Memories From Around Woodbridge

Remembering the Past by Diane Norek Harrisonby Diane Norek Harrison

WOODBRIDGE—Here are some memories from reader Lillian Sawyer: “Back in 1917-1918, there was an Orthopedic Hospital for Servicemen on New Dover Road. The injured men were brought to the facility from the Colonia Train Station. They were rehabilitated, and if they could not do all they had done before, they were taught a new craft and then returned home. After World War I, the hospital was torn down, In the same area, at the end of New Dover Road, was a nunnery. It was torn town and replaced by three homes.

“The old Colonia Library was at the corner of New Dover Road and Chain of Hills Road. The old Woodbridge Library was on Rahway Avenue, replaced by a restaurant. The old Iselin Library was on Middlesex Avenue.

“In Iselin, the business tract where Prudential is now used to be a horse farm with riding facilities. On Wood Avenue and Oak Tree Road there was a turkey farm and another farm with animals. Where the old train station was located, is Noll’s car repair shop. By Route 27, on the corner of Magnolia Road, there was an ice house.

“My husband and I bought our house, part of Woodbridge Oaks, in 1951. We moved here in September of that year. It had been Woodbridge Airport, bordered by Wood Avenue and the Parkway. It also extended from Oak Tree Road to New Dover. As we first saw the tract, there were two runways and a Quonset Hut for a hanger. There is a strip mall there now by the Parkway.

“Over the years, many stores have been in the area. There has been a bakery, Robinson’s Clothing Store that sold school uniforms, and a Shop Rite Supermarket. (It moved about half a mile up Oak Tree Road.) There was also Oak Tree Drugs and a barber shop.

“In town, on Oak Tree Road, from the Parkway, there were three homes, then Lanky’s Glass Shop, then the old post office and next was the Iselin Theater. Across Magnolia was a hardware store, a bakery, then another drug store and a gas station. Across the street is St. Cecelia’s, which is still there. On the other side of the street across from the church is the First Presbyterian Church of Iselin. Again, crossing Middlesex Avenue was Kleins Variety Store, then Dr. Cowan’s office, Jimmy’s Meat Market (Brothers) who started the Shop Rite Supermarket.

“There were also two gas stations by Magnoila Road: a Citco and an Amoco. The area is not recognizable now.”

My thanks to Mrs. Sawyer for the most interesting column of memories. If anyone has similar memories or past material for any section of Woodbridge or any section of the other towns, please send for 2009.

If you have your own memories or past information for Carteret, Edison, Metuchen, Perth Amboy, Sayreville, South Amboy or Woodbridge you can email me at or send copies of your material to me c/o CMD Media, 1139 East Jersey Street, Suite 503, Elizabeth NJ 07201

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