A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

African Americans in the Matawan Journal - 11 July 1918

Two front page articles from The Matawan Journal, 11 July 1918 offer insights into the lives of African-Americans in the Matawan area at the onset of America's involvement in World War I. The first tells how African Americans were subjected to the new draft. The second tells the story of an African American's struggles in the local defense industry.

Eight Colored Men In Next Call

A call for eight colored men from this district has been received but the date of their entrainment has not yet been announced. Ten men are to be asked to appear in the Borough Hall, Keyport, of which the last two named are for a reserve in the event that some of the others do not present themselves. Those to go are: Oscar Herbert Seruby, Hayward Johnson, William Reed, Henry Thornton, Ernest D Jones, Benj II Cranshaw, Ernest Fowler, Harvey Quarles, Harold Holmes, and Asbury Carney.

"Butsy" Holmes Acquitted: Jury Decided He Was Not Guilty of Malicious Mischief

This article tells how Edward "Butsy" Holmes quit his job at a local nickel plating company in a dispute over wages. His employers at the Munning-Loeb plant accused him of returning to the job and filing down some furnace points in retaliation, shutting down the furnace for two weeks. The jury acquitted him of the charges, seemingly agreeing with his testimony that he had filed the furnace points weeks earlier to improve the flow of fuel oil. Holmes contended that his actions did not cause the furnace shutdown. The plant was doing work for the US Government, likely producing nickel-plated war materiel, like bullet casings or ammunition boxes.

History: Elizabeth Spader Clark, Support for the War Effort, 1918

I've written several articles to date on Elizabeth Spader Clark, a local who served her country during the First World War through the YMCA in England.(See Untimely Death, Obituary, and Wedding), 

My wife spent considerable time yesterday reviewing wartime issues of The Matawan Journal looking for Ms Clark's departure for Europe and found several interesting pieces. Not only did she find an article announcing Ms Clark departure for England in September 1918, but a mention of her marching in Matawan's Fourth of July parade in 1918 in her YWCA uniform as a representative of the canteen service in France. There was also an article from August 1918 talking about Ms Clark as chair of the Jewish War Relief Committee of Keyport.

For Over Seas Service

Miss Elizabeth Spader Clark, daughter of W V Clark, left on Saturday morning for England, where she will engage in YMCA work among "our boys." Several months ago she offered her services and this week her appointed time came. On the way over she was placed at the head of a unit of fifty young ladies, one of the largest units yet sent across for this kind of work.

Matawan Journal, 12 September 1918

Matawan Journal, 22 August 1918, pg 8

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Matawan Grad at Pace University Killed in Alleged Dispute Over Drugs

Max Moreno, a graduate of Matawan Regional High School attending Pace University, died from a bullet to the temple in an alleged dispute over drugs at his posh New York City apartment, according to The NY Daily News. Moreno was a marketing student at the university's Lubin School of Business and was set to graduate next year.The paper noted that his apartment rented for $2,300/mo.

History: Petition For a Cliffwood Primary School, 27 Sept 1900

The residents of Cliffwood and Cliffwood Beach published a petition 110 years ago this week seeking their own elementary school. They didn't want their small children to have to make their way across town in inclement weather to attend school. Their entreaty to the more powerful forces in town is not so far off from the economic and social situation in the school district today.

Also of interest here: The petitioners chose to publish their notice in the Keyport Enterprise, prompting The Matawan Journal to print the notice again on their front page, along with a bit of a lecture about the purpose of a local newspaper.  While the paper disagreed editorially with the petitioners, they cried foul that anyone would think they would refuse to publish a contrary viewpoint to their own. They even seemed hurt that the petitioners felt they couldn't bring their entreaty to them for publication.

Ref: The Matawan Journal,  27 September 1900, front page

The Role of a Local Paper

The JOURNAL is a local paper and its columns are always open to communications of public interest, no matter whether the views of the correspondent are in accord with those of the editor or not. Simply because we believe it will be for the best interests, educationally speaking, of the children of the township to continue the present method of conducting the schools, does not say or mean that those who have different views cannot express them to our readers. There are always two sides of a question and the only way to get both sides heard is through reading the arguments in the local papers or hearing them discussed at a public meeting called for the purpose.

Petition for a Cliffwood Primary School

To the Board of Education of the Township of Matawan,and also to the Citizens outside to the limits of the Cliffwood School District: We your |petitioners, residents of said district, many of us parents of children of our vicinity in particular do respectfully petition you to use your best endeavors to secure to us the erection of a suitable school-building, supplied with teachers equipments suited to our necessities. We have no object to a central high school located at Matawan, but we believe that It would be for the best interests of our children in the beginning of school life to have proper facilities and teachers near at home, and as they advance in years and progress in their studies and become better able to stand the journey to the Matawan school, and have them promoted when suitably advanced, to it. 

This is not a return to the old system but one that is being adopted throughout the county, They have a high school in Neptune Township and also nine primary schools, two or three of which are in open sight of the high school, one of which recently completed is a nice brick building. Ocean township has more than that. Other townships in the county have a similar system. The good people of Matawan are fortunate in having such a good school at their doors. They have also the votes to outvote us, but we believe that they are generous and public spirited enough to give us a motely of the privileges enjoyed by them and are not so selfish as to deny to the outlaying districts the advantages they, themselves, would like to possess, and no doubt would demand if placed in the same position. 

You will bear in mind that every child of school age is entitled to all the advantages to secure the best education it is possible to give them. We believe that a great wrong would be done to require our children, especially the younger ones, to attend school at Matawan by walking or otherwise in all kinds of weather. In all communities there are those whose circumstances will not permit them to provide their children with proper protection from our rigorous weather. We therefore repeat our petition to you, who have the votes, the influence, and enjoy the great advantages for your children, that you do, to lend us your aid in securing to us our just rights and such as you would desire yourselves under the same circumstances.

