A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Guadalcanal Post 4745, Veterans of Foreign Wars (1945-1957)

This ad for Guadalcanal Post 4745 in Matawan, NJ appeared in the 8 Apr 1948 edition of The Matawan Journal

The Guadalcanal Post 4745, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), was established in October 1945 by ten veterans signing a charter in the presence of the Monmouth County Council and Joseph Smith, the department commander, according to the 25 Oct 1945 edition of The Matawan Journal.

Its charter members were (best as I can read them from the image):
  1. Albert E Fields
  2. Charles W Van Clief
  3. Amos Bowie Stiltz
  4. John P Vaccarella
  5. Anthony Giugliano
  6.  Arthur John Wultz
  7. Carmine Raffa
  8. Samuel G Gusti
  9. Anthony J Delnegro
  10. Thomas W Jackson

The post held its first meetings at Vaccarelli Hall, which was on High Street in Matawan near the railroad station. Meetings were weekly to bring in new members and conduct other organizational business.

Warren Van Clief was the post's first Commander, according to the 27 Jun 1957 edition of The Matawan Journal, which contained a summary of the post's history to date. (My research suggests that some of the information in the 1957 article is incorrect.)

The 8 Nov 1945 edition of The Matawan Journal said the post had recently been organized and a membership drive was underday. Upcoming meetings would be on the first and third Monday of each month at Vaccarelli Hall on High Street in Matawan.

The post moved its meetings to the First Aid Hall on Little Street in Matawan, according to the 12 Dec 1946 and 2 Oct 1947 editions of The Matawan Journal.

Alfred Pouzene was elected to his second consecutive year as Commander of the post in April 1949, according to the 7 Apr 1949 edition of The Matawan Journal. Arthur Gough, Sr was elected as Senior Vice Commander; Anthony Bucco, Jr, Vice Commander; David Bruce, Quartermaster; Gerard Gardner, Adjutant; and Angelo Tomasiello, Chaplain.

The post moved to the Cliffwood Civil Association building in 1950, according to the 27 Jun 1957 edition of The Matawan Journal. I found no reference to the civic association building being used for meetings until the 2 Apr 1953 edition of The Matawan Journal.

The move to Cliffwood initially resulted in both Cliffwood and Matawan being carried in the name of the post. The 1 Jun 1950, 10 Aug 1950 and 4 Oct 1951 editions of The Matawan Journal referred to the post as Guadalcanal Post 4745, VFW, Cliffwood-Matawan. The 21 Sep 1950 edition of The Matawan Journal referred to the post as Guadalcanal Post 4745 VFW of Cliffwood and Matawan. The 5 Oct 1950 edition of The Matawan Journal referred to the post as Guadalcanal Post 4745 VFW of Matawan and Cliffwood.

Michael F Kidzus was Commander of the post, according to the 23 Nov 1950 edition of The Matawan Journal Vice Commander was Leroy Umscheid. Kidzus was politically active during his tenure and after his service to the VFW even registered as a candidate for mayor.

In an article about the proceedings of a recent meeting of the Matawan Township Committee, the 25 Oct 1951 edition of The Matawan Journal referred to the post's new home as being under construction.

"Mr. (Ernest) Hubbard asked (the Matawan Township Committee) if an honor roll could be erected for veterans in the township in which the names imprinted on wood strips could be put on display behind a glass case. He said it would not be satisfactory to relatives of veterans to just have a marble stone with metal plaques not carrying the individual names.

Mr. Marz said he would have to consult the officers of Guadalcanal Post, 4745, VFW, about this as the
plaque is to go up at the site of their new post home, and the building now is under way."

Guadalcanal Post 4745 VFW in Cliffwood, NJ in 1957.

The post moved into a building at the corner of Hawthorne Street and Cliffwood Avenue (photo, above), on a lot it purchased in 1951, according to the 27 Jun 1957 edition of The Matawan Journal.

In the early days, the post attempted to establish bus service between Cliffwood and downtown Matawan. Amazingly, they also went on the record encouraging the establishment of youth programs to thwart young lovers from having idle time to find a dark spot to park along Lake Lefferts and neck.

Lacking space for major events in the early 1950's, the post held them at the Cliffwood Firehouse, Matawan High School, the Knights of Columbus hall in Keyport, and the Legion Hall of American Legion Post 176 in Matawan.

Guadalcanal Post 4745 VFW held a dance at the American Legion hall in Matawan in 1954.

