8th Ave. Railroad Crossing?

8th ave train gate operator

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…

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 11.38.58 AMThat 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.

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.

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CNJ RR Station Manville-Finderne, NJ in 1963

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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?

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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…

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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

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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…

1st download 4209Have a good day y’all.