News Updates as of 29 September 2010

  • Tropical Storm Nicole will be merging with a storm currently hitting the Carolinas and deliver up to 2 inches of rain, winds between 20-30 MPH, flash flooding, and thunderstorms to Aberdeen and vicinity on Thursday evening into Friday, according to The Weather Channel. Local weather is expected to be sunny and clear for Saturday's Matawan Day, MAPL Book Sale, and Spaghetti for the Soul events.
  • The Independent has not been able to obtain detailed official statements or open public records on Matawan Chief of Police James Alston's suspension from duty or the disciplinary charges he faces. Each institution involved claims the ongoing matter must be kept under wraps due to privacy considerations related to personnel and pension issues. Ultimately a full public disclosure seems unlikely, even after the dust settles, unless of course Mr Alston allows the information to be released. A similar situation at the library left more questions than answers. Undoubtedly the borough is anxious to see things settled one way or another given Mr Alston's publicly funded salary of over $10,000/month, which continues on and on during this seemingly neverending review.
  • Aberdeen Town Council minutes for July through September were posted online on Monday.
  • My wife's Apple computer is showing the Board member page hyperlinks just fine, so the errors I'm finding are peculiar to my Windows Netbook viewer. Once again we can blame Bill Gates and Microsoft! ;-)
  • Newly appointed Monmouth County historian Randall Gabrielan will seek grants to fund necessary maintenance, repair, and renovation to Burrowes Mansion, per The Independent. I hope he and the Matawan Historical Society will take a moment to review the value of obtaining items of local historic value available from an individual in Texas, items related to Elizabeth Spader Clark and her YMCA service during WWI. I spoke with a member of the Society in August but have yet to hear back.
  • The APP Editorial Board met with the local candidates for freeholder on Tuesday, per APP. Most candidates emphasized cutting services, cutting municipal employees and their benefits, and cutting taxes. Most seemed to agree that those who weren't proactively making cuts would eventually have no choice but to begin whacking away at costs. If that is their whole agenda to improve life in Monmouth County, maybe there is no need for county legislators in the first place? They're obviously not going to spend money to keep our wayward youth detained within the county but continue to send them out to neighboring county facilities, leaving local parents and police officials to travel long distances to visit our children. The Independent article on historic preservation (above) prominently featured Monmouth Freeholder Lillian Burry referencing the warm spot she has in her heart for the Burrowes Mansion. But given her fellow Freeholders' overwhelming desire to cut and cut, just where does she think the money is going to come from to paint and trim the mansion? Her exuberance seems a bit cynical in that context.

Board Accepts Warren's Resignation; Seeks Aberdeen Candidate to Fill Term

The Independent has published a colorful update on Joey Warren's resignation from the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District's Board of Education. The BOE met on 27 September 2010, at which time they accepted his resignation with dissent from Martin Ruprecht related to the board's commendation of Joey's service. Charles Kenny, President of the Board, highlighted Joey's finer points in a quote to the newspaper.

“Mr. Warren had what I characterized as a unique perspective,” Kenny said. “Sometimes he was characterized as brash; however, Mr. Warren did have an ability to direct issues in the district with the goal of education. Much of his interest in the board was to implement policies which fostered student achievement, increased test scores and increased student performance.”

I would point out that Joey was elected in April 2009, not 2008 as suggested in The Independent. His replacement would complete an unexpired term through April 2012.

BTW: While looking for Joey's page at the district website, I noticed that the links to board member pages are rife with technical difficulties. The Members page shows only 4 member name hyperlinks down the left column. Presumably the rest of the names are below the visible area of the screen. Mr Kenny's page shows 8 members down the left side. Elizabeth Hayward gets only 4 members. Pat Demarest's page also shows 4 members, but there are traces of a couple more hidden behind the black Schoolwires banner, which is obscuring names. I recommend that the BOE have the webmaster look into this.

Cliffwood Beach Firm Wins Construction Bid in Manalapan

DeFino Contracting of Cliffwood Beach submitted the winning bid of $733,000 for intersection improvements at Route 527A and High Bridge Road in Manalapan, according to The News Transcript.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sample Ballots - 2 November 2010 General Election

The Monmouth County Clerk has posted the sample ballots for the 2 November 2010 General Elections. The Aberdeen ballot includes votes for representative to the US Congressional 6th District, county sheriff, and two freeholders. The Matawan ballot also includes candidates for two members of the Borough Council.

The ballots include a proposed amendment to Article VIII (Taxation and Finance) Section II of the NJ State Constitution. The amendment derives from Senate Concurrent Resolution No 60, introduced 28 January 2008. Tom Kean's website provides his explanation for the need to amend the Constitution in this way. I could find no discussion of this issue in the press.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Matawan Huskies Ranked 12th in State After 3 Games

Matawan Regional High School's Huskies football team is ranked #12 on the Newark Star-Ledger's Top 20 in NJ Football as of 27 September 2010. The 45-6 victory over unbeaten Raritan didn't hurt. Go Huskies! Next stop: Rumson on Saturday.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

History: Charles and Elmer Geran of Matawan

The Matawan Journal issue of 25 September 1880 contains an ad for Charles A Geran's hardware store in Matawan. Charles claimed to have a well-selected stock of crockery, glass and earthenware, hardware, cutlery, paints, oils, putty, lime and lath, cement, plaster of Paris, land plaster, Paris Green, London Purple, etc. Paris green and London purple were insecticides introduced about 1878, according to Clemson University's A Chronological History of Insecticides and Control Equipment (1854 - 1954)

Charles Ackerman Geran was was born in March 1845 in Marlboro Township, the youngest of eight children of Thomas and Martha (Pease) Geran, according to his front page obituary in the 6 Oct 1921 edition of The Matawan Journal.

Charles (5 NJ) was the youngest of six children in the Marlboro household of Thomas and Martha Geran in the 1850 Federal Census. Charles had brothers Acerman (Ackerman) (21), Edward (15), Alfred (13), and Obediah (9) and a sister Catharine (7). (Note: Ackerman Geran would serve as a dentist in Matawan.)

