203 Main Street

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203 Main Street around 1940 • Click Photo to Enlarge

Hey guys. So I figured a lighter post was in order. I have a handful a these great photos which feature The building on the corner of Main & Camplain roads. Some of them have appeared on this blog before, but I wanted to reintroduce them in this new historical context.

I don’t know if it’s the official name, but I’ve always known it as “The Blumberg Building” officially located at 203 Main St. The above photo (c. 1940) is the earliest one I have, and I guess at some point an addition was put on as shown in the photos below.

These next two photos were taken by Neal Ranauro and take place at some point in the mid 1950s. The top photo is dressed with buntings for the Silver Jubille, Manville’s 25th anniversary celebration… which would date it in 1954. The bottom one still has no traffic light, so it would be slightly earlier. If you look real close you can see the building has been freshly altered. The photos will expand if you click them!

DSC04006 DSC04005They put up those cool marble looking facades across the whole front of the building & you can see the fresh brick that was the addition. I’d love to know the date of construction if anyone can verify. I’m a little jealous of Manville’s vibrant Main Street culture when it was a boomtown… looks like no one wanted to go home. The building is still there, a shell of it’s former beauty. Here is a modern photo…

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Classic Trucks • Steve’s Tire 1958

STS001Steve’s Tire 1958 • Click Photo to Enlarge


So I poached this photo off of a great message board from a site called Jalopy Journal. The gentleman that posted this photo is the owner of that 1933 Ford pickup. He recalls the photo being taken in 1958. For a while I used to hang around this garage in the early 90′s having known the owners at the time. The photos of the garages look pretty much exactly the way I remember them. Anyway Manville folks will be familiar with Steve’s tire, being formerly located on Main Street up near Kennedy Blvd. The building is still a garage and the service garages are still there. Now it looks like this.

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 11.26.35 AMOn a side note, Jalopy Journal has a pretty great archive going of old photos from users. I notices some great quality ones especially involving classic cars. trucks and classic accidents. If you want you can check that out HERE.

1930′s Manville Flood

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Main Street looking south towards JFK • Click to Enlarge

While flooding seems to have become a much worse and more frequent problem in Manville, to some degree it did already exist. Since these come from Anne Sullivan’s photo collection which is loosely dated “1939-1940″ This can basically been from one of two storms. And if I had to take a wild guess I’d say it was from the so called 1940 New England Hurricane. Which at least as of a few years ago was the wettest storm in New Jersey history, dropping a record 24 inches of rain on Ewan, NJ. Of course, there was also the Great New England Hurricane of 1938, which was terrible as well, but it doesn’t seem to fit the timeline of the photos. This is a pretty great shot though and you can see the Weston Train Station way up at the top of the photo. The following photos will expand if you click on them.

This next photo is basically the same exact location. I don’t know what this bus is, but I guess it was some sort of public transportation.

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This is another great photo… Basically the same view. Anyone know this guy?

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Here is a few looking the other way up Main Street. You can see the onion from the top of the old Church on the left…

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A couple more young men… These guys look like trouble. Anybody know them?

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And one last photo. I can’t figure out the location on this one, but maybe Dukes Parkway?

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Quigley’s Bike Shop

When I was a young boy of an age old enough to venture off my immediate Manville block, I quickly realized that it would be much to my advantage to procure myself a bike. I pleaded my case to my parents and grandparents, and much to my surprise my grandfather quickly responded “Sure we’ll go down to Quigley’s tomorrow”. I think what I was hoping for was one of those little 15″ versions of a BMX bike, but when I got down to Quigley’s that afternoon what I saw scarred the hell out of me. There was a pile of bikes in the middle of the floor 3 times as tall as me. They looked mangled, and most of them bore the name Schwinn. I didn’t understand. I thought we went to the wrong store. But my grandfather assured me that “how dare I question this place… this is QUIGLEY’S. This is THE bike store.” He was right. And quigley’s outlasted every bike store that ever came to Manville, especially in reputation.

Lets’ take a look at a short history of the Quigley family as poached from Carmonsandusky.com

When Lester Quigley came to town in 1927 to take on the job of postmaster, his son George came along with the family and opened up his bicycle shop here. Young George had already been in business for a couple of years in Neshanic. His father had let him convert a chicken coop into a shop and had helped him put up a sign along Amwell Road — how else was a boy of 16 going to be taken seriously as a businessman and be able to get credit and buy wholesale. In those days the Manville Post Office was at the Johns-Manville plant. At first it was in A Building, and later the Asbestos Hotel. Lester Quigley in time became J-M employment supervisor, but son George did not want to work there, he kept right on with his bicycles. 

