Remembering The Past: 1930s Woodbridge

by Diane Norek Harrison

WOODBRIDGE-Here are some wonderful memories from Martha Storey Webb: “Diane, I was born in Woodbridge and wrote these memories for my own pleasure and someone thought you might like a copy. This was a poor time for us but a close time. Not many of us left. Thank you for your interesting articles. Enjoy!”

“Let’s Travel Up And Down Main Street, Woodbridge, N.J., In The 1930s”
“I lived on the corner of Main and Fulton Streets over Cohen’s Hardware Store. We didn’t have electricity. We had gas lighting, pot belly stoves for heat and a battery operated radio. Cohen’s later moved up to where Stone Mountain Printing is today. Tier’s Hardware moved downstairs and much later moved to School Street.


“Next to us lived the Mawbey’s and their three daughters. Mr. Mawbey was a fireman at the School Street Firehouse. The railroad tracks were on ground level, the tracks were raised about 1940. On the other side of the tracks stood John J. Bitting Feed and Coal Co. now known as J.J. Bitting Brewing Co.

“There were two stores on each side of the State Theater, where Quick Chek is today. I think, the State Theater was owned by Mr. Szabo and Spec was the usher. The Sunday matinee cost ten cents. Tuesday was “dish night.” On Sunday you went for the afternoon show and stayed to see it again, unless your mom sent your brother for you. Then came Town Hall built in 1924.

“Across the street was Pop Milanos Gas and Pool Parlor and he also sold candy. Frank Kriesel was Pop’s grandson and he had a band that practiced upstairs. Next was a lovely brown house that the MacDonalds lived in at one time. There was a driveway to Klein’s Fed Co. on the side.

“Sermanyan’s Upholster Store came next and a pretty gray and white house where my friend Margie Hilt lived. Her father worked for Kleins. How great is that to get work! This side of the tracks was a small building that a tinsmith occupied. On the other side of the tracks was a gatekeeper’s shed. He controlled the gates for the train. Gil Sherman’s Barber Shop was next and on the corner of Pearl St. was Gurnsay’s Gas Station.

“On the opposite corner was a bank later to become Middlesex Water Co. and nowthe Chamber of Commerce. Charles Drake Pharmacy and their beautiful home stood where the Post Office is today. Phillip Vagelos owned the New York Candy Kitchen which later became Danny’s Candy Kitchen. This was located where the Air Force Recruiting Center and Physical Featues is located today.

“Over Cohen’s Hardwear, now Stone Mountain Printing was Mr. Lattanzio’s Photo Studio. He took pictures of Woodbridge High School graduates for the yearbooks. Main Tavern has been in the Almasi Family since the 1920s. Pete Vogel’s Liquor Store was a few doors up where Main Street Sports is today.

“On the corner of Main and School streets was Toborosky Fruit and Vegetable Store. Raymond Jackson & Son Pharmacy was on the opposite corner. At one time they had a soda fountain as well. This corner is now replaced by Goddess Boutique. Carpet Haven is located where The Fruit Exchange was.”

I will have more from Mrs. Webb in upcoming columns. It has now been 6 years since I have been writing my column. Thanks to all who contribute. I couldn’t have done this without you!

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 St., Suite 503, Elizabeth NJ, 07201.

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