A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Friday, August 21, 2015

History: State Route 35 South at GSP Exit 117 in October 1956

My wife came across this interesting video from the Jack Kirby Archives showing a driver exiting the Garden State Parkway at Exit 117 on 6 October 1956. He headed south on Route 35, turned right on Bethany Road, then made a left into a new housing development under construction in Holmdel.

I've made a timeline of this short video and added some stills from the video. Although I've been careful, I'm sure I've omitted some observations and made some mistakes. I'd be interested in your additions and corrections.
  • 0:10 Garden State Parkway Exit 117; Sign: Matawan/Keyport
  • 0:22 Sign: Keyport/Keansburg (left arrow); Middletown (right arrow); Keyport water tower in distance
  • 0:26 Merged onto Route 35 South - view in distance of Route 35 North overpass
0:29 Sign; Route 35 N visible in background

  • 0:29 Sign: Red Bank/Asbury Park (right arrow); Keansburg/Atlantic Highlands (left arrow)
  • 0:31 Signs: Route 35 (right arrow); Route 36 (left arrow); tall, narrow sign across the highway, illegible
  • 0:33 Beers Street intersection on right?
0:36 Turn in road before current Home Depot

  • 0:35 Turn in roadway approaching entrance to current Home Depot; Sign: Briarcliff Homes 
  • 0:37 Sign: Route 35 Red Bank/Eatontown/Asbury Park
  • 0:38 Sign: Old Manor Estates
0:38 View of Route 35 S heading towards Holmdel Road

  • 0:40 Sign: Split Rock Estates, Turn Right; downslope heading towards Holmdel Road
0:44 Dutch Motel; unidentified restaurant

  • 0:44 Signs: Esso (right); Dutch Motel (right); restaurant (right); Texaco (left)
  • 0:45 At Holmdel Road & Route 35
0:46 Old Manor Estates sign; Sunoco garage

  • 0:46 Sign: Old Manor Estates, Turn Here, from $14,990
  • 0:48 Sunoco garage
0:52 Restaurant with airplane on roof; steaks and chops

  • 0:52 Restaurant with airplane on roof near roadway; sells steaks and chops; possibly nearing Hazlet Avenue intersection

  • 0:58 Signs: Foxwood Homes (right); Molly Pitcher Inn (left, in distance)
  • 1:00 Sign: Turn right at Bethany Road
1:03 Fitzgerald's Green Acres Bar

  • 1:03 Fitzgerald's Green Acres Bar
  • 1:07 Sign: Raritan Ridge, left turn
  • 1:08 Sign: Old Manor Estates, Holmdel Township, 200 Feet Turn Right

1:11 Farm stand and truck

  • 1:11 Farm stand, possibly Casola Farms; old truck has an illegible business identified on side
  • 1:14 Bethany Road
1:19 Bethany Road railroad crossing, looking southwest

  • 1:19 Bethany Road railroad crossing
  • 1:25 Bethany Road at intersection with Telegraph Hill Road (on left)
  • 1:31 Old Manor Estates model homes on left and right side of Bethany Road; parking area  on right
1:39 Bethany Road approaching construction site

  • 1:39 Bethany Road - approaching Old Manor Estates construction site
  • 1:46 Bethany Road - major construction site
  • 1:56 Bethany Road - Newly built Old Manor Estates homes


The 18 Mar 1981 edition of The Bayshore Independent contains the obituary of Frank G Havey, of Hazlet, who moved to the area in 1958 and worked as manager at Fitzgerald's Green Acres Bar for eight years.


The restaurant with the airplane on the roof was originally called Hazlet Lunch and was operated by Bill Kahlert, according to Hazlet Township, pp 12-13, by William B Longo. Kahlert was a pilot and owned his own plane. A plane was added to the roof at one point and the restaurant became a local landmar,, according to Longo, who said the luncheonette closed in the early 1970s and reopened as a disco later that decade. (Check out Longo's old photos, post cards)

A Keyport Facebook group consensus was that Hazlet Lunch later became known as Sergeant Pepper's and then The Red Barron, burning to the ground sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s. The group said it was located where the Midas service center is situated today, near the Hazlet Fairgrounds and the Buhler automobile dealership.

The 29 Aug 1979 edition of the Bayshore Independent (pg 2)  reported on the 24 Aug 1979 fire that destroyed Sgt Pepper's Club on the eve of its reopening. Heat lamps being used to dry a new coat of polyurethane on the bar caused the fire, according to officials. The roof caved in and the airplane fell inside the burning structure. The club, which operated for two years as Sgt Pepper's, operated as a go-go bar during the day and a rock-n-roll club at night. It had been closed for two months due to ABC violations related to the go-go bar. It had previously been called The Hangar, The Red Baron, and The Hazlet Lunch. The owner planned to rebuild.

25 Mar 2016 Note: Timeline of video has been edited above based on feedback in comments below.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A&P in Cliffwood to Close Before Labor Day

The A&P grocery store in Cliffwood is closing its doors on Friday 4 September 2015. It is part of a larger corporate bankruptcy, according to the 20 Jul 2015 edition of The Wall Street Journal. Other local A&P groceries being closed include the Route 9 store in Old Bridge and the store on Route 35 in Holmdel. Corporate is raising some quick cash as part of its Chapter 11 proceedings. Others not yet named will also close or change hands soon enough.

The Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company opened this grocery store in Cliffwood on 6 October 1959. (See related article)

The Cliffwood store survived the arrival of Price Club, whose  box store in Hazlet soon killed the small, family-run Foodtown in downtown Matawan. But A&P couldn't stop the bleeding as shoppers flocked to the many well-stocked and competitively priced stores in the area, including Shop Rites on Lloyd Road in Aberdeen and Route 35 in Hazlet and Stop n Shops in Aberdeen and Keyport.

Opinions of A&P in Cliffwood weren't mixed; the store had grown increasingly unpopular in the area, leaving it to serve more as a large convenience store than as a grocer. It was my impression that A&P wasn't as "fresh obsessed" as its advertising implied. I can't tell you how many times I found expired products on the shelf or in my grocery bag. My neighbors complained that prices weren't competitive and selection was poor.

Residents will just have to wait and see what will become of the space. The economy is strong and vacancies that abounded along Route 35 two or three years ago have all been filled. The intersection of Route 35 and Cliffwood Avenue has just been upgraded. Perhaps a new tenant will be found quickly?