Hey everyone. It’s been a long time since we got in a digitally archived issue of the old Manville News. I feel like after wrapping up the entire 1941 year I even needed a break from those things, but the show must go on. This here is issue is January 2, 1942.
If you are new to this blog… a few years ago I acquired a 3 year pile (1941-1943) of the Manville News, which has no relation to the current Manville News. I have since been digitizing them as they contain a lot of valuable information including lots genealogical info. To my knowledge these issues are not and have never been previously available anywhere else. The issues are downloadable and fully searchable.
So when I started this blog back in 2009 I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know how to make things the right size, how to crop, or how to allow enlargements on the photos. Also, the category field has grown so much things are not appropriately tagged anymore. Since there was a tiny following as compared to now, and considering how expansive this site has gotten I thought all the newcomers may enjoy a little curation of old posts. So I decided to start going back and fixing the old ones, updating the photos and category tags as well to make them easier to find and reposting links. I started with one of my favorite ones… the construction and opening of the Main Street underpass. This was a crucial and landscape altering construction project that happened starting around 1949, and fortunately Johns Manville photographer Neal Ranauro captured some amazing photos of it all. Please visit (or revisit) the old post by clicking HERE. The photos are now cropped and available to view at about 5 times the size as they previously were. I hope you all enjoy, as there will be more similar updates on the way!
Above Photo by Neal Ranauro • Click Photos to Enlarge
So something interesting happened to me this morning. I was sorting through some photos and came across this one I’ve been ignoring. It was really crazy because I had this labeled as 13th ave crossing, but when I took a good look at it, it didn’t make any sense at all! The water tower is on the wrong side of the photo, and is facing the wrong way. In fact… after some careful examination I came upon a new Manville mystery. The 8th Ave railroad crossing.
The old water tower you see in the photo there was formerly located on the north side between 9th and 10th aves, which would seem to put this crossing on South 8th. This was all pretty crazy to me, since I was completely unaware that this existed so I popped open a google maps street view to investigate…
That is a shot of the end of South 8th next to the tracks looking from South Street (behind the VFW) Sure as hell looks like there used to be a crossing there huh?
UPDATE: According to some Manville folk testimony this crossing did exist on 8th Ave, and I think we’ve narrowed down the time period of that top photo to be sometime in the early 1930’s. While this is still speculation at this point, it’s a pretty good educated guess. I will update this post as more information comes at me.
I was just cataloging some photos in my external hard drive and found this excellent photo of 2 Manville police cars passing / sharing a moment under the old Weston Underpass. This would be before the road and bridge were rerouted, so this is the underpass that is currently filled in with dirt. (you can see my old post about it HERE) I’m not even sure who to credit for this photo, because I frankly forgot who sent it to me. I can’t believe I haven’t posted this one earlier given how cool it is. You can see the Esso station way back in the distance… love these old police cruisers too! So cool.
All photos by Neal Ranauro • Click photo to enlarge
So given the current political environment it felt like the right time to finally post these JM asbestos strike photos. Back in 1970 a bunch of papers were carrying national headlines about asbestos workers contracting asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma from spraying buildings under construction, which ultimately led to the banning of the practice completely in New York, Boston and Chicago. They reported on the death of Albert Hutchinson, who was a prominent asbestos industry union leader. I can only assume that was the catalyst for these demonstrations, which carried on for months in 1970
Maybe some of the folks on this board can comment on the local events that led to this particular protest, as this is basically recent history. For me personally, I was born in 1976 and most of my memories of JM are of the barely active shadowy factory that loomed behind a huge creepy fence. Of course, nearly everyone in my family worked there at one point or another. Anyway without involving my personally feeling in the matter… here are some photos. They will all enlarge if you click them.
Here is an actual homemade protest sign that was included in Ranauro’s collection. There is no credit to who made it…
So this is a great old Manville building that still exists at the outskirts of town. It’s now known as Rhythms of the Night and had previously had a stint as a dance club called The Yellow Rose. In the late 60’s it also spend some time as “The Hullabaloo” Here is a current era photo of Rhythms.
The Hullabaloo was also a dance club. Since we don’t have a photo of the place here is an incredible video of garage band “Witches Bru” playing there back in the day.
The truth is that I personally haven’t been inside this building since it was the local roller rink called the Crystal Roller Palace. In my era, The Crystal Roller Palace was a magical place straight out of an early 80’s cult teen coming of age action movie ala “Over the Edge”, where I was fortunate enough to be able cross the makeshift stone bridge across the local creek behind the place and rock the Joust arcade machine whilst listening to the latest Ozzy Osbourne track. Unfortunately I could not find a photo of the outside of the place, but there is a Facebook group dedicated to it. For illustrative purposes I stole this photo from it. I’m sure they won’t mind.
As this photo so perfectly illustrates, it was one of those great cultural watershed places in American small town living… and a great place to show off the latest long sleeve rock and roll T shirts. I suppose it had been for years prior. There was also of course, rollerskating, which somehow seemed to come second to the arcade for me… but I could do it. Well.
Before it was the Crystal Roller Palace, and before the Hullabualoo, it was still a roller skating rink, which I believe was just called “The Manville Roller Rink” and frankly I don’t know when it was constructed or when it opened. I do know from some old newspapers that it did exist at least as far back as 1941. Here is another really early photo of the place.
You can see it pretty much stayed the same except for an addition that was put on at some point. It’s a tragedy that those cool windows didn’t survive its metamorphosis over the years. Thanks to Carol Ascolese for these great old black and whites. These are definitely new to the site.
Ok folks. Here is a digital version of the old Manville News. This one is great for several reasons. First of all, I have been eager to get to this one since it contains a train wreck in the Manville train yard… which is also known as Port Monmouth Junction (for all you fellow train nerds). Growing up over on Angle Ave. in lost valley, right across from the tracks, I had always heard about this one… it spilled tar everywhere.
Another reason this issue is great is that it concludes the entire year of 1941… so I get to feel like I actually accomplished something. In reality I’m only about a third or so through the stack. Still, it somewhat feels like a milestone.
One more reason this is great, is that it features a little blurb about Chester Trojanowski. Father of Tommy from the Chester House bar. The bar was named after Chester ala it’s name “The Chester House”
Allegedly he was quite a roller skater, and was performing in town in the following week. You can view and download the Issue via the following link. manville-news-12-26-1941-ocr