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.

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

Two readers identified the photo of the pond fountain shown in last week’s Where as one on Hope Road in Tinton Falls.

But 16 others correctly called it out as Pomphrey Pond in Rumson, on East River Road opposite borough hall.

Sarah Pomphrey, who lives in town, wrote in to share some history of the pond and the family for whom it’s named.

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RED BANK: GENERATIONS OF MEATY WISDOM

Fourth-generation butcher Ralph Citarella, right, and long-time employee Kyle Powell carry on more than 113 years of meat-cutting tradition. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Bites1_SmallJust as in the Middle Ages, when last names like Baker, Taylor and Miller connoted the trade or profession of the family breadwinner, if “Citarella” were an occupation, it would now mean “dude who knows meat.”

In the late 1800s, Andrew Ralph Citarella left Naples, Italy, to settle in Red Bank, and soon began selling meat off of his front porch.

“He learned to cut meat by just doing it,’ says Ralph Citarella, fourth-generation butcher and current owner of Citarella’s Market, on Prospect Avenue. “Then he sent my great-grandmother [Carmela] to the meat houses [in Long Branch]. She learned the proper way, and then she taught him.

“So she taught my great-grandfather, and he taught my grandfather, and my grandfather taught my father, who taught me. It’s like an apprenticeship. It’s just years of a cutting apprenticeship.”

From the front porch, the first Citarellas moved to a store on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank. Sometime later, the shop relocated to Sea Bright, where Ralph’s grandfather and father, Andy, ran the business. The 1962 flood brought another relocation, to the Little Silver Shopping Center, where Andy ran the store. But in 1979, “he had to get out of there, because at that time it was really run-down, and the rent was going up, so he moved the store” to its current location, said Ralph. “He ‘moved a mile north,’ as he used to put it.”

redbankgreen sat down with Ralph at a picnic table beside the store recently to talk about meat, sauce and what makes a 100- plus-year-old family business tick.

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

Regarding last week’s Where, which showed a tumbledown red barn, reader Fred Gill wrote:

Looks like the old Red Barn on Newman Springs Road, Red Bank almost to Broad Street. Backs to the railroad tracks and if it is that site then they use to have weekly auctions there in the early 1960’s.

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GHOST TOURS ADD DEATHLY CHILL TO STROLL


Tour guide Bill Normyle tells a group about the Dublin House’s infamous Mrs. Patterson, a ghost known for locking doors to make her presence known. (Photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge.)

By STACIE FANELLI

Red Bank sees businesses change hands often. Ghosts don’t like change.

At least that’s what Jersey Shore Ghost Tours guide Bill Normyle says when his group stops in front of the vacant storefront on Monmouth Street most recently home to Stokaboka.

It’s also a former borough hall, and Normyle suggests it is filled with the spirits of “a lot of disgruntled people who felt they had a lot of unfinished business — politicians and taxpayers alike.”

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BIG WEEKEND FOR FIRE BUFFS


Liberty Hose Company’s first motorized fire truck debuted in the 1910s. (Click to enlarge) 

By STACIE FANELLI

When the Navesink Hook & Ladder Company Number 1 formed in 1872, fire hydrants were a distant dream. Red Bankers were at the mercy of a “bucket brigade,” an alternating chain of residents who would pass buckets of water hand-to-hand from the nearest water source to the burning building.

Marking 140 years since those days, the Red Bank Public Library will pay tribute to the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department’s storied history Saturday by opening its memorabilia and photo exhibit to the public.

And on Sunday, the department will host its annual fire safety expo Sunday in the White Street parking lot

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IN FAIR HAVEN, A FANTASY WORLD ON RAILS


Railroad gardener Michael Humphreys could easily crush a dozen buildings if he were to lie across his “grown-ups’ playground.” (Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge.)

By STACIE FANELLI

In Michael Humphreys’ backyard are a covered wagon, a water tower, a livery stable, a totem pole, a sawmill and hundreds more relics of American history. Running through a miniature, imaginary town are his pride and joy: working locomotives built to scale.

Humphreys’ toy train collection, 20 years in the making, came to fruition eight years ago when he moved his family to Fair Haven, fenced in his yard, leveled the ground and built a railroad garden running half the length of his 60 x 35 foot yard.

