A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

History: Scotsman Marries Local Girl; Claims to be Oxford Grad and Play for Eagles (1935)

I came across an intriguing marriage announcement in the 5 Jul 1935 edition of The Matawan Journal. Mae Layton of Old Bridge, a grammar school graduate, would wed Neil O'Neil (sic), a Scot who had studied at Oxford. The son of Charles O'Neil (sic), Neil was a "professional soccer football player" working for the Philadelphia Eagles. I thought the whole thing curious, so I did some digging.

What I learned was that Neil O'Neill was born in Denny, Stirlingshire, Scotland on 3 March 1906, the son of John O'Neill. He emigrated to the US in early 1929 and made occasional trips back home to Scotland. I found a Neil O'Neill at the right age and birth place working as a factory machinist and boarding with a Scottish family in Detroit, MI in the 1930 Federal Census. By February 1935, Neil was a leather worker living with his Polish electrician friend, Frank Guscior, 101 South Walter Avenue, Trenton, NJ. The Scottish homestead between 1935 and 1960 was at 35 Rintoul Avenue, Blairhall, Fife, Scotland. By the 1950s, Neil had become a "fermenter operator." It must have been profitable work because he was took the kids (Maureen O'Neill DOB 21 Apr 1951 and John O'Neill DOB 12 Aug 1952) on the Queen Mary for a four-week stay in the United Kingdom.
Neil O'Neill (33 Scotland) and his wife May (26 NJ) were in the 1940 Federal Census living in East Brunswick, NJ with children Neil Jr (4 NJ) and James (1 NJ). He was a cutter in a pocketbook factory. They both were living in Trenton, NJ five years earlier. She had completed 7th grade and he had completed four years of high school.

Mae Layton (5 6/12 NJ) was in the 1920 Federal Census living in East Brunswick, NJ in the household of her widowed father, Charles Layton, Jr (40 NJ). Her brother Charles (3 6/12 NJ) was also in the household. I found her father and brother in the 1930 Federal Census, but Mae wasn't in the household. Perhaps she was at boarding school?

Neil O'Neill (22 Scotland) was a miner from 32 Blairhall, East George, Fife when he sailed from Glasgow aboard the S S Cameronia on 23 Feb 1929. He was headed for New York and planned to reside in the US.

Neil O'Neill (28 Scotland) departed Glasgow, Scotland on 15 February 1935 aboard the S S Caledonia and arrived at New York on 27 February 1935. He was born in Denny, Scotland, the son of John O'Neill. Neil was a leather worker by profession and was being hosted by his friend, Frank Gusior (sic), 101 South Walter Avenue, Trenton, NJ.
The only hint of European football, other than the marriage announcement, was when I looked up Denny in Wikipedia. Apparently the area has a team founded in 1888 called Dunipace Junior Football Club.  You can check out the club's history here.

So, if Neil played soccer in Scotland, he was very young, as he came to the US age 22, so he might have played a few years after high school. Whether or not he played professionally, I can't say. As a miner from Scotland with only four years of high school education, I doubt he attended Oxford. And making leather purses in Trenton, it seems unlikely he played professionally for the Eagles, but perhaps that was his hope. At 2 wins 9 losses, the Eagles had an abysmal 1935 NFL season, by the way.

If someone knows the back story on this, I'd be interested.

CORRECTION: I fixed the text to recognize that Maureen and John were children, not grandchildren, of Neil and Mae O'Neill. Thanks for the information.

Steps For Joe

Over 600 people came together today at Matawan Regional High School for a fundraiser to help a student named Joe Ahmed get treatment for Stage IV Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare, aggressive bone cancer.
Marchers walked a circuit from MRHS down Atlantic to Little, across the bridge, then a right on Broad, a walk along the lake, a left on Main at the doughboy in the park, a left on Little and a right on Atlantic back to the school. This water stop got creative with the arrangement of the cups.

The event was organized by Tim Makalinao and Adam Elliott and assisted by officials of the township and borough. CERT assisted with traffic control.
Joe's treatment is experimental and very expensive. You can still donate online at Steps for Joe.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Demolition Continues

The Aberdeen Transit Village work continues near the Aberdeen-Matawan train station. The buildings are down but there is a lot of demolition of thick concrete and cinderblock flooring to accomplish.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

History: Huge Firemen's Parade Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Matawan Fire Department (1948)

Firemen's Parade passes reviewing stand on Main Street in front of Sandford Drugs and Harris Hardware. (5 July 1948)

Monmouth County Pictures From The Past is an interesting Facebook group you might consider joining if you like old photographs of places and events in our county's past. I came across this image today in the group and gained their permission to post it here.

The 8 Jul 1948 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 1) provided the following reporting on the firemen's parade, which was held on Main Street in Matawan on Monday 5 July 1948, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Matawan Fire Department.

Estimate 4000 Marchers Took Part In Firemen's Anniversary Parade

Line Of March Shortened Because Of Intense Heat; Cliffwood, Keyport And Laurence Harbor Companies Are Awarded Prizes

Monday afternoon's parade which highlighted the final day of the week-long 40th anniversary celebration of the Matawan Fire Department had an estimated 4000 persons in the line of march, according to figures released by Police Chief Edwin C Sloat. Cups and awards were presented the prize-winning units.

