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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

1916: Farmingdale School

Today it's a park. The Farmingdale School was one of Hamilton Township's oldest schools, dating back to the early 1800's. In the early years, the school hosted numerous religious gatherings on Sundays. If you are an alumnus of that venerable old school of learning, your memories of your years there will be welcome.

1929: The Interstate Fair

One of the very unfortunate losses Hamilton Township experienced was the loss of the N.J. State Fair. Many of us have fond memories of that old institution. Over the years, the "Fair" was the venue of Stock car racing, midgit racing, horse racing, "Lucky Teter," "Joie Chitwood's Hell Drivers." The "Fair" was an annual fall event which was attended by thousands of citizens from all over the area. The Hamilton Library's "STATE FAIR" folder includes material dated back to the establishment of the organization in 1888.

1897: Another "Spider" Kelly Item Found

I recently posted a photo of a notable Featherweight boxer from Trenton's past. A family member wrote in my guestbook that Mr. Kelly passed away in 1937. I found this article from 1897 referring to the Eureka Boxing Club of Bordentown. At this stage of his career, he was apparently retired as a boxer, and was the trainer of boxer Jimmy Casey and "Patsy" Corrigan,

1936: Lawrenceville Grammar School Class of '36

It is January 31, 2006 as I enter this photo. This is one of a few selected graduation photos I am adding to the "SCHOOLS, MISC." folder in the Hamilton Township Public Library's Local History Collection.

1936: New Postmaster, New Post Office

1936 David Blackwell, Centennarian

There are certain names that one automatically associates with a geographical area. One of those names is Blackwell. It seems that the Blackwell family proliferated in the Pennington-Hopewell area for many generations.

There is a legend about the town of Hopewell. I don't know whether it is true or not, but it is an interesting story. It seems that way back in the early years of our area as families settled in the area, they had a greeting when they met for a family get together. Legend has it that one relative would say, "Hope you are well." The relative would answer, "Am-well." Truth or a legend?

1936 Delaware River at the Foot of Cliff Street

When I was a boy in the 1940's, the Delaware River was a very popular swimming spot. Here are lifeguards practicing their craft and keeping up with the latest in lifesaving apparatus.

1912 Amateur Radio Operators Fight Back

Radio was in its very early stages back in 1912. No one ever thought that it would evolve into an invaluable service in times of emergency. The article is from the month of March, 1912. In a few days, the Titanic disaster will occur, and amateur radio had a part in the disaster.

1918 Thomas Watson WWI Fatality

The files at the Hamilton Library will be adding to the WWI and WWII folders. There will be articles on draftees, rationing, and other war-related material.

The article and photo here is the first in what I am sure will be numerous articles on local military heroes who gave their all for our country.

Hopewell Grammar School Class of '36

There they are, Hopewell Grammar School's class of 1936. Blackwell, Castoro, numerous familiar family names who have resided in Hopewell for generations.

Monday, January 30, 2006



"Spider" Kelly

This photo came to me from the family. "Spider" was a famous local Trenton Featherweight from the latter part of the 19th century into the early part of the twentieth. He finished his illustrious career in boxing as a trainer for many local boxers. More material will be posted on "Spider" in future posts.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

1937: St. John's Sacred Heart School

This is the graduating class of 1937 from St. John's School. The school closed recently. It became a victim of declining enrollment and the resulting financial problems caused in part by the seperation of church and state. The Trenton community lost a school which was noted for scholastic excellence.

1935: Cook School Safety Patrol

Here they are, the members of Wilbur's Cook School safety patrol.
The caption say is all: "They Guard the Safety of Cook School Pupils."

1896 Trenton Schools in Great Shape!

The Trenton schools in the latter part of the 19th century were kept in excellent condition by a cadre of very competent workers.


I manually transcribed this article back in the 1970's. With the arrival of the new century, Chief Hiner was anticipating a growing city of Trenton, and with that growth, the need to re-shape and sharpen his force.

Chief Hiner recommended the erection of signal lights throughout the city that can be readily seen by the police officers on their posts, thus bringing them into quicker communication with their respective districts. The recent escapade a young patrol officer had with a burglar when he emptied his revolver at the thief without a shot taking effect has prompted Chief Hiner to ask for the erection of a shooting range. The new men on the force have practically had no experience in handling weapons, and the installation of a revolver range would no doubt prove a big benefit to the department. Hiner's report showed the addition of 12 men to the force during the year, as the result of the annexed territory. During the year, 3,036 persons were arrested, against 2,334 for the previous year;
an increase of 702.
Although the number of arrests has increased, the records show a decided falling off in the number of serious offenses. Chief Hiner says there is very little gambling going on in the city. Poker is played somewhat, but after an investigation, the department found that it is powerless to prevent it. The installation of an automobile wagon would greatly lessen the expense now attached to the patrol service. It could be used by mounted police in patrolling the suburban districts. The large amount of new territory which has recently been annexed to the city is extremely difficult for the men to patrol on foot, and it will be not at all surprising if the board decides to station mounted police in these outlying sections.

