Celebrate Rahway’s 150th Anniversary In My Column

By Diane Norek Harrison

RAHWAY-This year Rahway is celebrating 150 years. I am hoping to hear from those who have memories or past material from the last 150 years. Why not share them in my column!

The following is some of my research from the year 1882: On the north branch of the Rahway River, near St. George’s Ave. Bridge, stands the ruins of a large brick building, formerly used as a manufactory. It was known as the Taurino Factory, in 1814. On account of the embargo on British importations during the war, it was undertaken as a good investment in the direction of home manufacture, and was so until the close of the war, when the business proved unprofitable and was abandoned. It was afterwards employed as a woolen-mill, a silk printing establishment, and for many other purposes, employing many hands and being a great benefit to the town. It was destroyed by fire some fifteen years ago (from 1882.)

He built the residence known as “Shotwell’s Folly,” on the corner of Lafayette and Montgomery Sts. He was known as “Governor.”

Among the later operators were Daniel Stansbury of New York, John Y. Van Tuyl, Samuel, Edward and William Dudley (brothers), Stone & Brown then Thomas Hale, who converted it into a silk-factory. Then Daniel WIlcox took it and started carpet-weaving. It was repaired from the efforts of the fire which had destroyed the upper story, it was occupied as a carriage factory by Denman & Freeman. It was finally blown up by the bursting of a boiler about 1870, and the ruin of it only remains.

The manufacture of carriages became an important industrial interest in Rahway quite early. It appears from Mr. Luffbery’s letter describing the place in 1824 that the business was then considerable, and that trimmings for fine carriages were also manufactured here at the same time. The great market for these products was the South, and so largely was the capital of the city employed in this industry that when the civil war broke out in 1861 and suddenly cut off this market, making it impossible longer to sell or to collect outstanding accounts in the Southern States, it had nearly ruined the place. Only the most substantial and energetic manufacturers succeeded in passing through the trying ordeal and getting their business again on a prosperous footing.

Church of the Holy Comforter-This Episcopal parish was organized in the year 1873. A few members residing in the upper part of Rahway, desiring to have services regularly, built a neat edifice, naming it the Church of the Holy Comforter, on the corner of St. George George’s Avenue and Seminary Street The parish is large, including Clark Township, and the prospect in a few years of a large congregation. Communicants, thirty; sittings, two hundred and fifty. Their first pastor was Rev. Mr. Broadwell.

Have memories of Woolworth’s, Grant’s or McCrory’s from the lunch counter or other tidbits? Remember the Rahway Grill or Haines Dairy? Who used to deliver your milk or other goods to your home?

Send me your memories or past information from school, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers, stores that gave out S & H Green Stamps or other incentives, past bar names and locations, plays, houses of worship, past happenings in the town, carnivals, festivals, parades, sports, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, winter or summer, etc. Did you have a paper route? Where did organizations have picnics or clambakes in the past? If you’re into nostalgia of the area this is the place to “remember when.”

If you have your own memories or past material for Clark, Elizabeth, Linden or Rahway you can email me at dianenorekharrison@juno.com or send “copies” of your material to me at CMD Media, P.O. Box 1061 Rahway, New Jersey 07065

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