The post held a dance at Legion Hall in Matawan on 18 Dec 1954, according to the above ad in the 9 Dec 1954 edition of The Matawan Journal. Walt Staeger's Orchestra would be performing.

The post held its tenth anniversary dinner on 10 Dec 1955 at the Robert E Lee Inn, according to the 22 Dec 1955 edition of The Matawan Journal. Attending were 125 veterans, their wives and other guests. (The Robert E Lee Inn was situated at the mouth of Cheesequake Creek, between Route 35 and Raritan Bay in the Morgan section of Sayreville. It burned to the ground in the 1980s, according to the 20 Sep 2007 edition of The Suburban.)

The 27 Jun 1957 edition of The Matawan Journal reported that a new building, the current one, was to be erected on the same site on Cliffwood Avenue. (The image of the plan was too faded to reproduce here.)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

History: Prospect Grove (Money Island)

Before Cliffwood Beach was developed in the 1920's, the area was known as Prospect Grove or Money Island.

The 31 Jul 1886 edition of The Matawan Journal contains the first reference I can find of Prospect Grove, a social venue for swimming and entertainment along the shore at what is now Cliffwood Beach.The article suggests that Prospect Grove was also known as Money Island.

The 23 Jun 1888 edition of The Matawan Journal announced the annual opening of Prospect Grove on 19 Jun 1888. The grove had a pavilion, bathing-houses, seats, tables, etc, making it the finest place in the region for picnics and pleasure parties. The grove served ice cream, refreshments, and all Temperance drinks. Sociables were held every Tuesday and Thursday evening. Good music was always in attendance. Clam-bakes could be arranged at short notice.  P M Barber was proprietor. 

The proprietor likely was Peter Barber, born about 1844 in New Jersey, who was living in Matawan Township in the 1880 Federal Census along with his wife Celia, their six children and his mother. He was a farmer by occupation.

The same ad appeared a year earlier for a 1 Jul 1887 opening. See the 25 Jun 1887 edition.

P. M. Barber operated the grove at the beach in Cliffwood on Wednesday and Saturday evenings during the summer of 1889, according to an advertisement in the 27 Jul 1889 edition of The Matawan Journal.. Offerings included music and refreshments at social events such as picnics, pleasure parties, and clam bakes.

Joel A Walling built a photography wagon and took it down to Prospect Grove in 1889 and did a thriving business, according to a Forty Years Ago history piece in the 23 Aug 1929 edition of The Matawan Journal, pg 4.

The 2 Aug 1890 edition of The Matawan Journal talked about Sunday School groups from Morganville and Brick that picnicked at Money Island.

The 4 Aug 1894 edition of The Matawan Journal said, "Large crowds gather at Prospect Grove to get the benefit of the sea breeze. There is dancing held at the grove every Saturday evening.

The 27 Jul 1895 edition mentioned a Sunday School group visit to Money Island by a Morganville church. 

The 27 Jun 1896 edition of The Matawan Journal declared that Prospect Grove was open for the season under the management of George Birch for music and dancing on Thursday nights, and good boating and bathing. The ad said it was "a pleasant place to spend a day and evening at the seashore." (The same ad appeared in the 27 Jul 1895 edition of The Matawan Journal.)

The 16 Aug 1900 edition mentioned a Sunday School group from Cliffwood that would be visiting Money Island.

Prospect Grove is mentioned in a scientific publication in 1904, but it isn't clear how they derived the name of the place for their publication. They described the grove as being found along the Raritan Bay southeast of Cheesequake creek. The publication, which can be found online, is The Clays and Clay Industry of New Jersey, by Heinrich Ries and Henry B Kummel, which is The Final Report of the State Geologist, Vol IV, New Jersey Geological Survey (Trenton, 1904), pp 166 ff (Google eBook). The section of the book is called Cliffwood Lignitic Sands and Clays. It discusses the geologic and geographic attributes of particular kinds of clay in the Cliffwood area, which was famous for its brickyards in that time period.

In the summer of 1905, the Olive Branch Grange held its second annual picnic at Money Island, according to a 25 Years Ago historical piece in the 1 Aug 1930 edition of The Matawan Journal.

The 15 Jul 1915 edition of The Matawan Journal spoke of an outing by boat to Money Island to collect clams for a clam bake. "Misses Mildred Morton, Dorothy Dennis, Ethel. L Lewis, and Mabel Emmons, togethet with August Kattner and Harold Close enjoyed themselves at Money Island on Friday. The trip was made by motor boat and enough clams were gathered to have a clam bake at Miss Lewis' the same evening."