Charles (15 NJ) was living with his parents in Marlboro in the 1860 Federal Census as well. His father, Thomas (60 NJ), was a carpenter. Charles' mother was Martha Ann (57 NJ). His siblings were Edward (25), laborer; Alfred (23), carpenter; Obadiah (19); and Catherine (17).

Charles clerked for Theodore Fountain in the early 1860s.
  • Fountain was the youngest son of John Fountain, a Methodist Episcopal minister, according to the 15 Mar 1935 edition of The Matawan Journal. John brought his family to New Jersey when he transferred here from the Maryland conference.
  • Theodore worked on the wharfs of Middletown Point until he built, opened and operated a store in Matawan, according to the 15 Mar 1935 edition of The Matawan Journal. 
  • Fountain was a 40 year old merchant living in Matawan in the 1860 Federal Census with wife Sarah and two children. 
  • Theodore died in 1864 and his widow left Matawan in 1867, according to the 15 Mar 1935 edition of The Matawan Journal.
  • Fountain's wife Sarah and son Edward and two more children were living in Millstone in the 1870 Federal Census. 
  • Fountain's widow's half-sister, Hannah Bowman, died on 12 Aug 1885 at DeBow's mill pond, southwest of Freehold, according to the 15 Aug 1885 edition of The Matawan Journal. Hannah and a friend drowned when their boating overturned and they couldn't swim.
  • Fountain's son Ed was honored in 1935 for his service to The Matawan Journal in its early days. His experience there led to a job in New York, according to the article in the 15 Mar 1935 edition of the paper. Ed was the son of Theodore and Sarah V (Bowman) Fountain. 
Charles next worked as a prescription clerk for Dr Judson G Shackleton.

Charles married Lydia Hendrickson of Middletown in 1869. They moved to a home on Jackson Street in Matawan while they built a new house on Broad Street, which they occupied about 1872. They moved to a home near his business about 1900.

Charles (25 NJ) and Lydia (20 NJ) were living in Matawan in the 1870 Federal Census. Charles was a clerk in a store.

Charles then went to work in William Spader's lumber and hardware business in Matawan. He became Spader's partner and then took over the business when Spader retired.
  • The 1870 Federal Census showed William Spader, age 54 NY, as a lumber merchant with $13,000 in personal property and $27,000 in real property.  Spader was living in Matawan with wife Mary (54 NY) and daughter Mary (15 NJ). 
  • The 1880 Federal Census showed William Spader (62 NY) as a retired merchant. 
  • I expect there is a link of some sort to Elizabeth Spader Clark, who is mentioned several times elsewhere in this blog.
The 1880 Federal Census for New Jersey lists Charles A Geran, age 35, living in Matawan and occupied as a hardware merchant. His wife Lydia was 31 years old and their children were Laura (9), Henry (6), and Elmer (5).

The 1900 Federal Census lists Charles A Geran living in Matawan Township with Lydia, his wife of thirty years, and two adult sons Henry and Elmer. Charles was born in March 1845 in New Jersey and was occupied as a merchant of hardware and tools.

Charles ran the above ad in the 28 Nov 1901 edition of The Matawan Journal. He was selling ammunition for the hunting season from "the old stand."

Charles, Lydia, and son Elmer, as well as daughter Laura Henderson and son-in-law Arris Henderson were living on Main Street in Matawan for the 1910 Federal Census. Charles was a hardware merchant and his son Elmer was a lawyer.

Charles, Lydia, and son Elmer, as well as daughter Laura Henderson and son-in-law Arris Henderson were living at 185 Main Street in Matawan for the 1920 Federal Census. Charles was a real estate agent and his son Elmer was Monmouth County sheriff.

Charles died at his home in Matawan on 3 Oct 1921.


The Biographic Directory of the United States Congress provides this profile of Charles Geran's son,  Elmer, who went on to become a US Congressman:

Elmer Hendrickson Geran (24 Oct 1875 - 12 Jan 1954): a Representative from New Jersey; born in Matawan, Monmouth County, N.J., October 24, 1875; attended the public schools and Glenwood Military Academy; was graduated from Peddie Institute, Hightstown, N.J., in 1895, from Princeton University in 1899, and from New York Law School in 1901; was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1901 and commenced practice in Jersey City, N.J.; member of the State house of assembly in 1911 and 1912; member of the New Jersey State Water Supply Commission 1912-1915; assistant prosecutor of the pleas of Monmouth County 1915-1917; again a member of the State house of assembly in 1916 and 1917 and served as minority leader; sheriff of Monmouth County 1917-1920; appointed United States district attorney for New Jersey by President Wilson in 1920; resigned in 1921 and resumed the practice of law in Asbury Park, N.J.; elected as a Democrat to the Sixty-eighth Congress (March 4, 1923-March 3, 1925); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1924 to the Sixty-ninth Congress; resumed the practice of his profession until September 22, 1927; in 1927 became associated with the New Jersey Gravel & Sand Co. at Farmington, and was serving as vice president and treasurer at time of death; died in Marlboro Township, Morganville, N.J., January 12, 1954; interment in Old Tennent Cemetery, Tennent, N.J.

Counting the Minutes in Aberdeen

Published agendas suggest that the Aberdeen Council approved the publication of its 6 July, 20 July, 24 August,and 7 September minutes at its 24 August and 21 September meetings. Undoubtedly there are extraordinary circumstances preventing the Council from promptly publishing the approved minutes of these four meetings, but I would like to record my concern for the failure of the process. While publishing these records online is still more in the realm of courtesy than law, the Council should realize that public access to these records demonstrates the government's commitment to transparency.