The marchers represented some 70 organizations including fire companies and auxiliaries from various sections of the state, fire fighting equipment, first aid squads and ambulances and musical units. The parade was rated the largest to be held in the history of the borough.

Police estimated that 20,000 persons viewed the parade and Monday night's display of fireworks on the Matawan High School athletic field which climaxed the celebration. Because of the intense heat which prostrated about 15 of the marchers, the parade was shortened. The marchers were served sandwiches and refreshments donated by various organizations and business houses. There was also open house at all the borough fire company headquarters.

Prize Winners Listed

Winners of parade prizes and awards were Keyport Fire Department, best appearance; Farmingdale Ladies Auxiliary, best appearance; Morristown, best senior band; Laurence Harbor, best junior band; Middletown Township, most men in line; Pine Brook Fire Department, most unusual; Deal Fire Department, best trucks; Cliffwood Volunteer Fire Co and Ladies Auxiliery, marchers without apparatus; Phillipsburg, best appearing first aid squad.

The parade took an estimated two and one-half hours to pass the reviewing stand. The judges were Brig Gen George L Van Deusen (USA retired); Mrs James E Voorhees, Mrs Spafford W Schanck, Mrs Milton F Stevenson, Dr J Wallace McCue, Russell A G Stetler, and the Rev Alfred C Arnold Jr, rector of St Mary's Episcopal Church, Keyport, and Trinity Episcopal Church, Matawan.

After the Matawan borough officials marched by the reviewing stand the group fell out of line and joined the judges in the reviewing stand.

At the fireworks display held at the high school field, cars bearing licenses from all sections of the state were noted parked near the scene. Parking space near the field was at a premium.

Monday, June 23, 2014

History: Cat 'n Fiddle, Cliffwood Beach (1927 - 1969)

The Cat 'n Fiddle Restaurant opened on a boardwalk on the Raritan Bay not long after the Cliffwood Beach community was first developed. It provided food, drink and entertainment by the shore for over thirty years. It was destroyed by a hurricane and was never rebuilt. Below are a selection of articles from The Matawan Journal marking its history.

The 1 Jul 1927 edition of The Matawan Journal had two small advertisements for the Cat 'n Fiddle placed throughout the paper, seven in all.  One recommended "When dancing at the Cliffwood Beach Casino, dine at the new seafood restaurant and cafeteria 'The Cat 'n Fiddle,' on the boardwalk. Reasonable prices." Another announced the new place and recommended the shore dinner at $1.50. It also named the music group playing on Sunday evening 3 July as the "famous Marimba Band from Central America, now the talk of New York."

The 28 Jun 1935 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 1 col 4) included a small ad referring to the Cat 'n Fiddle as "Jersey's smartest rendezvous." The ad invited customers to "dine and dance on the water's edge. Perfect dinners 55 cents. Cocktails 25 cents, served on Cocktail Porch overlooking the sea. Dancing Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Owens Brothers Orchestra from 7 pm to 1 am." An ad on page 9 announced, "Richard Jennings, manager of the Cat 'n Fiddle, will again supervise the service. Several bridge luncheons have been scheduled for this week. Each Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening a dance orchestra appears."

The 29 Jun 1944 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 1, col 8) included a small advertisement for the Cat 'n Fiddle, which would reopen under new management on 30 Jun 1944. "Choice liquors and food at reasonable prices. No cover. No minimum. No tax."

The 14 Jun 1951 edition of The Matawan Journal contained a public notice by the following persons, as representatives of the Krieg Corporation, doing business as the Cat 'n Fiddle, who were seeking a liquor license in Matawan Township: William E Webster, Jr, President, 1250 Shore Concourse, Cliffwood Beach, NJ; R Edgerton Webster, Vice President, Jamesburg, NJ; Isabel F Webster, Secretary-Treasurer, 1250 Shore Concourse, Cliffwood Beach, NJ; and Cliffwood Beach Amusements, Inc, Cliffwood Beach, NJ.

The 26 May 1955 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 1 col 5) ran an article announcing the opening of The Cat 'n Fiddle for the summer season. "Ray and his Jazz Bandits will be featured this summer at The Cat 'n Fiddle, in Cliffwood Beach, which will open this coming Saturday. Frank Cerranty will be at the bar and also will be manager of the establishment. The Cat 'n Fiddle is located on the Raritan Bay beachfront and it has been in operation for 25 years. It is owned by Morrisey and Walker, and is one mile from the Pirate Ship. There is a large parking area and reasonable prices will prevail for snacks and refreshments." The large ad above appeared on page 13.

The 15 Sep 1960 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 1 col 3) provided the following excerpted reporting on damage caused by Hurricane Donna at Cliffwood Beach on Monday 12 September.

"Bayfront areas of Matawan Township took a battering from Hurricane Donna, especially in sections bordering Matawan Creek and in portions of Cliffwood Beach. During the worst of the hurricane, water was nine to 10 feet deep in the streets of Cliffwood Bench, police reported.

