Manville Roller Rink // Crystal Roller Palace // Rhythms // Hullabaloo

photo 2Manville Roller Rink • Click photo to enarge

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.

photo 1You 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.

Manville News, December 26th, 1941

BANNER-12-26-14Ok 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

The “Old 1623″ Johns-Manville plant switch engine

jm train crew niceThe Old 1623 • Click Photo to Enlarge

This post is for all my fellow train lovers and railfans. This photo is from the collection of Neal Ranauro, and was reprinted in The Manville News for the Manville’s 50th anniversary celebration issue. As stated in the above caption this photo was taken back in 1938 by Ranauro and features the John’s Manville work train and crew. Affectionately known about town as “the old 1623″ this work horse and it’s crew manned the 12 miles of track within the JM yard moving the 1200 or so different types of products to the appropriate lines to be moved out across the country. This is a great and iconic photo. Another great one from Neal Ranauro… that guy was the best.

Just for good measure here is one more shot of “The Old 1623″ about to take flight. She truly is handsome.


Vintage Main Street

$_57Main Street, Manville • Click photo to enlarge

Hello everyone. I am still alive, and just turned up this tremendous early postcard of Main Street in Manville. I find these things a lot, but this is one of the oldest and craziest ones I’ve ever seen. If you have been around Manville for awhile you surely recognize the Old Sacred Heart Church there on the right, which was demolished back in 2002 due to “unsafe conditions”. Purely judging by the vehicles way off in the distance I’d say this is definitely a pre-depression era photo. It’s crazy even despite all the time I spend looking at old Manville photos this view is almost unrecognizable.

You’re basically looking at what is now the Main St. / Camplain Rd. intersection. This is before the Blumberg building. In fact, this is the first look I think I’m having of any of those buildings on the left side of the photo. This is a really great shot. Anyone know a timeframe on this? I know that church wasn’t built until 1921, so I’m thinking this is early to mid 20’s.

Manville Sewage dedication Booklet / Timeline.


So I know how boring this sounds, but I swear to god this little booklet is one of the most comprehensive Manville histories that had ever been compiled up to it’s printing in 1938. It includes some photos, some small town history, lots of info on the Manville sewer system, a very comprehensive timeline, and a complete list of Govt. officials right up to 1938. The typography is not too shabby either.

If you are doing any sort of research on Manville this is a great place to start. You can download and save the entire booklet, and you should. But if you don’t have the patience for that I am going to include preview photos of the timeline below since I feel like it’s amazing. OR you can just skip straight to looking at the whole thing… it’s worth it and you can view it right HERE.




Manville News, December 19th, 1941


Hey everyone. Here is another digital issue of the old Manville News. This is the Christmas issue from 1941, and its a pretty thick one comparatively. 16 pages, which include a lot of Ads from vintage Manville businesses. It also includes a Manville Yellow jackets article and photo. And an article abou Johnny “Legs” Welaj getting traded to the Red Sox. It also has an original rendering of the “New Manville Police Station”. So overall it’s a pretty good issue. Due to the size it may take a minute to download so be patient. You can view it HERE.

Silver Jubilee • Manville’s 25th Anniversary


Good morning everyone! Hope everyone is enjoying this spring day. So I have just started to dig into some more of Neal Ranauro’s Manville archives and came across this little gem. This is a photo album which celebrates Manville’s 1954 Silver Jubilee. A couple of these photos have appeared here before, but I thought it would would be nice to keep them all collected in one spot. I love this event so much. The town was all done up with buntings, and it seemed like literally everyone came out to celebrate Manville’s 25th birthday as an independent borough. I think combined with the post war boom time and the general prosperity of the town, this may have been one of the high points of morale in town.

This album was so great and contained a ton of panoramic shots, a few oversized ones… and populated primarily with shots from a “Miss Silver Jubilee” beauty pageant. And who can blame Neal for that… the girls are so cute and the shots are so fun. I unfortunately do not know the names, so like always please comment if you know them.

This is going to be a loooong post so hold on tight! All photos will enlarge if you click them! Just a quick note… I stopped telling the photos up in new windows for 2 reasons.

1. i noticed that it makes navigation on the phones and tablets hard to deal with and

2. I started posting really photo heavy posts and I feel like its getting difficult to deal with all the windows. So from now on you just have to clack the back button to get back to the main posts.

I’m sorry I dont mean to change things up in the middle of the blog, but I want to make it user friendly. OK let’s go!





























Wow, that was a lot… but wait. Here is my favorite part! Miss Silver Jubilee contest!!!













Wow, how fun did those photos look! I wish I could’ve been there. Maybe we could make the 100 year anniversary even more amazing. Many thanks to Neal Ranauro for documenting pretty much everything awesome that ever happened in this town. Here’s is one more parting photo of Neal and some other photographers…