Last week’s image showed the architectural top of the Doremus building, now home of Agostino Antiques, at 21 Broad Street in Red Bank, a structure with a rather hazy history, it seems.

Charlie Doremus, a longtime Red Banker who moved to Aiken, South Carolina six years ago, tells Where Have I Seen This that his grandfather’s brother, Newton Doremus, built it, sometime in the late 1800s.

“Supposedly, it was the first fireproof building built in Red Bank,” said Doremus, whose brother, Tom, owner of Dean’s Florist on Monmouth Street, is among the five generations of Doremus family volunteer firefighters in town.

The structure went up after a blaze that consumed most or all of that side of Broad Street between Front and Mechanic streets, the brothers said.

Local historian Randall Gabrielan tells redbankgreen the structure was built in 1931, though he hasn’t included the building in any of his handful of photo history books about Red Bank. The Doremuses owned so many properties that tracing the threads is daunting, he says.

Jack Anderson, the owner of Jack’s Music Shoppe, also says it was erected in the 1890s. He says it was occupied for decades by a retailer called Stork’s, which was a music store by the time his father bought it in 1948 and turned it into Anderson’s Music, a predecessor to the present Jack’s.

When and by whom the gleaming white facade with the tiling on top was added is unclear.

Red Bank architect Mike Simpson, who did work on the building when it was home to a store called Afridesia says it may have been home to a car dealership in the 1920s, and appears to have been “designed for cars” with it’s broad windows. And several others who wrote in either thought the same or confused the building with 90 Monmouth Street, now the home of borough hall, but long the location of Doremus Ford.

But Charlie and Tom Doremus, as well as Jack Anderson, said they are unaware of the building have housed a car dealer.

Anyone who might clarify or add to any of this is invited to do so via the email link below.

Thanks to Helen Pike, Larry Quigley, the Colmorgen Kids, Jacqueline Francisco Sapienza, Richard Doremus, Alan Fisher, John Rodenburg, Ellen Clayton, Mike Simpson, Trish DePonti and Taylor Doremus for writing in.

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