By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
As soon as he set out the stacks of last year’s inaugural Prown’s Remembers Red Bank calendar, David Prown realized that he had a long-lasting project on his hands.
“We knew from day one last year it was a hit. It was received so well,” said Prown, owner of Prown’s Home Improvement on Monmouth Street. In fact, he’s already roughed out the next 10 to 15 years’ worth of calendars, he says.
But let’s focus on 2011.
This edition showcases Prown’s favorite place in Red Bank the West Side.
“It has more of an ethnic history, which is interesting,” said Prown. “West Side merchants are more of a staple. The West Side stores tend to have been more market, neighborhood oriented. I always liked that.”
So that’s what you see in the 2011 calendar.
In the photos, culled from the archives of Dorn’s Classic Images, you get a pictorial history of Red Bank’s West Side from the 1920s to the 1960s. Included are shots of the old Red Bank Airport (which is now the McDonald’s area in Shrewsbury), a war bond rally outside the Eisner Building (now The Galleria shopping and dining complex), a view of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth‘s motorcade traveling from the train station to Monmouth Street and a picture of Dr. James Parker Jr. giving a young boy an inoculation shot.
Unlike last year, when the calendars were given away, Prown is charging $10 for this year’s edition. The proceeds are going to the Parker Family Health Center on Shrewsbury Avenue, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. It was the logical choice for a non-profit to give the money to, Prown said.
“There’s so many places, but Parker and the West Side are so synonymous,” he said. “They’re seeing people that have absolutely no insurance, and it’s all for free. So I thought if anybody needed help, they’re it.”
Putting the calendars together is getting to be an exciting activity for Prown, who practically eats, sleeps and breathes Red Bank. This year he blew up some of the images and placed them in his storefront window. And almost daily he’s getting people walk in who know somebody in the pictures. Skip Smith, a crossing guard, spotted himself in one of the photos and went in to the store to write his name on the back of the picture. Nearly a whole baseball team has signed their names on that picture.
That is, in essence, what the calendar is all about remembering Red Bank’s history.
“It’s so cool. People, they’re remembered,” Prown said. “It’s just a small-town thing, and that’s what Prown’s is.”
Prown has gone through about 200 of the 700 calendars printed. If you want one, stop in at Prowns, at 135 Monmouth Street, or you can order one online for $15 here.