Friday, May 31, 2013
Back in the "dark ages" of hi-tech toys for kids, we survived quite well thank you, with many games that kept us outdoors all day with a break to run home for lunch. I can't begin to recall all the outdoor games that we played during those seemingly endless summer days of my youth" Buck Buck, Spin the Stick, Spin the Bottle, Post Office, Kick the Can, Marbles (we called them agates), getting under the hose in any one of our yards and wiling away those hot and humid central Jersey heat waves, sandlot baseball played on the very sandy Plaag's Grove field, shooting baskets in the Soffel back yard, swinging from a very far ranging monkey swing also in the Soffel yard from which we swung from a high platform and challenged each other to see how far we could drop to the ground.......the list goes on and on and on....
Thursday, May 30, 2013
As this website approaches 8,000 pages, I have found, through data supplied to me as the"webmaster," that there are basically two distinct areas of interest of the visitors who add daily to the "hits.". One lies in one of my favorite subjects, trivial nostalgic posts, and the other is another of my favorite subjects, what I choose to call "Hard Core History." Both of these subjects are coexisting quite well as the site approaches 700,000 "hits." The above is for those of us who literally treasure any and all information relating to the incredibly interesting history of Trenton. The above is a very rare set of digitized pages from noted Trenton historian Francis Bazley Lee's "HISTORY OF TRENTON, NEW JERSEY, the record of its early settlement and corporate progress." The volume was compiled for the STATE GAZETTE and printed in 1895 at the State Gazette print shop.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Few things spur my imagination more than the area of South Trenton from Market Street down to Lalor. Who wouldn't want to learn about that fabled area affectionately known as "Jewtown," where hard workers fresh from "the old country" came to raise their families and establish countless businesses. The Trenton Jewish population will go down in history if and when the story of their magnificent historical heritage is brought out of the past and presented here in the future. Thus it is with Mr. Art Finkle who has taken the step to digitize Jewish Americana with a special emphasis on the local Jewish population. I am really pleased to see local history being brought into the digital age for present and future generations so that they may learn another fascinating facet of local history. On a personal note, Art, I replaced the out of focus "American Jewish Historical Society" with one from my files. I am sending you a copy of it for future use.
The article above relates to a story with which I am very familiar. My career was spent in a dead end job in the bearing and power transmission industry with the Brown Bearing and Supply Company. I spent 42 years as a non-engineer specialist in bearings and power transmission equipment; the latter equipment including power transmitting belting of all types, roller chain, sprockets, pulleys, "V" belts and really, anything that was used to power the equipment of the many industrial factories in the Trenton - Mercer, and Delaware Valley area. The Ashton company began way way back in the mid 19th century with a center city Trenton location. The above article describes the new building which still stands on the corner of Spruce Street and New York Avenue. You will note that one of the employees was Lee Wiley. Lee was to take over the business and form the Wiley Hughes Supply Company which was in business right up into the 1960's. One of the monstrous errors I made in my career was to decline the offer to move from the bearing company to the Wiley Hughes company where I would get benefits and a salary increase. I opted to stay with a company that ultimately placed their sons in the positions my partner and I should have had and the company went Chapter 11 in less than 2 years.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
This exquisite view of Perry Street in a bit of a shambles as the debris lies on Perry Street during the 1939 removal of trolley tracks throughout the city. The old fashioned trolley was being discontinued to be replaced with those newfangled rubber tired Trenton Transit buses. The Trenton Transit Terminal can be seen on the left in the middle of the photo.
Only the very oldest old timers will remember when the canal ran through Trenton and crossed Lalor Street near the Stokeley plant and the Trenton Potteries "Plant 2" seen in the photo. The railroad crossing in the background is still in use today by that little "jitney" that travels along the river down to South Jersey.
Monday, May 27, 2013
They call it "the forgotten war," and in some ways it is very true. As we honor those who gave their all in America's wars past and present, it seems that the first victim of the Korean war, a Hamilton Township veteran, would have gotten at least a passing mention in the local press. Perhaps I am in error and there has been recognition given to this local hero. If so, I would ask that someone let me know so that I can include it in the "MILITARY" folder in the Hamilton Library Digital Local History Collection.
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Thursday, May 23, 2013
I don't understand why Ray Sypniewski has not received more recognition in the local area. After all, he was the first man to give up his life as a fatality in the Korean War. Back in the 1980's I received a communication from Harry Sypniewski advising me of Ray's ultimate sacrifice. I immediately wrote the column above in honor of one of my childhood friends. A tear comes to my eye as I remember how Mom Glover observed that he was such a polite and very good looking boy. Ray was a hero and I was privileged to be his and the Sypniewski family's friend.
The Jewish section of South Trenton in the Union-Market Street area was once a thriving community with incredible vitality. Most old time Trentonians probably at one time or another journeyed down Market Street for the much heralded and famouse "Jewish Rye Bread" from Kohn's Bakery. I must admit that I am not familiar with the Kunis Bakery, but thanks to Tom Tighue who found these photos, Kunis' bake shop has been re-introduced to the 21st century. I recall back in the early or mid 1960's when they were re-developing that area of town, being allowed to enter a vacant building where the former occupant had left a cellar full of old books and papers relating to Trenton. They were recovered and now have a repository here at the Hamilton Library after many years in the Glover storage area.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I have taken the original "wide angle" portion of this photo, zoomed in and enlarged it in order to highlight the merchants and establishments along this stretch of South Broad Street. J.B. VanSciver's tower can be seen in the distance.
"You keep coming back like a song.
A song that keeps saying 'remember.'"
The sweet used to be that was once you and me,
Keeps coming back line an old melody.."
OK, I admit it. I am completely enamored when I see these photos of center city Trenton; a place where I, my family, and countless visitors to this site hold in an almost sacred place in our collective memories. Reid's, The Mayfair, Yard's Kresge's, Woolworth's, Dunham's, Kaplan's, Traver's Book Store, Flagg Brothers Shoes, Trenton Transit, and a red brick paved street, stir memories in me that are so firmly and indelibly impressed in my memory that I know I will take them with me when life's journey is over.
The passage above is from an old song I remember to this day. It was popular back in the 1940's, and quite appropriate to this nostalgic post. It ends.........
"From out of the past, where forgotten things belong, you keep coming back by a song.." AMEN!
Monday, May 20, 2013
I will be retrieving all the Mercerville VFD articles and columns on this site and posting them in another lengthwise "photo album. Above is one I just discovered in a 1936 Trenton Evening Times newspaper.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Keep an eye on this page. I am currently compiling and retrieving photos and articles on Trenton area theaters which in my many years of historical research has proven to be a very eagerly sought subject. I will be posting many photos going back to the early years. Many of these graphics have already been posted on this site and with 7,500 pages, and given the popularity of the subject I have decided to place them all on this page. Stay tuned; many more to come!