Supporting documents, such as the 2010 Budget recently debated and approved, are referenced in agendas and minutes but are routinely unavailable online. The Council should consider public interest in these materials and make available whatever they can, giving due consideration to privacy concerns. For example, The Independent reported the total 2010 Budget figure of approximately $15 million and the approximately $9 million in revenues that would come from taxes. But the article only mentioned the approximately $364,000 reduction in state aid, leaving the precise figures for the balance of revenues a mystery. What is the source of one-third of the township's revenues? One is left to wonder.

I'm a firm advocate for more information promptly provided. I admit that is an uncommon mantra in local New Jersey politics, but I'll keep pressing the point.

MARSD Bond Refi Expected to Yield Big Annual Savings

The Independent reports that the Matawan-Aberdeen School Board is looking to refinance the debt incurred by the district for the 2003 renovation of the middle school while interest rates are at record lows. Depending on the final deal, the total savings could be substantial while the instrument's tenure would remain unaltered. Board President Charles Kenny pointed out, "That money could be used for teachers, technology and taxpayer [relief] savings. It is certainly money that would be otherwise spent with no benefit to the district.”

Governor Names Matawan Lawyer to Judgeship

Linda Grasso Jones, of Cleary, Alfieri, and Jones, a Matawan law firm, has been nominated to a judgeship by Governor Christie, per APP.

Matawan Police Alloted Figurehead Leader by Council

The Borough Council has named Lieutenant Jason  Gallo as acting commanding officer of the Matawan Police Department during James Alston's absence, according to APP. No doubt the Matawan PD has not been without leadership since March, when its chief was put on administrative leave. Presumably Gallo is merely getting formal recognition for a job he's been fulfilling for months. If not Gallo, who has been running the department in Alston's absence?.Coverage of this news story has been sorely lacking in most respects.

A New Cheesesteak Shop In Matawan

Philly Cheesesteak Factory USA has replaced Uncle Philly's at the corner of Routes 516 and 79 in Matawan. (I've edited this article after learning additional information and visiting the place myself. Attached comments relate to my earlier article but still provide you with information you may find helpful, including comments from customers and a response from someone purporting to be the owner.)

My wife and I visited the new cheese steak shop this evening (19 October 2010). The place is bright and shiny, with plenty of seating and three large flat-screen televisions playing the Yankee game. Parking was ample. The staff was very young but pleasant and polite. They had a waitress serving tables and a couple of cooks toiling in the kitchen. The young manager and waitress both checked on us several times to make sure our meal was ok.

We each enjoyed a large cheese steak, fries, and a bottomless fountain soda. Our combo meals came with a couple of onion rings, but we wanted more, so we ordered one side order of onion rings to share. Unfortunately that extra order came with only five onion rings and cost an amazing FIVE DOLLARS -- a dollar per onion ring. Overall, the meal was good but seemed pricey at $31.00.

BTW, this new shop  -- it's been open only 3 weeks and is quite busy -- also has hamburgers, wings, hot dogs, and desserts. They deliver.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Matawan Woman Receives Reduced Sentence for Child Endangerment, Conspiracy

A Schuylkill County judge sentenced Victoria Alonso, of 799 Route 34 in Matawan, to community service and fines as part of the county's Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program, according to The Republican Herald. Alonso was charged with child endangerment and conspiracy back in February.

Warren to Move; Resigning from School Board

Joey Warren has announced his resignation from the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District's Board of Education, according to APP and Aberdeener, his personal blog. He told APP that he is moving to New York and cannot continue to serve on the board but he plans to continue to blog.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

History: Loew's Open Air Drive-In Theatre (Hazlet Drive-In)

Facebook has a site called I Remember the Hazlet Drive-in dedicated to the old Route 35 drive-in theatre that was torn down in 1991 to make room for a Price Club and the Hazlet Multiplex. Costco, the Rave Movie Theatres, and Bertucci's are located there now. The drive-in opened in 1956 as the Loew's Open Air Drive-In Theatre. The Facebook group has some interesting contributions.

This video (below) shows the drive-in just before it was torn down. Note the images of the projection room.

History: Pollution of Lake Matawan, 1930

Not long after Lake Matawan was formed with much fanfare, area civic leaders began to receive reports of the negative consequences of the unregulated release of toxic effluent into the lake by local manufacturers and industries. As early as 1930, Matawan Borough's glistening gem was becoming an open sewer. The Clean Water Act wouldn't become law for another forty years, so solutions to water pollution weren't laid out and the issues weren't as evident as they are today.

There were no heroes against pollution at that time. The Borough's Board of Health was looking into the use of septic tanks to contain commercial effluent, while a former councilman recommended merging the effluent with the sewage being piped out of town under Atlantic Avenue. The former councilman also recommended submitting samples for testing, if only to confirm that the pollution was somehow benign, even though he'd tested the water himself by putting a live fish in the lake and watching it die. Folks were realizing the thick, oily water of Lake Matawan was no longer suitable for recreational uses like swimming, fishing and boating; even the smell of the lake was becoming an issue.

Below is an excerpt from a 19 Sept 1930 Matawan Journal article that contained news coverage of a Board of Health meeting where such issues were discussed.




Dr. C. A. Gesswein Advises That Samples of Water 
Be Sent to Dr. Sweet To Be Tested.

Former Councilman Charles E. Close came before the Board of Health Wednesday night and asked the board to have tests taken of the water in Matawan Lake which, at times, became very objectionable. He said there were three drains emptying into it from out of the borough limits but the contamination came into the Borough limits and at times was so oily it could be scooped up with a ladle. He said it was not fit to bathe in and that fish could not live in it as he had tried the experiment of putting a fish in the lake and it lived just 20 minutes. He said the Borough had gone to large expense in opening Atlantic Avenue to carry its sewer line down in order to keep the water of that lake pure from all contaminants.

Dr. Gesswein said it was not the wish of the Board of Health to make any ill feeling with the industries surrounding the borough but he believed it would be wise to secure samples from various parts of the lake through Dr. Sweet, State Health Officer, and if the water is dangerous there would be nothing else to do but stop the draining into it. The colored water would indicate there was copper in it, which in itself would not be dangerous.