The 30 Sep 1915 edition of The Matawan Journal looked fondly at the nearly forgotten Money Island. "That Money Island has not been forgotten by picknicers is evidenced by the fact that the Whitlock family with their friends enjoyed a very pleasant day there on Saturday."

Another scientific reference is in the May 1916 edition of The Journal of the New York Botanical Garden, which mentioned the oak trees in Prospect Grove. "The March conference of the scientific staff and registered students of the Garden was held in the laboratory of the museum building on the afternoon of April 5. Mr. W. A. Stowell reported on the results of his investigations of the oak hybrids of Cliffwood, New Jersey. During the past summer Mr. Stowell made an intensive study of the tree population of Prospect Grove, near Cliffwood, which is the type locality for the hybrid Quercus Rudkini. A portion of the grove, about twelve acres in extent, was found to contain nearly all the oak hybrids of the region." The article continues with details about an oak census done by Mr Stowell.

The 19 Jul 1917 edition of The Matawan Journal mentioned a camping trip to Money Island. "Edwin H. Dominiik, Edward M Hyer and Alfred Davis spent the weekend camping at Money Island."

The 25 Aug 1921 edition of The Matawan Journal mentioned families from Browntown and Matawan who picnicked at Money Island.

The 8 Sep 1921 edition of The Matawan Journal had a front page story about a group of men from South Amboy who drove to Cliffwood one evening and assaulted one of the daughters of Isaac Johnson at the shack they lived in near Money Island. Melinda Johnson supposedly shot one of the men twice in the stomach, but the police couldn't find the men involved. The women had a "hard" reputation, having never attended school, etc. Isaac Johnson had actually left home because things were so bad at the shack.

The 1 Jun 1923 edition of The Matawan Journal contained this news story of the sale of Money Island to the developers of Cliffwood Beach.


Was Hiding Place for Captain Kidd and His Treasures Which Gave Spot Its Name.

Cliffwood Beach, better known as Money Island, has been bought by Morrisey & Walker, the greatest coast developing company in the State. The price paid is said to be $200,000.

Possession of .this tract has long been sought by real estate men from New York to Philadelphia. The property was formerly owned by Miss Eleanor Clark of New York, who during her life, considered and refused the offers of many who sought to purchase it for home or commercial purposes.

Very serious consideration was given to the property as a terminal for rail and seaport, both for local and foreign freight. Surveys were made. Many times it was reported sold. The Standard Oil Company contemplated building a great oil storage plant, utilizing the fine harbor for shipping purpose. Even after the death of Miss Clark about two years ago, every effort was made by real estate men to purchase
the estate. The property was left to a niece, Miss Minnie S. Keyes of New York, from whom Morrisey & Walker made their purchase.

The tract comprises about 350 acres, in the center of which is a beautiful lake, known as the "Duck Pond. Much of the land lies high above the water, great cliffs overlook the bay. These are wooded with pines and oaks and have for years formed a favorite picnicing ground for those wishing a beautiful and secluded spot. There is a gradual slope to the beach which is one of the finest sandy stretches on Raritan Bay. This is pure beach sand extending for two miles and a half.

It was the fine harbor and secluded cliffs, no doubt, that enticed Captain Kidd to choose it as a hiding place as he played upon the seas and because it was the storehouse for his treasures he secured as a pirate it became known as Money Island. Almost every child who has picnicked in the woods on
these cliffs and bathed along the beach knows the story of Capt. Kidd. . . ."

A Mar 1924 edition of The Matawan Journal reported, "Cliffwood, more often called "Money Island" because it is supposed to have been the hiding place of Captain Kidd's treasure, is yielding to the demand for greater shore resort development. This attractive stretch of beach, with its dense woodland and pretty lake, will be opened by Morrisey and Walker." This, according to a Looking Backward historical piece in the 30 Mar 1972 edition of the paper.

The 31 Jul 1931 edition of The Matawan Journal reported, "Many people from around Hillsdale drove through Matawan on Thursday to Money Island. There must have been close to 100 wagons and each contained from four to six persons. Some Freehold residents were also noticed driving through town to the same resort."

The 27 Jun 1957 edition of The Matawan Journal had the above photo story. It identified Money Island as including the shoreline between Matawan Creek and Whale Creek. It also included Treasure Lake.