“Basically, I’m a designer,” he said. “I’m making a theatrical effect.”

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WOMAN’S CLUB GETS A SPRUCING-UP

The club recently installed an information display at the Broad Street entrance to the onetime Anthony Reckless homestead, and the rear and sides of the structure are being painted to match the front, below.  (Click to enlarge)

Passersby scurrying to the post office, bank and dry cleaner may have noticed a flurry of fixing-up at the Woman’s Club of Red Bank lately.

The club’s Broad Street home, in the 1870 mansion built by Anthony Reckless and listed on both the national and New Jersey registries of historic places, is getting a new coat of paint on its sides and rear to go with a facade painting of several years ago.

There’s also a new metal plaque in the front yard offering a history of the property, which the club acquired in 1921.

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BOATERS MARK RIVER TOWN’S CENTENNIAL

Fair Havenites took took to the beautiful Navesink River for a day of celebratory boat races in honor of the town’s nautical heritage as part of its ongoing centennial Saturday.

Photographer Peter Lindner was out on the water for redbankgreen.

FAIR HAVEN LAUNCHES LOOKBACK IN STYLE

Kicking off its centennial year, the Borough of Fair Haven hosted a fundraising gala at the Raven and the Peach restaurant that attracted 300 revelers Saturday night.

The $20,000 raised will help cover the cost of a daylong celebration on Saturday, June 16 that will feature a parade, a community picnic and a fireworks show at Fair Haven Fields. (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

WOMAN’S CLUB GETS SECRET SETTLEMENT

That little bit of decorative cornice that overhangs the Woman’s Club fire lane cost the Bank of America. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

What’s a couple of inches of historic airspace in downtown Red Bank worth?

Officials of the Woman’s Club of Red Bank aren’t saying, following an inadvertent encroachment on their historic Broad Street home by the new next-door neighbor, the Bank of America.

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PARKER HOUSE WINS REGISTER ENTRY

parker-homestead-2007The Parker homestead, seen here in 2007, dates back to (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Parker House, Little Silver’s oldest surviving homestead, has won addition to the state Register of Historic Places, Mayor Bob Neff tells redbankgreen.

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HISTORIC MIDDLETOWN HOUSE UP FOR SALE

nathaniel-smith-houseBuilt in Massachusetts in the early 1700s and relocated to Middletown in 1962, the former Nathaniel Smith House features exposed-rafter ceilings, as in the library, below. (Click to enlarge)

library

It took historic preservationist Mary Lou Strong more than a week to get back to redbankgreen after we called recently to inquire about her Middletown home going on the market.

She apologized for the delay, and said she simply wanted to be sure she could talk about it without crying.

It’s not just that the house – located on a tongue-tip of land bound by Navesink River Road and the anchorage to the Oceanic Bridge – is where Strong and her husband, George, raised three kids. Or that it’s filled with cherished antiques collected over a lifetime.

It’s that the house, built in Massachusetts before the United States was born, is itself the manifestation of the couple’s shared values when it comes to keeping history alive. And who knows if the next owner will want to bulldoze it into oblivion?

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BROAD STREET CLOCK RESTARTED

reussielles-clockThe Reussille’s clock was back to telling the correct time late Friday afternoon. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank’s landmark downtown clock is back to telling time, even if its owner has moved on.

The distinctive Reussille’s clock was shut off three weeks ago, when Ballew Jewelers, the successor to Reussille’s, ended a 126-year run in town.

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A COMMENT ON LOOKING BACK IN TIME

COMMENT8

Our Comment of the Week this week is nice and simple: it’s just one resident communicating to another — and the rest of us, of course — while recalling a special moment.

And it’s all in the context of a story about a calendar created to preserve a bit of Red Bank history while raising a few bucks for a local charity.

That’s community, right?

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DRAWING A PLAN FOR A WATERFRONT FUTURE

fh-williams-house-061610Unclaimed boats and kayaks will be removed next month from the beach at the former Charles Williams estate, Fair Haven officials say. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

By this time next year, Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre anticipates that the borough’s prized beachfront property at 78 DeNormandie Ave. will be open for public use.

First, though, a few things need to happen — including the demolition of the house that’s been on the property for 150 years, for one.

A formal naming, too, although the working title is “Robards Park,” in honor of the last resident of the house, Winifred Julia Decatur Robards.