Mr. Close said he thought the drainage could be lifted into the borough sewer without very great expense.

Just at present a factory is experimenting with a septic tank, A. B. Smith, chairman of the Board explained. This work was being done at the suggestion of Dr. Sweet and under his direction. The results of the experiment will soon be known.

The 1930 Federal Census for New Jersey shows Charles E Close (69) living at 41 Main Street in Matawan, along with his daughter, Lillian Warwick, her husband Merritt, and his daughter's children Marjorie and Merritt Jr. He was born in New Jersey to parents born in New York. In 1930, he was retired and a widower, and his property was valued at $10,000. The 1920 census showed him widowed at the same address, living with his unmarried daughter Lillian. He was a road and bridge builder by trade.

1920 Federal Census shows Charles A Gesswein (39) living at 205 Main Street in Matawan, along with his wife, his parents, and two sisters. He was born in Ohio to a German father and a mother from Virginia. He was listed as a medical physician.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

KeyportFest & Soapbox Derby - 25 Sept 2010

Visit Keyport is promoting the 2010 KeyportFest & Soapbox Derby scheduled for noon on Saturday 25 September 2010 on West Front Street. The event is sponsored by the Keyport Business Alliance.

History: Keyport Golf Course, September 1930

Keyport Golf Course was situated on the grounds of the Masonic Temple in 1930
According to a six-column advertisement in the 19 September 1930 edition of The Matawan Journal, the Keyport Golf Course opened to a "record crowd of golfers" wanting to "play this popular game on this most popular course." The golf course, located on the grounds of the Masonic Temple in Keyport, opened at 7:30 pm on Thursday.

The popularity of golf in America expanded rapidly during the Roaring Twenties, growing from 267 clubs in 1910  to over 1,100 clubs in 1932, according to an article on the History of Golf in Wikipedia. This could explain Matawan and Keyport having golf courses in 1930. As far as I'm aware, they no longer exist. And what were they doing at night?? I'd be curious to hear from someone who knows about this.

History: Blue Laws Challenged in Matawan - September 1930

Marion Davies in "Floradora Girl"
When you venture out to the movies this Sunday evening, keep in mind that eighty years ago the local churches wouldn't have looked kindly on breaking the Christian Sabbath in that way. The police could even arrest the proprietor of the theatre for violating the so-called Blue Law.

This front page article from the 19 September 1930 issue of The Matawan Journal (below) makes it clear that changing the status quo required some serious walking on eggshells to avoid not only jail but hell and damnation. The mention of a golf course on Main Street that was full of patrons well into the evening must be left to our respective imaginations.


Matawan had its tryout of Sunday motion pictures. The Rivoli Theatre on Main Street, of which Monroe Schramm is tho proprietor, opened according to announcement Sunday night, and presented Marion Davies in "The Floradora Girl" as the feature attraction, The house was comfortably filled. The police did not stop the show and Mr. Schramm was not molested in any way.

In order not to conflict with the church services which began at 7:45 and 8 p. m.. Mr. Schramm opened the theatre for the sale of tickets at 8:30 p. m. There was one performance beginning at 8:45 p. m. and lasting until about 11 p. m. People were on hand several minutes before the doors were opened and the sale of tickets was steady.

The golf course on Main Street was also open as usual and at 9:30 p. m. was filled with people. Among the players were people from Middlesex, Union and Hudson Counties. The golf course will also continue to be a regular Sunday afternoon and night attraction here.

A Short Video Travelogue to Keyport

I came across this You Tube video of a guy driving Amboy Avenue past the Blue Rock Cafe until it becomes Front Street in Keyport. He turns right at McDonagh's Pub and continues the video just past Fat Kat Tatoos. Amusing what you can find out there.

Raritan to Gain Red Bank Regional Athletic Director

Del Pra, the athletic director at Red Bank Regional High School, is heading to a teaching job at Raritan High School in Hazlet, according to RedBankGreen. After two years in the job, Mr Pra has found that coaching at Red Bank was taking him away from his wife and kids and he had to fix that. It's nice to see that he puts his family first. Interesting story.

UMass Marching Band Leader Dies Enroute to Michigan Game

George Parks died Thursday in Ohio while out with his UMass Minutemen marching band as they headed to this weekend's Michigan game. The bus was making stops at local schools recruiting along the way, something they've done to this area several times. Today the band presented a pregame performance in honor of their fallen leader.

Some of our Matawan High School marching band students, including my daughter, have participated in Mr Parks's summer leadership camp in West Chester, Penn and/or attended UMass. Mr Parks will be sorely missed.

Lupus Benefit at Espresso Joe's, Keyport - 18 Sept 2010

Espresso Joe's, on Front Street in Keyport, is holding a lupus benefit from 2 pm to 10 pm today. Featured performers include Don Lee and Cat Cosentino.

Bertucci's: Great, But the Glass Is Half Empty

My wife and I really enjoy Bertucci's in Hazlet. We frequently drop in for pizza, especially for their Quattro Stagioni pizza, which has four sections featuring artichoke hearts, rosemary ham, peppers, and mushrooms. Our only gripe is that their wine by the glass, already pretty expensive at $6-$8+, is now coming in a glass half full (about 5 oz). At that rate, they can get 5 glasses out of a typical 750 ml bottle. Since they are already charging more than double the market price, they could be a little less stingy and put more wine in each glass.

For example, last night my wife had a glass of Ruffino Pinot Grigio, which goes for $6.99 per glass or $27.99 a bottle at Bertucci's. Given that this Ruffino is available online between $8 and $12 per bottle and Bertucci's grosses almost $35.00 on 5 glasses of wine, they are netting over $4.00 per glass, a 57% profit. That's a bit greedy, seems to me. We're put off.