Damage in the beach area was estimated at more than $150,000. Ten families were evacuated from the waterfront area to the Cliffwood Fire House. Flooding in Cliffwood Beach reached all the way back to Greenwood Ave.

The storm lashed bay waters completely covered the roofs of the 180 unit colony of seacots* facing the bay at Cliffwood Beach and crashed through the rear of the Cat 'n Fiddle Restaurant, splitting the building in two. Police were stationed at the restaurant after looting was reported."

* The Seacot Village in Cliffwood Beach in Matawan Township

A seacot was a small summer rental, presumably an abbreviation for "seaside cottage." Helen Henderson shows a photograph of a "cozy seacot" and provides some information on rental prices, etc, on page 87 of her book "Around Matawan and Aberdeen."

An article in the 12 Aug 1948 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 5) mentions the death of a renter by heart attack at the Cliffwood Beach Seacot Colony.

The 6 May 1965 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 1) published the rates for seacots to hook up to the Cliffwood water supply for the season. Units with one water tap paid $8.80/season; it was $17.50 for units with three taps; and renters paid $7.30 for an outside shower.


The Cat 'n Fiddle was destroyed by fire in December 1963, according to an article in the 16 Dec 1963 edition of The Red Bank Register.

The 2 Jul 1964 edition of The Matawan Journal reported the opening of the Cat 'n Fiddle for the season on 2 Jul 1964. The restaurant was apparently rebuilt after the December 1963 fire.

The 27 Jan 1966 edition of The Matawan Journal, which reported on a Nor'easter that struck the area on Sunday 23 Jan 1966, mentioned the Cat 'n Fiddle and seacots in a photo caption on the front page. The captionn read, in part:

"Driven by gale force northeasterly winds Sunday, waters of Raritan Bay overflowed the banks of Matawan Creek, flooding marinas and fishing stations along the way. The Cliffwood Beach section of Matawan Township was hard hit as water swept by the Seacot Colony, Cat 'N Fiddle Restaurant, and the Cliffwood Beach Pool. One woman, wife of the caretaker at the pool, had to be rescued by first aid men equipped with a boat. . . ."

The 10 Aug 1967 edition and 24 Aug 1967 edition of The Matawan Journal (pp 2 and 10, resp) contained an advertisement for the Cat 'n Fiddle, which was under new management. Hours were daily noon to 1 am; Saturday 10 am to 1 am. The Harry Thomas Review, featuring Eileen Walsh, was appearing on Fridays and Saturdays.

The 4 Jul 1968 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 12) contained an ad for the Cat 'n Fiddle, which was promoting dancing and entertainment on weekends. Pat and Joe were the hosts.

The 31 Oct 1968 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 16) reports on an investigation of fraud against the owners of the Cat 'n Fiddle.

ABC Sets Hearing For Area Tavern

A hearing will be held Nov. 4 in Newark offices of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control into charges against the Kreig Corp., owners of the Cat 'N Fiddle in Cliffwood Beach, of giving false information on a liquor license application.

The ABC alleges the stock of the corporation is held by three New York state residents. Corporate
officers insist the stock is in the hands of New Jersey residents as stated on its June 5, 1968 license application.

The 23 Jan 1969 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 1) announced the state's revocation of the Kreig Corp's liquor license to operate the Cat 'n Fiddle due to the fraud charges.

 Details of the demolition of the bar and seacot colony have yet to be found.
UPDATED to add an image of the Dec 1963 Red Bank Register article, some details about seacots, details from the Jan 1966 Nor'easter article, news of new ownership in Aug 1967, and word of fraud charges in Oct 1968 that led to the revocation of the liquor license in Jan 1969.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Borough Seeks to Curtail Warehousing of Taxi Cabs in Lot

The Borough of Matawan continues to struggle with certain local businesses using up too many of the parking spaces in the municipal lot on Little Street between Main and Broad streets. Mayor Buccellato, who was interviewed on the subject in the 19 Jun 2014 edition of The Independent, said the spaces are meant for customers of businesses along Main Street, not for the warehousing of taxi cabs.

The mayor tried to generalize the issue, as if other businesses might also be abusing the privilege of parking in the lot. But this isn't the first time I've heard that one or more of the taxi services is the culprit. Patsy's Taxi and Costera are located right there on Little Street; however, the parking issue didn't seem to arise until Costera came along.

Costera uses all the kiss n ride spaces along the curb in front of the old Aberdeen station, so they've got one strike against them in my book. The other cab companies have nothing good to say about Costera, which has given them another strike. I don't know how accurate their claims against that company and its drivers are.

The public library had a problem with local residents using the library lot and using up spaces for patrons. Signs were eventually put up, but I suspect the abuse of the library lot continues.

Mayor Buccellato may deal with the parking issue by charging businesses a fee to use a controlled number of spaces in the lot. At least that's one of his ideas. He realizes the issue wasn't fully addressed last time it came up, so he plans to find a robust solution by the end of this summer.

