A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

History: Wickham Company of New Jersey Fire (1919)

Matawan and Aberdeen: Of Town and Field, by Helen Henderson, includes a hefty discussion of the industrial era in Matawan. On pp 84-85, the author recounts the history of the Matawan Steel and Iron Company and the Wickham Company of New Jersey, which bought out Matawan Steel about 1917. Matawan Steel was the largest piano plate manufacturer in the East when the Wickham Company of Springfield, Ohio, the largest such company in the West, took them over.

The piano plate plant was on Church Street just east of the railway to Freehold, the line that is now the Hudson Trail. I was curious to learn more about a huge fire that Ms Henderson said consumed the piano plate plant in 1919, so I searched through The Matawan Journal online and found the front page story in the 20 November 1919 edition.


  1. Have you come across any articles or information regarding the Bayshore Recreation & Economic Development Community Center which had been located on Cliffwood Avenue in Cliffwood Beach, NJ?

  2. The 25 May 1973 Matawan Journal (pg 5) mentions a recruiting event that would seek volunteers at the high school. The Director was Edward Hamilton, Sister Rheta Norman was a teacher and instructor at BRED, and Mrs Barbara Fisher was Secretary at BRED.

    The 19 Oct 1972 Matawan Journal has a front page article about BRED reapplying for a grant.

    The 27 Jul 1972 MJ has an article on pg 2 about BRED co-sponsoring a musical at the Cliffwood Elementary School.

    There are probably one or two other stray articles in that time period. I didn't find an article discussing the organization's establishment or demise. Presumably BRED was founded and ended in the early 1970s. Let me know if you have other information.