1938: Trenton Times

That venerable old newpaper has been around for many years. Many of the photos and articles published on "Tom Glover's Hamilton" came from back issues. This photo shows the Times building when the paper was located on Stockton Street in downtown Trenton.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

1872: The Genesis of the Hamilton Avenue Methodist Church

The stately and architecturally beautiful church still stands on the corner of Hamilton Avenue and Hudson Street.

1916: Kuser School Mothers' Recipes

1909: Burglary at Lutze Jewelers

Crime was alive and well in Mercer County as this clip from 1909 shows.

1898 Looking Back to the Trenton of 1848

This is one in a series of numerous looks back at the city as it appeared during the mid 1800's. There will be additional clips of this type in future posts.

1935: Rider vs Trenton State

Back then, it was Rider College, and Trenton State Teachers' College. The rivalry was an classic confrontation.

1935: Jewish Women Donate Flag

These ladies took the time to recognize the good works of the Boy Scouts of Ameria, and presented a flag to their leader.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Stockton Street as it was

The Trenton Sunday Times Advertiser published "Glimpses of Trenton Years Ago" every week in the paper. It provided a graphic treasure for 21st century perusal. Some of the photos came from the extensive collection of the Trenton Public Library's "Trentoniana" collection.

1910: Beatty Street Before Paving

Can you imagine Beatty Street being a dirt road? Well it was back in 1910 as this photo graphically illustrates.

1909: St. Joachim Presents an Opera

Citizens of American-Italian descent should be very proud of the musical heritage of Italy. The "broadside" shown in this graphic was originally a small black and white ad in the "Daily State Gazette" of May, 1909. With a bit of touching up, it is transformed into an interesting bit of history. In the early part of the 20th century, St. Joachim's Church on Bayard Street was a refreshing retreat for the newcomers to America. Mass on Sunday, and the spacious auditorium for their many community events.

1931: Digital Readout? Well, It's a Start!

Vintage radio ads have always fascinated me. This "Fada" ad touts the new "Automatic Flashograph" which assisted the owner to zero in on the exact frequency, guided by a neon light indicator. My family had a radio with a round green indicator with a black "pupil" in the center. As you moved away frotuned it to the desired frequency, two vertical lines converged.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Should you want to contact me, my e-mail address is

1933 Hamilton Square School Commencement

This is the quartered and segmented scanned program of the Commencement exercises of the Hamilton Square Grammar School's Class of 1933.

1915 Mercerville School

Would you believe that this, and many other historic documents were destined to be recycled? Thankfully, there are some enlightened citizens who are not "historically challenged," and saw that there was a redeeming value for "trash" of this type. All will agree that by today's standards, the Mercerville School got their money's worth from Mr. Hull's labors. Thirty cents per hour for varnishing desks! Where is his union steward?

1950's; Hamilton Avenue Greenhouses

The photo indicates that the greenhouses were those of Frenking, the Florist. I have since found that this is not the case. The photo indicating it as the home of "Frenking the Florist" is in error.
This photo brings back many, many memories of my teen years. Down the street was the home of my childhood buddy, Jesse Anderson who lived in a little cottage on Ward Avenue. Carl DeAngelo's Del Rio was also in the neighborhood, and Carl had a huge round oak table reserved for me and my buddies where he dubbed us the "Knights of the Round Table." We met there nearly every night after taking our dates home.

Camp Olden Area Develops

Can this ad for real estate in the Newkirk-Liberty-Hamilton-Kuser area harbor shed a bit more light on the boundary of the Civil War Camp Olden?

1909: Hopewell - Ewing Vigilant Society

How great is this? A society of farmers who chase after the bad guys and turn them in for prosecution.

1909: The Formation of the Mercer Auto Co.

Hamilton Township's internationally famous Mercer Automobile Company was incorporated in 1909.
The Mercer, along with another Trenton area auto, William Sharp's "Sharp Arrow," made many racing headlines in the early part of the 20th century.

1919 The Consummate Airliner

Here's a 1919 state of the art passenger type "aeroplane" replete with Wicker seats, and other very limited passenger conveniences. It was a giant forward step in aircraft size back then, as was the small single place aircraft in the photo below.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Another Great Old Trenton Company

Wyckoff & Son were very popular carriage makers in the Trenton of yesteryear. One of the vehicles shown in the photo was fabricated for Fitzgibbon & Crisp.

Bethel Lutheran Church 90 Years Old

Articles such as this is what makes the local history project worthwhile. That venerable old church on Johnston Avenue in Hamilton will celebrate 100 years in Hamilton in 1917. The real estate, as seen in the article, was sought in 1916. In this year of 2006, Rev. Haus' Bethel is still a valued community asset.


This photo of center city Trenton as it appeared in 1934 is a true treasure. Old time Trenton area residents will recognize the theater marquees on both sides of East State St.

Kuser School in the 1940's

Long, long before I met the love of my life to whom I have been married for 51 years, there were "other women" (little girls?) in my life. Let's see, the very first was Mary Lou, then Shirley, then Mary Ann, then.......The little fella with the Mel Torme pompadour hair do is yours truly, surrounded by my grammar school crushes. The lower left photo explains why it was so difficult for me to dance with the girls. Most of them were taller than I! Ahh, those dear old golden rule days just keep coming back like a song.