Thursday's Twin Tornadoes Hit Perth Amboy to Flushing, Even Plumsted

The New York City area was hit by a nasty storm on Thursday 16 September. The experts have determined that three tornadoes struck the region the other evening. (Before Thursday, the area had only experienced eight recorded tornadoes. The total is now eleven.) There were reports of a funnel cloud at Old Bridge and Perth Amboy had a wind gust of 73 MPH. A friend sent me this photo from Queens, where an EF1 tornado reached 100 MPH and a microburst of 125+ MPH  was verified.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rose Sopranzi

Rose (Carnevale) Sopranzi died at Bayshore Hospital a few weeks ago, according to North Jersey. She had moved to Matawan from Bloomfield in 2006. She appears in the 1930 Federal Census for New Jersey living at her parents' home with six siblings age 14 and under at 23 Sixth Street in Newark. Her father, Frank Carnevale, was a 42 year old toy maker from Italy. Her mother, Mary, was born in New Jersey about 1912 to Italian parents. It looks like her father had a younger brother Dominick who lived next door with his family.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

History: A Blacksmith in Matawan 120 Years Ago

120 years ago, Charles A Scott advertised on page 4 of the 13 September 1890 edition of the Matawan Journal that he was now able to offer the services of Uriah Sickles to shoe horses at his carriage, wagon, and machine shops in Matawan. Given the large size of the font type, Uriah Sickles must have been quite the asset to Scott's business.

The 1880 Federal Census for New Jersey shows Charles A Scott (30) and his wife Ella (28) living in Shrewsbury, where Charles was occupied as a blacksmith. Uriah Sickles (52), his wife Fannie (50), and their children Josephine (25), Willie (18), George (14), and Minnie (12) were living in Matawan Township, where Uriah was also occupied as a blacksmith.

He was living in Marlboro in 1860, per Rootsweb.

Uriah N Sickles (23), his wife Fanny (22), and their son John (9 months) were living in Atlantic Township in 1850, according to that year's census. (Atlantic Twp was formed out of portions of Freehold, Middletown, and Shrewsbury in 1847 and became Colts Neck Township in 1962.) Uriah was listed as a blacksmith.

Uriah N Sickles (35) enlisted as a Private in Company E of the 29th New Jersey Regiment on 3 September 1862, according to the Register of the Commissioned Officers and Privates of the New Jersey Volunteers in the Service of the United States, page 512.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Long Neck Creek and the Kavanaugh Trail

I realized at some point in my quest for Long Neck Creek that I might get a decent view of its merger with Whale Creek from the newly created Kavanaugh Trail, part of the Cheesequake State Park trail system. So I ventured a quick hike this morning between the raindrops and found a wonderful community resource at our doorstep. (See last year's blog article about the trail for a description of the trail and a map.)
Kavanaugh Trail
Kavanaugh Trail
Kavanaugh Trail
Kavanaugh Trail
Juncture of Whale Creek and Long Neck Creek, from Kavanaugh Trail promontory
Juncture of Whale Creek and Long Neck Creek, from Kavanaugh Trail promontory
Juncture of Whale Creek and Long Neck Creek, from Kavanaugh Trail promontory
Juncture of Whale Creek and Long Neck Creek, from Kavanaugh Trail promontory
Juncture of Whale Creek and Long Neck Creek, from Kavanaugh Trail promontory. View of osprey nesting platform.
Juncture of Whale Creek and Long Neck Creek, from Kavanaugh Trail promontory
Juncture of Whale Creek and Long Neck Creek, from Kavanaugh Trail promontory
Juncture of Whale Creek and Long Neck Creek, from Kavanaugh Trail promontory
Juncture of Whale Creek and Long Neck Creek, from Kavanaugh Trail promontory
Kavanaugh Trail, promontory at juncture of Whale Creek and Long Neck Creek looks to have been built with a mixture of dirt and local bricks

Long Neck Creek - Origin and Map

I went out today to find the source of Long Neck Creek, where it crosses Route 35, and where it merges with Whale Creek. Half of the project was checking around Cliffwood near Rose Street and County Road seeking the source of the creek. The second part of today's adventure, which I'll save for another article to follow, involved a hike down the Kavanaugh Trail.

Long Neck Creek appears to be spring fed. I found a spot near Midland Park, just across from 166 Milton Street, where the creek bubbles up. A nearly dry creek bed proceeds through a wooded area along Milton Street, with a footbridge crossing at the juncture with Gordon Street.
View from 166 Milton St
Crossing into Midland Park
Midland Park, from Milton Street
Ravine at possible origin of Long Neck Creek

The creek proceeds behind private homes along Nathan Court, then behind some warehouses near Route 35. Best I can tell, it crosses Route 35 where a guard rail and heavy reeds separate Suburban Propane and Flexi-Leasing.

Here's a map showing the route of Long Neck Creek, which I've created using Google Maps. Nothing fancy, mind you.

Women's Conference and Coffee House Set for October in Matawan

The First Presbyterian Church of Matawan is sponsoring Spaghetti for the Soul, a spiritual enrichment conference for women scheduled for 2 October 2010 at the church. Hundreds of ladies are registering from all over the East Coast. Space is still available if you're interested in attending. Check the church website for details on how to register for this very popular conference as well as directions to the church.

Mark your calendars: Live music and refreshments are on the way at a coffee house scheduled for 22 October 2010 at 7 pm at First Presbyterian. This ever-popular evening of local talent is a fund raising event for Mission Matawan, a neighborhood mission project that assists the elderly, poor and infirm with small tasks around the house and yard each summer. Free will contributions are requested to help pay for a week's worth of supplies, tools, and meals for volunteers. Watch for notices of next year's Mission Matawan towards the end of June 2011.

Retired Raritan High School Teacher, Resident of Cliffwood Beach, Dead at 64

Richard J Tiritilli, a science teacher at Raritan High School in Hazlet for 33 years, died on Friday at Bayshore Hospital, according to APP. He was born in Paterson and moved to Cliffwood Beach 40 years ago. He retired from teaching in 2001.