Town officials also hope to answer the abiding question of what exactly to do with the property.

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COAL & FEED BUILDING DEMOLISHED

26_shrewsburyThe former Hance Coal & Feed building on Shrewsbury Avenue, seen above in 2008, was razed earlier this week, below. (Click to enlarge)

galleria-coal

A landmark barnlike structure on Red Bank’s West Side is no more.

The former Hance Coal & Feed building on Shrewsbury Avenue was taken down earlier this week by Sourlis International, owner of the Galleria at Red Bank, which plans to expand a surrounding parking lot on the site.

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RESTROOM? FOUR-YEAR WAIT, IF EVER

rb-station-1-051410A NJ Transit rendering shows the station in what officials say were its original colors. (Click to enlarge)

Where’s the restroom?

Lou and Chris Mustillo, owners of the Red Bank’s Walt Street Pub, say they get that question upwards of two dozen times a day from commuters hurrying into their establishment across Monmouth Street from the Red Bank train station, which doesn’t have a public washroom.

So last Friday night, when New Jersey Transit unveiled a station restoration plan that may take four years and consume up to $2 million in taxpayer money, the Mustillos pressed officials with the same question they and their bartenders hear all too often: where’s the bathroom?

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BACK IN TIME, ON WATER HARD & SOFT

To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To get back to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.

The reception room of the Atrium at Navesink Harbor was packed with river rats and history mavens old and young Thursday night for short program on the history of our beautiful Navesink as a playground for recreational boaters and iceboaters.

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CALENDAR TAPS RED BANK PHOTO ARCHIVE

dorns-downtown-1951“Wiggie’s Kiddie Center?” A view north on Broad Street in 1951, from the Dorn’s Classic Images archive, is included in the calendar. (Click to enlarge and see Wiggie’s at left)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Two of Red Bank’s most venerable names in commerce have gotten together for a little nostalgia trip into the borough’s past.

It’s a 12-month journey captured in photographs that show Red Bank’s buildings and streetscapes from 1940 to 1979, put into calendar form by David Prown of Prown’s Home Improvement and the husband-wife duo of George Severini and Kathy Dorn Severini oF Dorn’s Classic Images.

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HISTORIANS BLAST NJT FOR STATION NEGLECT

rb-hist-commHistoric Preservation Commission member Mary Gilligan addresses the council Monday night, joined by members George Bowden, left, and Ed Poplawski.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

For 15 years, Mary Gilligan says, she’s “watched pieces fall off” Red Bank’s train station on the North Jersey Coast Line rails. And for most of that time, except for some slapdash and historically inapt repairs, station owner New Jersey Transit has ignored the pleas of town officials to halt the decay.

Now, Gilligan and other members of the Historic Preservation Commission are hoping to “hold NJ Transit’s feet to the fire” and force it to halt the deterioration before the salmon-colored, gingerbread-trimmed structure crumbles to the asphalt.

“The building is derelict,” Gilligan told the borough council in a bluntly worded appeal for action Monday night. “There’s not another train station in this state that looks this bad.”

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PRESERVATION GROUP GETS SPOTLIGHT

hpc-washington1Historic Preservation Commission members Ed Zipprich, Michaela Ferrigine and George Bowden outside a old house on Washington Street. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It took a couple of years of legwork and hustle, but the efforts of the Red Bank Historic Preservation Commission paid off in June when the Borough Council passed an ordinance designating the Washington Street District as the borough’s first residential historic zone.

What they’ll receive on behalf of the borough tonight is like, well, the slate roof on a gingerbread Victorian.

Commission chairman George Bowden, Councilman Ed Zipprich and others are scheduled to appear at the Monmouth County Planning Board‘s annual awards ceremony at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel tonight.

They’ll be there to collect a Planning Merit Award, an honor given to towns that the board feels have made significant and positive impacts to their respective communities, said Laura Kirby, assistant planner for the county.

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RED BANK RED BRICK

2-broad-081809The plastic sheathing that had covered a scaffold on the east side of 2 Broad Street in Red Bank for months came down this week, exposing the structure’s original red brick for the first time in decades. The building, built around 1875, is to house an Urban Outfitters store slated to open later this year.

Our photo was taken from the semi-enclosed balcony at 7 Broad. (Click to enlarge)