For several years now I have been trying to nail down a timeline for Quigley’s. The store I remember was on Main Street and had been there forever. According to a newspaper article on the shop written in 1979 the store had been on Main Street for 39 years, which would mean he moved over there in ’40. I recently received a collection of photos from 1939, which depict the shop as being on the corner of Knopf and North 6th Ave, on the site which later became Al’s market. For a store that I actually physically remember I’m sad to say that I do not have any photos of the Main St. location. But these photos are great. The video above is from Petey’s Film made around the same time as these photos by the Semenick family. You will notice some characters in these photos are in the film, namely the adorable little girl, who has now been identified as Quigley’s daughter Antoinette! (thanks to the Mizerek family for the help!) Ok. Let’s get to some photos. They will expand if you click on them. Lets start with some shop photos…

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I believe is the man George Quigley himself…

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and finally, Quigley’s daughter Antoinette… who I actually fell in love with after looking at these.

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1st download 4093If anyone can Identify these people please leave a comment. If anyone has any other Quigley’s (or any other Manville photos for that matter) photos, please submit them to Devildance@hotmail.com. These photos were submitted by Anne Sullivan. On behalf of everyone who views this blog, I thank her for these amazing photos.

Knopf Street 1938 / Bike Shop

1st download 4148Knopf Street 1938 • Click Photo to Enlarge

Ok, well I said I was going to need some help identifying places. In this case though I know where I am at geographically. This is The corner of Knopf and North 6th ave looking down towards Main St. Obviously it had not been paved yet. If you look real hard you can see Johns Manville at the end there. Most of the houses in this photo still exist… including that store on the right there, which most Manvillians will affectionately remember as Al’s Market. Obviously at some point in the late 30′s Al’s was a bike shop. I know Quigley’s was eventually located right down the street on Main and Knopf so here is the question I’m posing to you. Does anyone remember this bike shop? and was it in fact an early incarnation of Quigley’s? If you want to see a modern version of this view you can click HERE.

You can see the situation with Manville streets was still pretty terrible in 1938, when these photos were allegedly taken, except for maybe on a nice dry week… and if you had a fast car…. Thanks again to Anne Sullivan for contributing these…

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Something Incredible Just Happened…

1st download 3949Click Photo to Enlarge

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was contacted by a woman named Anne Sullivan, who had unearthed a cache of great Manville photos, which at the time I had not yet seen. Today I got a flash drive in the mail. It includes 789 photos from 1938-39. They are incredible. There is definitely a narrative behind the photos, and as soon as I figure out what it is I will explain it.

Meanwhile, I am going to be slowly rolling out the photos on this blog. They revolve around a family or a group of friends. I am going to need lots of help sorting out who the people are. Hell, who knows… one of em might even be you. Whoever took these was obviously a hell raiser, well to do, a passioned cyclist, and had a pretty sweet eye for photography and capturing emotion. If you know anyone in the photos please comment or contact me.

Out of the batch I’d say at least 60% of them are in the actual town of Manville. I’m actually not familiar with the person/place pictured above, so I’d just like to start with a mystery… can anyone identify the guy/place in the photo at the top of the page?

And just for good measure, here is a great, albeit damaged photo of the Manville Movie Theater…


Thanks Anne for sending these. I’m very sure everyone will appreciate these photos… Manvillians past and present… wait until you see these.

Main Street • Vintage Views

Hello everyone, I was just checking out my buddy Gary Carmon’s Manville site carmonsandusky.com and noticed he put up some great new photos. While we were on the topic of old signs and storefronts I decided to lift a few. These all came from Neal Ranauro’s Manville photo archive, and I’m not sure how I missed these when I was looking through them, but they are great. You can click on the photos to enlarge them.

First is this great photo of the Chester House. If you enlarge it and go to the right of the photo you can see the old Gamby’s Diner at the future site of Quick Check, and Charlie’s Resturant in the back there.

This next photo is a little further down Main St. Starting at Quigleys Bike Shop. The Quigley’s building in now the home of The Grub Hut, but back in the day it was like the great bike shop in town that was famous for the giant tangled bike heap that sat in the middle of the front room. As a kid I remember being slightly afraid to go in there in fear of a bike avalanche and a slow agonizing 8 year old death. I’m still looking for good photos of that place if anyone has any. Anyway you can see the great Liccardi Motors lot in the back there. I’m not sure what year that disappeared, but I totally do not remember it. Looks awesome though. I’m sure it was an asset to an evening drive down the strip in it’s day. You can also see the old corner Sunoco Station way in the back there. Oh and speaking of great advertising… how about the 24 hour milk dispensary. I wonder whatever became of those amazing old signs.