A brief history of Cliffwood Beach in the 7 Jul 1994 edition of The Independent said Prospect Grove and Money Island were actually early names for Cliffwood Beach. The ads sound more like Prospect Grove was a commercial venture than a geographic or maritime location. Neither the 1873 nor 1889 county atlas identifies the shoreline at Matavan as anything except Raritan Bay. There are no references to Prospect Grove after 1916 and only one reference to Money Island after its sale in 1923.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Stripers Draw Fishermen to Cliffwood Beach

Fishermen are at Cliffwood Beach hoping to catch stripers. NJ.com reported word of some bites before the recent storm. The fish preferred sandworms. The paper added that Raritan Bay will be open for shellfishing on 15 April after a lengthy hiatus due to Sandy.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

History: Advancement in Police Communications in Monmouth County (1936)

The 26 Jun 1936 edition of The Matawan Journal included this cover story about an advancement in regional police communications in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

Hold First Tests Of Monmouth Police Radio; Success Reported
Mrs. Edwin C. Sloat Permitted To Make Several Of The First Few Calls; Matawan Chief Hears Wife's Voice While Cruising Near Matawan; Reception Perfect

The honor of being one of the first persons in the county to make a test call over WAKC, Monmouth County's new police radio, went to Mrs. Edwin C. Sloat, wife of the Matawan police chief Saturday afternoon.

Chief Sloat, a member of the three-man county police radio commission and instrumental in having the system installed, heard his wife's voice while he was cruising in a police car in Matawan. Mrs. Sloat was speaking into the microphone set up in the control room on the third floor of the court house at Freehold.

"WAKC, Monmouth County police radio located at Freehold, N. J., operating on a frequency of 3366 kilocycles. Test call for Chief Sloat. WAKC testing. Time 2:22 p.m.," were the words spoken by Mrs. Sloat to her husband.

Saturday's test broadcasts were the first in a series under direction of the Gamewell Co., Massachusetts, electrical engineering firm, which installed the $8,000 system. Mrs. Sloat was allowed to make several test broadcasts as she happened to be in the court house at the time.

Aside from the calls made to Chief Sloat, additional tests were made to other police officers in various sections of the county. Sherif George H. Roberts and Paul Watson, Fort Monmouth radio expert, received a number while cruising separately in the vicinity of Atlantic Highlands, Fort Monmouth, West Long Branch, Little Silver and other districts.

Everywhere in the county where test calls were received it was reported that they came thru clearly. To date no "blind spots," or areas where the announcer's voice can not be distinctly heard, have been encountered, according to reports.

Chief Sloat has been jubilant over the successful trial calls and is of the opinion that the successful operatlon of the county system will succeed materially in reducing the percentage of crime in Monmouth. Efforts will also be made to have police bodies in Middlesex and Ocean Counties tie-in with the Monmouth County system.

According to present plans the system will be operated twenty-four hours a day, with a time signal broadcast every thirty minutes. If a receiver in a police car or police headquarters does not sound this time signal on the thirty-minute periods the patrolman on duty is instructed to notify police headquarters.

Chief Sloat has indicated that one of the first results of the new system expected is to reduce the cost of theft insurance on motor cars in Monmouth County as much as $25,000 a year. The effect will also be noticeable in the outlying sections as the radio will permit a police car to be dispatched to those areas within several minutes after the alarm has been received.

Station WAKC will receive its police calls thru three telephone trunk lines leading from the principal districts of the county. A teletype of the state police system has also been installed in the broadcasting station and as reports are received over it they will be broadcast.


The Nov 1940 edition of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officers (APCO) Bulletin, pg 15, discusses the Monmouth County radio communications experiment in an article called New Jersey's Police Communications, by Lieutenant John E Murnane, Communications Officer, New Jersey State Police.

Gamewell Company is an earlier iteration of Gamewell Fire Control Instruments (Gamewell FCI) of Newton, Massachusetts. Gamewell is famous for its fire alarm systems.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Cambridge Club Construction - Early April

Considerable progress has been made on the Cambridge Club on Lloyd Road in Aberdeen. Buildings have been framed out and the parking lot is taking shape.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Matawan Faculty Take on Harlem Wizards Wednesday

The Matawan Regional High School junior class and basketball team have joined forces to host The Harlem Wizards for a fun-filled match against the faculty on Wednesday 3 April 2013 starting at 6 pm at the high school. General admission is $15 ($12 advance sale) or $12 for students and senior citizens ($10 advance sale). Come out and support the school and enjoy some great entertainment basketball.

Update: This event has been cancelled. The school hopes to reschedule.