Save, Enlarge, and Sign My Guestbook!

Saving and enlarging the graphics on this site:
To save: RIGHT CLICK on the graphic. Click
SAVE TARGET AS and choose a spot on your hard drive.
To enlarge a graphic that allows for enlarging:
Click on the graphic. It will enlarge. After first enlargement, if still another enlargement is possible, look for an orange and blue icon on the LOWER RIGHT corner of the graphic. If one appears, click on it for maximum enlargement.
NOTE: Depending on the size of the file, there are occasions when the orange and blue icon does not appear immediately. Wait a second or two with your cursor arrow on the lower right of the photo; sometimes it takes a bit of time until the icon appears.

Ewing's Eastern Aircraft

During World War II, I remember with with remarkable clarity the daily flights over my Hartley Avenue home. They flew so low, one could see the pilot in the cockpit as he flew over our house testing a brand spanking new Grumman "Avenger" from the assembly line at the Parkway Avenue facility.

Do you Remember the TRENTON GIANTS?

Many old timers remember going to Dunn Field, on the Brunswick Circle to watch the Trenton Giants play their opposing teams in the old Class "B" Interstate League.. Let's see, they played against the Harrisburg Senators, Sunbury Reds, Lancaster Red Roses, York White Roses, and the team's perennial nemisis, the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Who rembembers Maurice "Mo" Cunningham, Pete Pavlik, Don Robertson, Ray Kaat, and "Say hey" Willie Mays.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

1944 Klockner School Keystone Safety Patrol

One of the things that makes Hamilton such a great place to live lies in the "small town" heritage it has for those of us senior citizens who have spent our lifetimes as residents. The above photo shows the safety patrol from Klockner School. Eddie Layton, in the lower center of the photo was the son of Mr. Joe Layton, who had the contract for providing the school buses for then rural Hamilton. Eddie and his father drove the buses. Eddie's sister, Dorothy Layton Fracella, was a classmate of mine in the Hamilton High School class of 1951. SMALLER AND RURAL WAS BETTER!

1941: My Mother, the rural Hamiltonian

This is a personal family photo of my mother during the dark days of World War II feeding the chickens in our yard at 131 Hartley Avenue. Today, those yards have morphed into lush green lawns. Back in the 30's and 40's nearly every home in our suburban neighborhood had chicken coops, and a vegetable garden.

Lalor School Class of 1937 - 1938

Here's a class photo of the class of 1937-1938. Perhaps you were in that class or know someone who was. If you do, and if he or she has an email address, you can send this photo to them. Look on the bottom of this text and find the icon for an envelope. Click on it, fill in the blanks, and voila! Instant Email.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Pennington's William P.Howe, Jr.

I met this gentleman many years ago when my buddy Don Slabicki and I worked for Fred and Edna Kuser. Bill Howe was Edna Howe Kuser's brother. We met him long after his World War I army service. Indeed, when we met him he was a big game hunter. I recall his stories of going on safaris in Africa. His father, William P. Howe Senior was the former Mayor of Pennington. As I recall, the Mayor was a native of Tennesse before settling in Pennington at "The Birches." The Howe's had a very busy nursery in Pennington and Hamilton back in the 30's and 40's.

Pearson Burial Ground

One of the most fascinating and historic places in Hamilton is to be found over on South Broad Street adjoining the Colonial Cemetery.


The "Poor Farm" referred to was located on Route 130 adjacent to Harry's Army-Navy Store.

1913: Jewish Community Protest Stereotyping

One thing that stands out in clear focus as I peruse the millions of pages in our local newspapers, is the rampant racism which existed in our own community back in the late 19th century and continuing well into the 20th century. Italians, Irish, African American, and Jewish immigrants, as well as numerous others in our community, and communities all over America were victims of very degrading public ridicule. Aparently if you weren't a white Anglo Saxon Protestant, you were fair game..


Each week back in 1936, the Trenton Evening Times published public service announcements which concentrated on the growing problem of juvenile delinquency. Viewed in retrospect, one must wonder where we went wrong.


Some of my favorite library subjects are class pictures from the pre-1960 era, and photos such as this, showing the Kuser baseball team. Years from now, relatives and friends will find these photos of great interest; especially those who are interested in genelogy.

John Abbott II House

A future entry on this site will include a more detailed story of the John Abbott II house, home of the Historical Society of Hamilton Township. Currently, (2006) the society is led by president Dr. James Federici. The Society meets the first Monday of every month from March through June, and September through December. Meetings are held in the Hamilton Township Public Library. If you are interested in the fascinating history of Hamilton and would like to join us, send me an email at and I will contact you.

1909 Hamilton Fire Company Formed

As a Bromley resident for 42 years or so, it is fitting that I include the accompanying article on the genesis of the volunteer fire company with their slate gray fire trucks on my website. In 3 more years, that venerable engine company will celebrate a centennial anniversary.

Class of 1943 - Holy Angels Grammar School

Do you know anyone in this class photo of the Holy Angels Gramar School class of 1943? Oh to return to the years when the school boys wore neckties and the girls wore dresses!