The next photo is more of a birds eye, and was taken out of one of the JM office windows, where Ranauro worked as photographer. This is the corner of Knopf and Main. You can see Lebbings Garage, Shop Rite, and the Esso station, which I believe may have been run By the Manna Family. This is just a great view of Main St. with plenty to look at.

Remember if you have any photos you would like to share please get in touch with me so we can help preserve our towns history. I can help you get them scanned and digitally archived as well.

Manville advertising / signage

The Manville Lanes • Click to Enlarge

I took a walk over to the Manville Lanes today after learning is was all closed up and gutted. My main goal was to try and find a worker so I could attempt to procure the giant sign on the side of the building, but no one was around. It bummed me out so much that that classic old sign, a beacon of my childhood might escape my grasp and end up in a landfill somewhere off the side of 287. As I stood in defeat remembering the way only half those neon letters used to flicker and light up the Manville night sky, it occurred to me that I might take a little walk around downtown Manville and get some photos of some of the great local advertising before it dissapears as well..

Like always the adventure was a rewarding one. I wish I has time to cover the whole town but for now here are a few Gems.

I recently struck up a friendship with the John Krasansky. John has a genius personality that kind of reminds me of Nick Charles in the movie the thin man.  The guy can tell great stories, so I honestly didn’t believe him when he told me there was an old Kay Appliance showroom that closed in the 1950s and was undisturbed ever since. But when I got there I’ll be damned if there wasn’t a 1950s appliance store time capsule. I don’t want to post the address because I think I already shook up the neighbors by taking all kinds of photos over there, but I got this great shot through the window…

You can enlarge the photo by clicking on it. It’s amazing that a place like this exists. And speaking of store that closed down decades ago, leaving room fulls of brand new antiques… The Chabra Professional building used to have a hardware store under it. Apparently they just put some white paper over the windows, hung a few wreaths and called it a day. In all fairness this is a pretty iconic building in town. I love the old sign with the terrible spacing.

The next one is an old ghost sign on Main Street that is now obscured by buildings. I managed a decent photo of it. It’s an ad for M.H. Burke & Co. Which was apparently a Dept. Store in Somerville. I’m glad this thing survived…

The next two photos I got are fairly new, but they are great hand painted signs so I included them. The first one is from the Hair Palace… and it’s just super well done.

The next one is out in front of the jewelry store on Main St. This is just a great diamond painting. I’m not sure if they used cheap paint or if they intentionally left the old rickety paint… either way this is great…

This is another classic Manville sign, I wish they didn’t ruin it with the plexiglass. I guess kids were breaking the neon…

Camplain Liquors doesn’t only have this classic neon, but on the side window they have another great hand painted sign. This one is such a classic too…

Ice Cold Beer, I don’t know anyone who can argue with that. This next one is one of my favorite neons around. The Chester House sign. Tommy recently got someone to give this sign a facelift and fix the neon arrow… it looks great.

And finally the old Kay Electric building has a great old sign painted right on to the building. This one is kind of tucked away…

I managed to get a pretty good shot of one of the old service trucks too… it’s pretty cool the way the old paint preserved the logo a little.

Petey’s Films • Manville Businesses part 2

Hey all just wanted to continue with the Businesses portion of the Petey’s Films. This one focuses more on the storefront aspect of local stores and such. This one is a great street level view of the young towns thriving shops. Most of you will have heard of some of these places. Enjoy.

Petey’s Films • Manville Businesses

This next episode of Petey’s film’s really strikes a personal chord with me, and not just because it’s about Manville. You all know that I’ve been sharing the old Manville News issues on here thanks to the good graces and help of Kevin Shutack. Kevin’s family owned the local print shop, which produced the town’s first newspapers, which is why he had them laying around all this time. As a graphic designer, part time letterpress printer, and employee at a local newspaper, I was floored at the opening scene of this video being the old Manville News. Now that I’ve spent the year archiving these I get to actually watch them being produced! Not only that, but I get to watch them being printed on a letterpress machine, and using a Linotype machine, old printing methods which I also happen to be in the practice of doing myself as a hobby. Anyway, not to focus too much on one section, this video highlights a few other businesses in the Manville area, including London Fur Dyeing Company, (cigar maker?), liquor store, Lloyd Garment Company (21 South 3rd Ave). As always if anyone can elaborate on these films please leave a comment! Thanks again to Gary Carmon for digitally archiving and sharing these!