College Job at Midland Glass

Author Penelope Marzec has an article on her blog about her college days summer job at the Midland Glass factory in Cliffwood. She talks briefly about the pay, working conditions and how many of her neighbors in Cliffwood Beach worked at the plant. She links to my articles about the plant, which is how I stumbled on her piece today.

After college, Penelope became a teacher and is now an award-winning fiction writer. Check out her books and consider following her blog.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Texas Roadhouse Steak Restaurant Coming to Holmdel in October 2014

UPDATE: Texas Roadhouse Steak Restaurant comes to Holmdel in October 2014, according to the chain's New Locations web page as of August 2014. It will be located next to Chili's, in the place where Macaroni Grill used to be.

Below is my original article, researching what would be built.


The old Romano's Macaroni Grill building at 2105 Route 35 in Holmdel has been torn down, leaving Chili's standing alone with a large fenced construction area next door.

You may recall that Macaroni Grill closed a while ago and a hibachi place was supposed to open in the space. There were unexplained delays, signs in the window, and then Superstorm Sandy put a serious dent in the empty restaurant's infrastructure and that was that. No hibachi place ever materialized.

The new construction has been marked out on the ground and something is apparently to be erected in the next couple of months. The Holmdel-Hazlet Patch published a 2 December 2013 article saying that a Texas Roadhouse steak restaurant would be opening in this spot in July 2014. (Texas Roadhouse has a new locations web page, and I didn't see a listing for a new Holmdel location as pending.)

Holmdel Mayor Patrick Impreveduto bragged in a 16 January 2014 article in The Independent that the new Texas Roadhouse restaurant opening would help the Route 35 corridor revitalization project. He attributed the new restaurant to a reworking of local commercial development standards in 2013, including changes to zoning classifications and height restrictions, that have attracted commercial developers.

Texas Roadhouse obtained its alcohol license in 2013 from a holding company that had sold the license in 2011 - likely to the hibachi restaurant - but got it back due to the buyer's bankruptcy. Holmdel Township renewed the inactive license in June 2014 while construction of the restaurant was still underway, according to local online paperwork.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Matawan Seeks to Stop Paying Benefits to Criminals

The 20 May 2014 Matawan Borough Council meeting minutes try to avoid spelling out what the borough is doing to the local municipal code. They planned to pass an ordinance changing and/or augmenting the wording of some unnamed portion of the General Ordinance 2-15 dealing with the fire department. The agenda said the wording was attached herewith, but I guess that herewith didn't mean online.

Here's all the borough provided online:

Borough of Matawan


The ordinance published herewith has been finally adopted by the governing body of the Borough of Matawan, in the County of Monmouth, State of New Jersey, by the recorded affirmative votes of at least two-thirds (2/3rds) of the full membership of the governing body on May 20, 2014, and the twenty (20) day period of limitation within which a suit, action or proceeding questioning the validity of such ordinance can be commenced has begun to run from the date of the first publication of the statement."
Karen Wynne, RMC
Municipal Clerk

The borough was required to post the full wording somewhere, so I searched the web and found it at EZNotice. Click here or view the pertinent text below.

Municipal Clerk ORDINANCE 14-08


WHEREAS, it is necessary to amend the Administrative Code for the Borough of Matawan Fire Department to address issues concerning the membership and removal of membership of individuals who are members of the Borough of Matawan Fire Department and its component companies; and

WHEREAS, the Governing Body feels that the following amendment should be undertaken with respect to the Administrative Code for the orderly administration and composition of the Borough of Matawan Fire Department.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED that the Borough of Matawan amends the Administrative Code, Section 2-15.7 and adds the following language:

a. Any member of the Fire Department of the Borough of Matawan and its constituent recognized fire companies who is convicted of a crime or felony in the State of New Jersey or in any other state during membership in the Fire Department shall tender his or her resignation upon such conviction. If a member does not tender a resignation within thirty (30) days of conviction by a court of competent jurisdiction or a plea of guilt to a felony or criminal offense, the Mayor and Council shall cause the Municipal Clerk to notify the member that he or she will be removed from membership in the Borough of Matawan Fire Department, and all privileges, rights and benefits, including LOSAP contributions, if any shall terminate within thirty (30) days of the action of the Governing Body.

In all other respects, the remaining parts of Ordinance 2-15 remain unchanged

Then I wondered what Ordinance 2-15.7 said before this text was added. I found it at Clerkbase. (Go to Chapter II ADMINISTRATION and move through the text until you get to 2-15 FIRE DEPARTMENT. Then go to subsection 7.) Click here or read the excerpt below.

2-15.7      Resignations, Transfers and Deaths.
       All resignations, expulsions, transfers or deaths of active members from the Department shall be promptly reported to the Secretary of the Board of Fire Officers and to the Borough Clerk. (1971 Code § 15-1.6)

I suspect the key to all this is the borough doesn't want to pay Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) benefits to convicted criminals, so they've added wording to the code allowing them to cease paying these benefits thirty days after sentencing if the individual hasn't already resigned. (Click here to read up on LOSAP.)