I looked back in the census and found a Carmine Tiritilli who was born 15 Mar 1886 in Naples, Italy and died in Dec 1965 in Paterson. Immigration records show him arriving at New York aboard the SS Gioval on 7 Dec 1892 at the age of seven with Clementin Tiritilli, age 47, a domestic. He arrived again at New York at the age of eighteen on 28 Jan 1905 aboard the SS Konigin Luise. He claimed to be living in Paterson at the time. The 1930 Federal Census for New Jersey shows a Carmine and Ginevra Tiritilli enumerated in Paterson. They married in Italy about 1919. As of 1930, they had three children. Perhaps Richard is the child of their eldest son, Giulio, who was born in Italy about 1921?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine Years Later - 9/11 in Cliffwood Beach

We dropped by the waterfront at Cliffwood Beach to see the Twin Towers memorial lights. Turns out a number of fishermen were down at the beach tonight, fishing and enjoying bonfires.

After visiting the beach, my wife and I went to the 7 Eleven on Route 35 in Cliffwood Beach to pick up coffee and snacks. When we mentioned the twin lights, the store manager told us that he lost six customers to the attacks that fateful morning nine years ago. He reminisced fondly about one of them in particular. Steven P Chucknick, a regular customer who lived in Cliffwood Beach and worked at the World Trade Center, had picked up coffee and special ordered something on his way to work that day. Both expected Chucknick would drop by in a few days to pick up the special order, but that wouldn't happen. The manager, who saw first one and then two smoking towers from the Parkway later that morning, walked us back to his office, where he showed us Chucknick's funeral card. He still keeps it on his desk to remember a wonderful man.

Aberdeen Planning Board to Meet 15 September 2010

Aberdeen Township Planning Board is to meet 15 September 2010. The agenda includes discussion of a catering business on Route 34 that needs to store refrigerated goods outside through the December holidays and New Year's. Apparently putting trucks or cases outside constitutes an enlargement of the business and they need permission to do so. A lumber business intends to put solar panels on its roof. And Wells Fargo has become Wachovia, so they'd like to change their signage accordingly.

Long Neck Creek, Aberdeen, New Jersey

When I wrote my recent article about the Route 35 water main project, I couldn't find any information online about Long Neck Creek, cited as the place along Route 35 where the deteriorated main crosses the highway. Today, while reviewing the Aberdeen Township Master Plan at the Matawan-Aberdeen Public Library, I found a State Plan Policy Map that showed the creek zoned in the Environmentally Sensitive Planning Area (PA5). [See slide 20/31 in this State Development & Redevelopment Plan (SDRP) slide show for further information about PA5 status.]

Long Neck Creek looks to originate near the end of Roosevelt near Gordon in Cliffwood. It crosses under the New York - Long Branch train tracks between County Road and Cliffwood Road. It crosses Route 35 between those same two roads and feeds into Whale Creek near the end of Lenox Road in Cliffwood.

According to a 1999 NJDEP report, the watershed drainage into Long Neck Creek once received non-source pollutants from the Anchor Glass plant.

A Federal Writers' Project map on page 2 of Township of Matawan: 1857 - 1957, a book compiled by Mrs Frank Tiemann, shows the creek as the southernmost unnamed tributary of Whale Creek. By the way: the unnamed tributary pictured on that map as feeding into Long Neck Creek is likely the stream that crosses under Matawan Avenue and passes through the woods next to MAMS.

County Road Project Inches Forward With Zoning Ordinance Changes

The County Road and Route 34 housing projects are moving forward, slowly but surely. The 7 Sept 2010 agenda of the Aberdeen Town Council included a public hearing on Ordinance 20-2010, which would modify the township's Land Development Ordinance (Chapter XXV of the Township General Ordinances at ClerkBase) to include the category of Inclusionary Housing (IH) in the various definitions lists, zoning maps, etc. This is a minor but fundamental step towards the development of these sites.

Keep in mind that these two projects are the only reason for the IH Overlay Zone, so if you're following the County Road and/or Route 34 projects, remain alert for this expression whenever you read Township agendas.

Matawan Hero of United Flight 93 - Ed Felt

Local 9/11 victim Ed Felt is mentioned in this article in the Mansfield News Journal. Ed's biography is listed among the Heroes of United Flight 93.

Emergency dispatcher John Shaw took a 9-1-1 call at his station, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Tribune. United Airlines passenger Edward Felt, 41, of Matawan, N.J., connected with the nearest 9-1-1 service as the plane flew over.

"He told me two or three times that he was on the hijacked plane. I asked for his name. He said he was on United Flight 93 and he had used his cell phone to call 9-1-1," Shaw said. "We talked until we lost his carrier, but I held on just in case his phone found another carrier. Sometimes that happens. This time it never did."

To learn more about this aspect of the 9/11 story, check out United 93.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The WTC Hustle and Bustle

Life goes on at the WTC PATH station. The escalators were full of commuters heading to work. By evening the news crews were out in force, satellite vans parked along W Broadway and camera crews near the mosque it bright and news girls fussing with their hair as they waited for their broadcasts. Few are cherishing the supposed sanctity of the occasion.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Matawan to be Presented World Trade Center Steel for Memorial on Thursday

Matawan is one of a dozen New Jersey towns scheduled to receive a piece of World Trade Center steel with which to fashion a local memorial. The Newark Star-Ledger says the New Jersey Lieutenant Governor and a Port Authority executive will visit each town over the next week to officially present the steel, which has been stored at JFK International Airport in Queens since Ground Zero was cleared of debris in 2002. NBC says there will be over a thousand such pieces presented nationwide, each piece approved by special court order.

The Matawan ceremony will be tomorrow, Thursday 9 September, according to APP. As of this writing, the Borough website provides no information on when and where. The Lieutenant Governor twittered her activities on Wed but her web page in Trenton provides no schedule for the WTC steel events.

