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RED BANK: REVISITING THE GOOD OLD DAYS

Elizabeth McDermott, Mary Faith Chmiel, Dan Dorn, Jr., and Harry Greenwood discuss life in Red Bank throughout the 20th century. Below, a circa 1935 meeting of the Red Bank Lions Club, with IDs by Greenwood. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

Harry Greenwood moved to Red Bank in 1925, at the age of 5. He lived on Globe Court, where there’s now a parking garage. He and his friends used to play ball in open fields on Spring Street, and picked apples to bring home from a now-vanished orchard on Tower Hill.

Daniel Dorn, Jr., whose father started Dorn’s Photo – the unofficial photo historian of Red Bank – grew up in Shrewsbury. He and a young neighbor built a major-league-sized ballfield on Meadow Drive over the course of a summer.

Both had newspaper routes, going to door to door – no throwing papers! – delivering the now-defunct Red Bank Register. It was still the era when local farmers brought produce from farms west and north of town, horse-and-buggy races were held on Pinckney Road, ice was sold in blocks at West Front Street and Bridge Avenue, and the Strand Theater offered summer serials where a Merrill Lynch office now stands, at Broad Street and Linden Place.

Dan Dorn, Jr., and Harry Greenwood reminisce. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

These memories were revived last week when Greenwood, 92, and Dorn, 75, sat down in a local recording studio with Red Bank local-history librarian Elizabeth McDermott and former library director Mary Faith Chmiel to talk about growing up in the 1930s and the ’50s, respectively; the arcs of their careers; and how much things have changed.

As a teenager, Greenwood worked for a laundry company that serviced the bed-and-breakfasts located in Atlantic Highlands and Highlands. In his time, Red Bank High School enrolled students from as far away as Holmdel; kids also came from Forts Monmouth and Hancock. “It was more regional then than now,” he joked.

When Greenwood graduated high school in 1938, he took classes at Monmouth Junior College held at Long Branch High School. A teacher at RBHS had piqued his interest in bookkeeping, and he went to work at Merchants’ Trust – the bank that after a series of mergers became today’s PNC – where he worked until retiring in 1983.

“Computers were coming in, and the kids knew more than I did,” he said.

Dorn said the Register’s owner helped his dad buy his first professional camera, and in turn Dorn Sr. provided photos for the paper at a discount.

Dorn also saw the evolution of an industry, joining his father in the photo business after serving in the Marine Corps. Dorn’s Photo closed in 2005, the rise of digital photography curtailing the demand for independent retail photo services.

“We had a good long run,” he said.

His younger sister, Kathy Dorn Severini, is continuing the family business, restoring and cataloging the thousands of photos in the Dorn’s archive plus photos that Dorn Sr. had acquired.

McDermott curates the local history room at the Red Bank Public Library, which serves as an all-around repository for local artifacts in lieu of a historical society. The recording of this interview will be archived at the library.

“Hopefully, this is the first in a series,” she said. “We have so many elders to hear from. It would be wonderful if there were a space in town to continue this exploration.” The studio time and labor for last week’s interview were donated by Retromedia Sound Studios.

A local history presentation at the library is planned for June 26 at 7 p.m. Volunteer videographers are needed.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank business owner happier than to hear "I saw your ad on Red Bank Green!"
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