Matawan hasn't published the minutes of any Council meeting since September 2013, but the public notice says the ordinance passed.

You can debate the pros and cons of paying this benefit, but you must concede that your municipal government should be more open about what it is doing. It's time that Aberdeen and Matawan began providing more information online, not less. A good place to start would be to make the wording of attachments to resolutions available online along with the agenda. After about twenty minutes of research I was able to learn something the borough could have added to its website in two minutes.

Publishing the minutes of meetings every couple of months is bad enough, but every 9 months seems a bit much. When the Council members run next time, think about all they haven't told you.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


A tree has become uprooted over on Lakeshore Drive not far from the Kavanaugh Trail entrance and the Public Works Garage on Lenox Road. It is blocking the sidewalk completely.

History: Worthley Canning Factory (1907)

The 12 Dec 1907 edition of The Matawan Journal contains a detailed rundown on the Worthley Canning Factory operation near the Matawan train station. The newspaper interviewed George G Worthley, who provided business information that would be considered sensitive today, including precise production numbers, income and expense figures, and vendor troubles. He had contracts with local farmers to sell him asparagus, tomatoes, pears, apples and berries. He sought but didn't win a government contract to can potatoes, and he imported pineapples from the Bahamas for canning.

The local farmers went around him to wholesale their crops in New York when the city commission market's prices were higher. The newspaper editorialized on how the cannery was good for the region, hiring about a hundred people from Matawan and Keyport and providing a steady market for local farm goods, so the farmers should abide by their contracts. Worthley died in 1913 and the cannery went out of business.

There are more details about the canning factory in a 27 Jun 2011 article in this blog about a photo collection at the South River Museum.

History: Bull Run > Matawan Road > Heuser Boulevard > Matawan Avenue

As the result of some research I conducted this weekend, I have found a lot of interesting information about the history of Matawan Avenue.

Matawan Avenue appeared unlabeled in the 1873 and 1889 Monmouth County atlases following pretty much the same course that it does today. Rather than meeting Ravine Drive at Lake Lefferts, the two roads merged at Matawan Creek, which one had to cross to get to Main Street. There was no Garden State Parkway then, of course, so the road covered some territory that is now crossed by a bridge.

Through the early 1930s, the road was known locally as Bull Run for some reason. The local Civil War regiment fought at Bull Run, so perhaps there is a connection there?

In 1935, there was a reference to the road as Heuser Boulevard, perhaps after the local engineer, Richard Heuser, but the name never stuck as far as I can tell.

From the mid-1930's til the late 1950's, articles and notices in the Matawan Journal bounced back and forth between the names Matawan Road and Matawan Avenue. Matawan Road was more commonly used. There doesn't seem to have been any borough vs township association to the two names, but the road was in the area annexed by the Borough in the early 1930s, so maybe there is some rivalry involved in the use of the two names?

By the early 1960s, after a brief but awkward period of using "Old Matawan Road" and "New Matawan Avenue," usage settled on Matawan Avenue. The Garden State Parkway had taken quite a section of the town in the previous decade; the construction caused the diversion of the railroad, the displacement of homes and businesses, and a bridge had to be built over the parkway so Matawan Avenue could continue to link Cliffwood with Matawan.

The references below cover only thirty years but there was quite a bit of change in that short period of time.

The 18 Dec 1931 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 1 col 6):

     "Matawan Township started its emergency relief road program yesterday. . . Another program which is expected to put into operation, possibly tomorrow, is to grade Matawan Road, which is better known as Bull Run. The road is now being surveyed by Engineer Richard Heuser. It will be graded to its full width of 33 feet, ditches will be opened on either side and the road will be graveled. No attempt will be made this winter to raise the grade of the road in the hollow, according to Lewis H. Stemler, Chairman of the Township Committee. Mr. Stemler says to make a fill in the road at this time of the year would leave it in too bad a condition for winter travel."

The 3 Aug 1934 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 5 col 3):

     "The bridge, known by the New York and Long Branch Railroad Company as the "Mary Adams" bridge on Bull Run over the main line of the Company's tracks, is now thrown open to travel. It has practically been rebuilt. During this time the road has been closed to traffic."

The 13 Sep 1935 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 1 cols 4 - 5)

     "At the regular meeting of the Matawan Boro Council Tuesday nite held at the Boro Hall, it was decided that Matawan would prepare and submit applications for nine WPA projects. . . . After considerable discussion, the projects to be applied for, with the understanding the boro had the power to turn down the proposition later if it was so decided, included: Extending eight-inch water line along Atlantic Avenue to the water works; a six-inch water main tie up on Aberdeen Road to Heuser's corner; extending water main along Matawan Avenue, also known as Heuser Boulevard; resurfacing of Broad Street, Matawan Avenue, Church and Washington Streets; improvements to parks, such as reopening of public roads to water edge, and building tennis courts and play lots, if possible; cataloguing and rebinding of books in the library."

