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

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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.


CNJ RR Station Manville-Finderne, NJ in 1963


Hello everyone. I just found this 1963 Kodachrome slide of the Manville-Finderne station on the web and thought it was a pretty great one, so I figured I’d share. I don’t have much to say about this… I’m fairly sure everyone remembers this station going out of town between Manville and Finderne. Just thought it was a cool photo.

More Weston-Manville Station photos

1798061_10201893999775116_1109602827_nI have already covered the Manville-Weston station A LOT in the blog, so I’m not going to go into any factual info here. If you want to check out the original post and lots more photos you can go HERE. If you want to see the old schedule for the station you can go HERE. What this particular post is, is just two random photos that a reader sent me.

Unfortunately I do not have dates for these, but I know the top one would be early 1900′s based on similar ones I’ve seen. The bottom one would be after the place burned so maybe late 70′s or so? These are pretty small, but great… so i figured I’d share. These were both sent to me By Michael Kull… Thanks so much Mike!

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Manville Shanty Town Fire?


Manville Fire • Click to Enlarge

Awhile back I did an article on the old Manville / JM Shanty Town that had sprung up on the site of the old creosote factory. Which most of you know later became the Rustic Mall, and then became a Superfund site, and now sits empty as a nice fenced off, perpetual middle finger to the people of Manville. If you’ve never heard of the creosote factory it made the black slime that they use to waterproof and coat railroad ties and telephone poles… and I think some other stuff. It closed sometime around 1960 and looked like this…


Federal Creosote Factory 1954 • Click Photo to Enlarge

According to some of our readers on here, who have had relatives on the Manville P.D. the shanty town were a bunch of folk who lives in boxcars and old handmade shacks. There were a lot of fights, and it was just a rough part of town. Dangerous. The police were summoned back there… a lot.  If you have never heard this place I encourage you to click that link in the previous paragraph to see some photos.

Rumor has it the place burnt to the ground. People died. A lot of people were hurt. I’d be going out on a limb here to assume the above photo was the actual fire that burned the shanty town down, so I’ll just say it could be. Regardless it’s a great photo Taken by Neal Ranauro, to whom we owe a great deal for his very comprehensive collection of almost everything Manville.

Thanks to Gary Carmon for bringing this photo to my attention. He also is deeply interested in Manville’s history and has a great site with some more of Ranauro’s photos, which are not featured on this blog. You can see those HERE.

1960 Weston-Manville Station Train Schedule


Weston-Manville Train Station • Click to enlarge

I always talk about the many Manville Train Stations. Awhile back I did a post about specifically about the Weston-Manville stop, which was the main passenger line serving Manville between Trenton and NYC. I recently lucked into an actual 1960 train schedule from the station. I am a bit of a railfan, so I hope this doesn’t bore the pants off of everyone else that comes to this site. Let’s face it though, if you are from Manville trains are a way of life. It’s the very thing that made the town so accesable to so many people in the beginning. Also, I had this gorgeous photo of a Reading Railroad passenger train passing through Manville…

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Mainly I guess it felt like finding this schedule was a personal victory, and another crucial entry into my personal Manville ephemera archive. When you went over to the Manville station the first thing you had to do was go see this guy… Michael Persinko.

100_3302He could definitely hook you up with one of these…

cover chartIf it was 1960 and you were headed from Manville to NYC your schedule would’ve looked like this… (It will expand if you click it)

chartAnd if you were interested in the reverse schedule, or just owning a digital copy of this I actually scanned the whole thing.

front chart

ScanEven though I do enjoy the many freights still pulling through town, I think it’s still a disaster that there is no passenger lines servicing Manville. In a town full of tracks, it seems like a no brainer. Hopefully one day. But for now, here is a photo of some lonely train tracks to hold you over…

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Happy Labor Day Everyone!

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I hope everyone is having a great, work free, stress free Labor Day. I decided that today was going to be a light hearted fun post. One that is a nod to the social and economic achievements of American workers. We all work hard, and sometimes we need some good old fashioned fun, or at least the satisfaction of knowing we can provide that for our children. So I offer you this great photo of an unknown Manville girl flying a kite. This photo is so great, and it reminded me that I haven’t flown a kite in soo long. If you feel like working for it today, I welcome you to try and identify her. Using context clues I believe this photo was taken on the south side of Manville above 13th ave. I can only assume that a girl this adorable, that warrants a photo this amazing must have not flown under an entire towns radar. I’d love to know who she is. If you know her please leave a comment. The photo will enlarge if you click on it.

Oh and by the way, you probably notice that I have been moving things around on the site and such. I’m just trying to clean things up a bit. I like to keep a tidy house, even out here in cyberspace. I will be slowly tweaking things over the next few days… please be patient with me. Enjoy your day off everyone.

Johns Manville Shanty Town?

1st download 3875Click Photo to Enlarge

One of the biggest Manville urban legends that has continued to escape me is one about a “shanty town” that had sprung up around the JM property. I think I have possibly tracked down some photos. I cannot confirm this is it, using context clues here is what I came up with. In the photo above on the left is what looks like the asbestos bays from JM that backed up to the tracks that run over Main street. It looks like the Watchung Mountains in the background there. On the right if you really look you can se the other train line that cuts through the Lost Valley. To be honest when I look at these photos it seems more like this whole site is on what would’ve been the Federal Creosote Factory land, which was nestled in between the two train lines right before what was then know as Port Reading Junction (or basically the Manville train yard).

From the lose hearsay and unreliable information I have gathered over the years, I’ve heard that this was essentially built by workers out of old train cars and scrap wood and that it had eventually burned down. If anyone has any stories of can confirm that this is actually the shanty town, please comment on this. Here are a few more shots. They will all expand if you click on them. Thanks Anne Sullivan for contributing these.

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Manville 50th Anniversary 1910 Map

Click Map to Enlarge • It Will Expand Twice

I got this old reprint of a 1910 map of Manville out of a 50th anniversary special newspaper insert that came with The Manville News, The Hillsborough Beacon, and The Franklin News Record on April 26, 1979. Thanks again to the Folks at the Somerset County Historical Society for letting me snap digital photos of this. The street you see with all the cars on it is Main Street. If you look WAY in the back between where the train tracks meet you can see the Federal Creosote Factory. All three train stations appear on the map. Also, for some reason on the left side of the map there is a giant rooster. I have no idea what the hell that means. Apparently this map was drawn crudely and not to scale, although it looks pretty awesome to me. It was used as a sort of handout to lure residents into town. Some of the farms on the map are “hypothetical farms” but there are a few houses I recognize from other old maps. I’m going to try and sort out the residences for a possible future post. Until then though… if you want to download a bigger PDF version of the map, where you can zoom in on more detail just click HERE. Enjoy.

A Vintage Walk to the Manville-Weston Station.

Manville was a different looking place back in the 1930′s. In some ways it was a better place, in that you could actually get out of town via the many train stations around. Most likely though if you were a regular Chad or Brad leaving town you were probably headed out from the Manville-Weston Station. Here’s some scenes from your 1930 walk over to the station… all of these photos will enlarge twice if you click on them.

This is Main Street looking south. Across the street is the great St. Mary’s church. It looked the same all the way into the 90′s. Just a few more blocks south you’d end up near the Royce Brook, looking at the old train bridge leaving town. Just to the right up on the hill is the Weston Station…

You’d walk up the old stairs to get to the train station, where you could catch the old Delaware and Bound Brook Railroad to your connecting trains to NY or PA. But not before you saw the ticker agent Mr. Persinko to pay your fare..