The current memorial to Matawan victims is on the property of St Clement's church. Perhaps the ceremony will be held there or at Memorial Park at the corner of Main and Broad?

MAPL Friends Meeting

The next meeting of the Matawan-Aberdeen Public Library Friends will be held on Monday, September 13 at 7:30 pm in the library meeting room. The topic will be the upcoming book sale. The new library director, Kimberly Paone, will visit the group for a few moments at the beginning of the meeting.

Quiet Reflections and the Media

The journalists are starting to set up their video cameras in front of the WTC PATH Station to catch the 9th anniversary sentiments of passersby as 9/11 nears. No more private reflections anymore, I guess. Every moment must be captured.

I skimmed the Matawan Journal for remembrances of Pearl Harbor in Dec 1950, nine years after that horrible event, but not a word appeared in print. Maybe the local media left it to the national press to memorialize those who died that Sunday morn? Or maybe it still hurt too much?

I suppose there is no way to express such thoughts. Maybe that is what prompts xenophobic idiots to try to exclude Muslims from Burlington Coat Factory and to plan a bonfire in Florida?

Peace be with you.

Just another ten minute delay on the PATH trains.

Just another ten minute delay on the PATH trains.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Newark Penn Station Tips

For those of you unfamiliar with NJT at Newark, here are some pointers.

The multicolor striped monitors at Newark train station show departure times color coded by line: blue is NJ Coast; red is NE Corridor; yellow is Amtrak; orange is Raritan Valley.There are usually 3 such monitors per track. Each is paired with a solid color monitor that shows the stops for the incoming train.

The timetables on the wall are likewise color cued, plus they show either inbound or outbound. The top portion is weekdays and the bottom isweekends and holidays, so pay attention. NJT also guestimates the PATH service travel times to and from WTC. Best to pick up a full schedule to study and a short-form single sheet schedule for easy reference.

Homebound Shore trains are often on Track 2 during the rush and on Tracks 3 and 4 other times.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Bagelicious Bagels and Deli

Boy was I wrong about the old Rita's on Rte 34. I went back to take this pic. Funny how a glance can create such a chimera. (My wife asked me to use that word in a sentence.) So it's Bagelicious, not Bagel Den. Oops!

Moores Bar Closed

Indeed the bar is marked with red spray paint Thanks for the Memories, Closed, Sorry, Bye. A sign reads, Due to circumstances beyond our control, we must close our doors. Thanks for your patronage and support and friendship throughout the years.

Local Comings and Goings

I was driving by the old Rita's Italian Ices on Route 34 yesterday and noticed a new tenant is changing the outside of the shop. I only had a second to look, but I think it said Bagel Den. The frontage reminded me a bit of Jellystone National Park or Whack-a-Mole. But, like I said, I was zipping by and I might have been imagining the whole deal.  I found several positive reviews of one or more Bagel Dens in New York City. One site had a review that grouped it with the Bronx Zoo, Botanical Gardens, and Yankee Stadium as the best things about the Bronx. The drive-thru should be attractive to customers on their way to Route 9 in the morning but will be a pain for those heading to the Parkway on Middlesex Road.

The Cliffwood & Cliffwood Beach page at Facebook includes a contribution this morning suggesting that Moore's Bar on Route 35 at Cliffwood has closed. The contributor says he found a sign in the window last night thanking their customers for 43 years of business.  The name of this bar could be attributed to Annie Moore, an Irish girl who became the first immigrant to be processed at Ellis Island. Check out her story at this website.

All of the store closings at the corner of Route 35 and Cliffwood Avenue (Burlew's Pizzeria; Moore's Bar; the mini-mall with a Maytag laundromat, a dry cleaners, and a pizzeria/sub shop; National Parts Supply Co; and the Raydi Craft Pallet) are supposedly in anticipation of state road work scheduled for the next few years. It's unclear whether the Christie Administration will budget sufficient funds to complete the Route 35 project though. We'll have to wait and see.

History: Keansburg Steamboat & Matawan's Main Street Firms in The Matawan Journal

The Keansburg Steamboats schedule appeared on Page 6 of the 5 September 1930 edition of The Matawan Journal. Immediately below the schedule was an advertisement for Keanburg Fire Co No 1's annual Coney Island Excursion aboard the SS City of Keansburg, leaving Keyport at 6:15 pm and Keansburg at 7pm sharp. A dollar for adults and 50 cents for children guaranteed passengers would enjoy music for dancing and refreshments along the way. Rollo Bus Line would meet the arriving steamboat at Keansburg  to deliver people home to Port Monmouth, Belford, Middletown, Campbell's Junction, and Red Bank, and at Keyport to shuttle folks home to Matawan, Freneau, and Union Beach.

The Matawan Journal dated 7 September 1950 shows that one of two Moloney's Markets selling Top Quality Meats was located at 120 Main Street, the current location of Wrapture, a gift wrapping and shipping service.

Johnson-Gibb Motor Co was located at 110 Main Street, the current location of Atlantic Glass, per Page 13 of Matawan Journal's 8 September 1960 edition.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Matawan's Wounded Warrior Helps Today's Vets

The Newark Star-Ledger has a detailed story of Matawan resident John Loosen's work with veterans who, like himself, lost a limb in wartime. Loosen lost a leg in Vietnam in 1967 and began working for the Veterans Administration eight years later, becoming our region's head of the administration's prosthetics program. Loosen became a member of the Wounded Warrior Project when it was founded in 2002.

Locals Help Launch Rider Cross Country Season

Rider University Broncs launched their cross-country season at the Lehigh Invitational last Friday 3 September 2010 in Bethlehem, PA with the men coming in 2nd and the ladies earning 5th place. From our area, senior Chelsea Callan (Hazlet/Raritan) came in first place among Broncs women (11th of 104 competitors) and sophomore Sean Donohue (Cliffwood Beach/MRHS) finished third among Broncs men (17th of 91 competitors). All the best in the coming season!