The 24 Feb 1949 edition of The Matawan Journal includes a legal notice "instituted for the purpose of foreclosing a certain certificate of tax sale affecting lands in the Township of Matawan, aforesaid and situate on the west side of Matawan Avenue, which tax certificate was executed by the plaintiff 's tax collecting official to the plaintiff and is dated December 2nd, 1940, and is unrecorded . . ."

The 7 Feb 1957 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 10 cols 5-6) reported road construction and repairs to a number of roads in Matawan Township, including the section of Matawan Avenue between Grove Street and the Garden State Parkway.

The 18 Sep 1958 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 14 col 2):


All that part of the Borough of Matawan, BEGINNING at a point where the center line of Main Street intersects the boundary line of the Township of Matawan, thence
  • (1) along the said center line of Main Street in a southerly direction to the bridge on Main Street, south of South Street; thence 
  • (2) along a line drawn down the center of the gulley crossed by the said bridge to Lake Lefferts; thence 
  • (3) in a northerly direction along the easterly edge of Lake Lefferts to Prospect Point; thence
  • (4) along a line drawn across Lake Lefferts from Prospect Point in a northeasterly direction to Ravine Drive; thence 
  • (5) along a line drawn across the gulley to the left of Highland Avenue to a point at the end of Liberty Street, thence 
  • (6) along a line parallel with Matawan Road to the gulley which runs along Aberdeen Road; thence
  • (7) along a line down the center of this gulley to a point where same intersects with the center line of Matawan Road; thence 
  • (8) along the said center line of Matawan Road in a northerly direction to the point where said center line of Matawan Road intersects the boundary line of the Township of Matawan; thence
  • (9) along the said boundary line of the Township of Matawan to the point or place of Beginning. 
 Polling place: Hook & Ladder fire house, in back of Borough Hall.

The 24 Sep 1959 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 12 col 4) includes a public notice of sheriff's sale involving about 15 acres of land affected by the construction of the Garden State Parkway. The land description includes a mention of ". . . the road known as the public road from Cliffwood to Matawan, also known as Old Matawan Road, and sometimes called Matawan Avenue, as it was formerly located prior to its relocation by the New Jersey Highway Authority. . ."

The 1 Oct 1959 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 2 cols 6 - 8) includes legal notices involving over 9,000 acres of Matawan property affected by the construction of the Garden State Parkway. One of the legal notices appears to settle the above sheriff's sale as well as "[p]roperty located approximately 500 feet northeast of Aberdeen Road and the New Matawan Avenue [that] adjoins the southwesterly right of way of the Garden State Parkway, Borough of Matawan, New Jersey."

The 24 Aug 1961 edition of The Matawan Journal mentioned Matawan Avenue among a long list of Matawan Township roads to be repaved.

By the way, as a byproduct of working on the above, I noticed that "Origins of Aberdeen Street Names," by Aberdeen Historian Edward Fitzgerald, has disappeared from the Aberdeen Township website. I have relied on it quite a bit over the years, always finding it helpful, and I pointed to it on my blog's Research Tools tab for the benefit of fellow researchers. I hope it can either be restored to the Township page or added to the Matawan-Aberdeen Public Library's online resources.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Board of Ed Announces Search for New Superintendent

I got this email from the Matawan-Aberdeen school board announcing the search for a consultant to assist them in their search for a new superintendent to replace David M Healy, who is moving to a similar position at Toms River. I can't tell if there is a back story to his departure, but the letter suggests so, urging calm, patience and civility during difficult and emotionally challenging times. 

Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Matawan-Aberdeen Board of Education" <NoReply@marsd.k12.nj.us>
Date: June 13, 2014 at 12:06:46 PM EDT
To: "Schoolwires Alert Recipients" <alertrecipients@schoolwires.com>
Subject: Very Important Message From The Board of Education

To the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District Community . . .

In light of the impending departure of Superintendent Healy, whom we wish all the best in his new district, the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional Board of Education wishes to update the school community on our plans for moving forward, and to assure all staff, students and the community at large that we are responsibly attending to the business at hand.

The selection of a Superintendent of Schools is the most crucial decision facing any school board.  That individual will be our educational leader, and responsible for the day-to-day management of our large regional school district.  We intend to embark on a careful, deliberative, and inclusive process to secure the best possible candidate, but this will take time.  We are now in the process of selecting an experienced search consultant to assist us in this endeavor, and will announce an appointment shortly.  Since it is unlikely we will find a suitable replacement for Mr. Healy until late next school year at the earliest, we also will be appointing an Interim Superintendent who will guide the district through this period of transition.  We have interviewed several highly qualified candidates and hope to announce that appointment shortly as well.

We fully recognize that change can be difficult and emotionally challenging for all of us.  As citizens, taxpayers and parents ourselves, we wish to assure students, staff and the community that we will take all steps possible to preserve stability and calm in the operations of our district as we move forward.  We especially value the commitment of our dedicated staff and teachers during this time of transition, and ask for your continued trust and patience as we embark on our search for new leadership.  Working together in an atmosphere of respect, civility and transparency, we will achieve success and our students will be well served.

The Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District Board of Education

High Tide at Cliffwood Beach on Friday the 13th

Tonight around 9 pm, my wife and I were heading home from dinner at Bertucci's. We needed gas, so we stopped in at Wawa off Cliffwood Avenue, but they waved us off, no gasoline for some reason. So we got on Route 35 North and picked up gas across from the 7 Eleven in Cliffwood Beach on the Old Bridge side of town. To get home, we took Ocean Parkway towards the Raritan Bay and crossed the Whale Creek bridge. From the heights we could see water covering the field in the park, but the roadway was clear, so we proceeded. But we could only go as far as the beginning of Lakeshore Drive, where we found waves of water approaching us. Tonight's full moon brought quite a high tide at Cliffwood Beach. The roadway and much of the park, and probably part of Greenwood Avenue, were all under 6 - 12 inches of water. A high pickup truck made it through, but we had to turn our car around.

This is the road that Aberdeen Township talked about in the 21 November 2013 edition of The Independent. They wanted to spend $180,000 to raise and repair it. The thinking was that if only the storm drains could be cleared of debris and the dunes repaired, the roadwork would revitalize the 65-acre park. Nice sentiments, but frankly, I think the Raritan Bay has other plans for these lowlands at Cliffwood Beach.

On a related note, check out Google Maps' idea of where the Cliffwood Beach Seawall is situated. They have it in the bay.

Cliffwood Beach lost power today and suffered some flash flooding due to a heavy rainstorm around dinnertime. The construction gullies along Cliffwood Avenue and Route 35 were full of rainwater tonight.

Route 35 North was reduced to a single lane through Hazlet tonight. Traffic was at a standstill. There were countless fire trucks and construction vehicles in the closed right lane from Hazlet Avenue to Holmdel Road. I assumed it was storm related, but who knows?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

2014 Concert Buses to PNC Arts Center

The bus to the concert is back at Aberdeen-Matawan train station! Take a NJ Transit North Jersey Coast Line train from New York or Newark towards Long Branch and Bay Head, get off at Aberdeen and you can catch a free shuttle to the PNC Arts Center and back again. Watch yourself crossing the tracks and roadway. Obey the police if they show up for crowd control, something they do selectively based on the anticipated crowd. Have fun!

Matawan Drugs - Early History (1932 - 1962)

Here's some early history of Matawan Drugs as found in The Matawan Journal between 1932 and 1962.

Matawan Drug Co rented space at 176 Main Street, according to advertisements in the 16 Sep 1932 edition and the 12 Jun 1947 edition of The Matawan Journal.

Robert F Letts died on 6 May 1954 at his home at 145 Main Street in Matawan, according to the 13 May 1954 edition of The Matawan Journal. Letts worked at Crossman Clay Co of South Amboy, according to his obituary. He was survived by his wife, Elizabeth.

Abraham M Kaminsky bought the Lett property in late 1954 for less than $10,000 and tore down the house, according to the 1 Sep 1955 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 1).

Kaminsky had a brand new building erected on the vacant property and held its grand opening on Friday 2 Dec 1955. The 1 Dec 1955 edition of The Matawan Journal included a large ad page with supportive congratulations from local businesses, including those that had a hand in building or outfitting the new building.

The commercial space that the Matawan Drug Company vacated at 176 Main Street was finally leased, according to the 27 Mar 1958 edition of The Matawan Journal.

There was an ad for Matawan Drug Co in the 21 Mar 1957 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 20).

Matawan Drug Co supported a local benefit by selling tickets to the Hunt Brothers Circus and Wild West Show, according to the 25 Jul 1957 edition of The Matawan Journal.

Matawan Drugs ran a joint ad with Sanford Pharmacy in the 5 Jul 1962 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 5). The two stores would take turns staying open until 8 pm on Sundays and holidays.

Matawan Drugs offered free and prompt pick up and delivery in the 11 Oct 1962 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 3).

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Greenspan's MAMS Chorus Wins 2014 Music in the Parks

The Matawan Nadine Greenspan and her 205-member Aberdeen Middle School (MAMS) chorus and ensembles won high praises at the 2014 Music in the Parks competition held at Monroe Middle School on May 30th. They were rated superior and won first place in the following categories: Mixed Choir, Women's Ensemble (for Dolce) and Men's Ensemble (for Vigoroso). The ladies' performance of Dolce was awarded outstanding overall performance. Individual awards went to Karl Kim and Benedikt Winzer for his piano and violin accompaniment, respectively, and Ryan Deahl as outstanding soloist. After the competition, the group spent the day at Six Flags Great Adventure.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Walgreens Adding Store Near Garden State Parkway Exit 120

We just can't seem to build enough pharmacies. Walgreens is building a new store in Old Bridge near the Pizza Hut on Laurence Harbor Parkway, just across the street from the CVS on Morristown Road.Why not? There's plenty of room, right?

Why do we need a new drug store? Perhaps the new store will be more convenient for those coming and going from the Garden State Parkway at  Exit 120? Exxon and CVS didn't seem to think so. That very spot used to be a convenient place to fill up your tank. And CVS moved from that shopping center years ago to where it stands now across the street.

