Remembering the Past: Woodbridge Businesses

by Diane Norek Harrison

WOODBRIDGE-I received an email from reader Todd Howell with feedback from my May 2 column on businesses around Woodbridge in 1953:

“Dear Diane, In Hopelawn, Curtis Woodwork is listed at the same address, 75 New Brunswick Ave., as Robbins-Rankin Lumber Co That’s because R-R was the dealer for Curtis. They made some of the best windows of the day and Mr. Herbert Rankin donated all the windows (Curtis) to the construction of the Fellowship Hall at The White Church in Woodbridge where he was a member in 1956. They are long gone now having suffered a disastrous fire and then a changing business climate. My family was in the lumber business (Woodbridge Lumber Co.) and Mr. Rankin and my Dad, Harry Howell, were friends.

In Sewaren, the Shell Oil Co. is still present but is now called Motiva and is one of the largest ethanol distribution centers on the east coast handling 200 rail cars a day of ethanol shipped from the midwest.

In Woodbridge, Windsor Lakis is long gone but I remember him as the official staff photographer for many years for the Independent-Leader, a weekly paper printed by Woodbridge Publishing on Green Street and owned by Lawrence Campion. The paper and the publishing company are no longer in business.

Stern and Dragoset Co. is still in business although they are now located at 109 Green St.”

My thanks to Mr. Howell for the additional information for my column! Reader feedback is always welcome. Have memories or past material and want to share? Send me past businesses/bars, school, summer, winter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. If you are into nostalgia of the area this is the place to “remember when.”

If you have your own memories or past material for Carteret, Edison, Metuchen, Perth Amboy, Sayreville, South Amboy or Woodbridge you can email me at or send “copies” of your material to me at CMD Media P.O. Box 1061 Rahway, NJ 07065.

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