOOKS WE WERE READING

"Old timers" will be quite familiar with the Traver name. In years past, Traver's Book Store was THE source for books. Mr. Traver was a kindly gentleman who was always willing to lend his assistance to booklovers. One of the saddest days in Trenton history was when Traver's closed their door and left Trenton without a book dealer. I remember the clearance sale they had back in the 1960's. It started out the one could by a bag of books for $3.00, and as the closing day arrived, all you could carry for a few dollars. I was there on the last day of the clearance sale. Mr. Jim Brimmer from the Trenton Rescue Mission was there. I had bags of books that were true rarities and as I was leaving, I asked Mr. Brimmer what was going to happen to the remaining books. They were going to be recycled! Trashed! Thrown away and crushed in a paper shredder! To a book lover such as I, the pain was awful! He and I were standing near the Rescue Mission truck which was being loaded for the trip to the paper recycling facility. I asked him if he would sell me a truck load. "Sure, $35.00 and you tell me where to deliver them." I was working in New Brunswick at the time, and at about 11:30 A.M. the next morning, Judy called me and said......"Tom, 5 men from the Rescue Mission were here at 8:30 this morning. They just left. I went out in the garage. There are books from the floor to the ceiling."I spent hours, days, weeks, going through those books. Mr. Don Sinclair was the archivist at the Rutgers "New Jersey Room." I called him and asked him if he was interested in any of the many rare volumes that were destined for destruction. I sent many rare New Jersey books up to him for inclusion in the New Jersey history collection.
I could write a book about my many years of collecting and seeking out historical material which would otherwise end up being destroyed. I also say with all the humility I can muster, that I had the foresight to procure the 100 year collection of local Trenton newspapers which were also going to the recycler. Somehow, I knew that microfilm preservation was not going to be the end of the preservation story. I was right! Along came the personal computer, and here we are, ready for the next 100 years of digitizing local history, "one page at a time." When the time comes that I am unable to function at this project, there will most certainly be a continuation of recording local history as it is found in the millions of pages in my Trenton newspaper collection.

1922: MISS MARION BARRICH APPOINTED TO YARDVILLE HEIGHTS SCHOOL

I have always prided myself on the clarity of my hand writing. Indeed, I have been doing calligraphy for many years. It is a stroke of irony that Mr. Robinson, who ultimately became Superintendent of the Hamilton Township Public School system wrote with a hand that left the reader to wonder, "is that Barrick, Barrich, Parrick, Parrich?" Perhaps my friend Don Whiteley, a very knowledgeable Yardville Heights historian will be able to tell us.
By the way: That salary of $1200 is annual NOT WEEKLY!