Don't forget, though, that there are pharmacy departments in every local Shop Rite, Stop n Shop, A&P, Target, Walmart, Costco and BJ's Club. And, heaven forbid, we also have a Rite Aid in the area and several local pharmacy businesses. Of course, we had two drug stores on Main Street in Matawan before going downtown became passe. At least we still have the Matawan part of the Matawan Drugs sign to give us comfort.

Maybe the idea that we need a new store isn't even the question? Walgreens only had four pharmacies in the immediate area, while CVS had added a new store in Hazlet to bring its number to six stores. Could a little competition between major drug store chains be the actual reason for this new construction?

Need an aspirin? Shouldn't be an issue.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Benedict B Mione (1910 - 1966), Beautician, Keyport

Benedict B Mione, owner-operator of Ben's beauty shop in Keyport, thanked his customers for years of faithful patronage in the 2 Mar 1944 edition of The Matawan Journal as he announced the closing of his business on Saturday 11 March 1944 for the duration of the war. Mione had been drafted into the Second World War. "I hope that when my work for Uncle Sam is finished, that I may again be able to serve you."

Benedict was born on 3 May 1910 in Manhattan, New York, the son of Mr and Mrs Lorenzo Benedetto Mione. Lorenzo came from Italy in 1908 and was a presser in a pants shop in the 1910 Federal Census in Manhattan. Lorenzo was a shirt presser in later censuses. The 1910 census identified Lorenzo's wife as Colomba, and later records show his wife as Rose, Rose Mary, or Rosemarie.

Benedict moved to the Bayshore about 1934 and opened Vincent & Ben's Beauty Shop on Broad Street in Keyport with Vincent Geraldi, his wife, Lillian (Geraldi) Mione's brother. Benedict's eldest son is apparently the namesake of Vincent Geraldi. (See Benedict's son Laurence's birth announcement and some of this paragraph's details in the 15 Feb 1935 edition of The Matawan Journal.)

Benedict (born 1910) enlisted in the US Army as a private on 20 Apr 1944 at Fort Dix, NJ. His enlistment papers said he was a resident of Monmouth County, New Jersey, and his occupational category was provided as "barbers, beauticians and manicurists." He had one year of high school education.

Benedict (30 NY Italy Italy) was enumerated as head of household living in a rented property on Holmdel Road in Raritan, Monmouth Co, NJ in the 1940 Federal Census. He was a beautician with a beauty shop. His household included his wife, Lillian Mione (29 NY), and sons Laurence (5 NJ) and Vincent Mione (9/12 NJ).

Benedict served as commander of the Raritan Post of the American Legion. He was a third degree member of the Keyport Council of the Knights of Columbus.

Benedict died 6 Nov 1966 at Riverview Hospital in Red Bank, according to his obituary, which appeared in the 10 Nov 1966 edition of The Matawan Journal (Second Section, page 3 (page 17 of 22)). His funeral was conducted at St Benedict's Church in Hazlet, where he had attended for many years. He was buried at St Joseph's Cemetery in Keyport. He was survived by his wife, Lillian; two sons - Laurence V Mione in Neptune, and Vincent G Mione in Chestnut Hill, PA; brother, Leonard Mione in Brentwood, Long Island; and sister Rosalie Marino.

According to Find-a-Grave, Private Mione's war service is described on his gravestone as follows: Private, Company B, 55th Infantry, Training Battalion (PVT CO B 55 INF TRG BN).

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Even Longer-Awaited Successor of Strathmore Swim Club

Put your swimsuit away. The Cambridge Club of Aberdeen, the long-awaited successor of the Strathmore Tennis and Swim Club on Lloyd Road, missed its planned (if vaguely scheduled) summer 2014 opening, according to the Asbury Park Press. In the meantime, the club wants you to fill out their membership form online and pay their $500 fee so you can "get in on the ground floor."

It'll be great, I'm sure. The Township says so. But the club's website is worryingly full of promised facilities, future amenities, and exclusive programs.  IMHO, it might be better to wait and see what develops and when.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Subway Seems to be Closed in Cliffwood

The owner of the Subway restaurant in the A&P shopping center on Route 35 seems to have closed his sandwich shop after less than two years in Cliffwood. The doors were locked today and the lights out. A lady saw me outside the Subway and told me there was a sign pasted to the door yesterday saying they have gone out of business. I tried their phone a few minutes ago and it is still working. The corporate website still lists the place. But they're gone.

Sandwich chains are biting the dust, one by one. The Quiznos sandwich shops disappeared in Union Beach and Middletown. And we're seeing the same thing happen to Subway - the Old Bridge shop in the CVS shopping center off Morristown Road, the Hazlet shop near Friendly's, and now the Cliffwood operation.

I know some folks detest fast food outlets and that's fine. But Subway is moderately priced and careful choices can give you a healthy meal.

Lucky for us, V&F Pizzeria is in the same Cliffwood shopping center, just down the sidewalk from the old Subway, and they have great subs. They also are having a nice sale on large pies. Trattoria Rustica in Matawan also makes a great sub.

If someone hears what will replace Subway in that spot in Cliffwood, add a comment here.