Remembering The Past: Gone And Mostly Forgotten

By Diane Harrison

Here are more memories of the area from William Frolich: “During the one hundred and fifty years of existence, Union County has had many changes in the area within its borders. Some have been regrettable, while others have been quite an improvement to the lives of its inhabitants.

“There was a time when many of the streets within the county were paved with those granite stones known as ‘Belgian blocks’ and often called ‘cobblestones.’ This form of pavement was fine to resist the iron-shod hoofs of the many draft horses, but made a very bumpy ride for a motorist of the 1920s and 30s. Many of those blocks are still there, but buried under a thick layer of smooth asphalt, for which the blocks made a good base.


“Another improvement for the motorist was the removal of the no longer used steel rails of the trolley car system that once was a great form of public transportation. Laid in the middle of the street, those rails were a definite inconvenience to the motoring public, as they tended to interfere with the maneuvering ability of an automobile. Some rails are still there, buried like the paving blocks, but most of that steel was ripped up around 1942 and sent to the steel mills to be turned into guns and tanks to be used against our enemies during World War II.

“The trolley cars that ran on those rails began to disappear about 1935, and were replaced by buses. For a coupe of years some of the bused were dual-powered, containing both electric motors and internal combustion engines. As these vehicles ran on rubber tires, it was necessary to add a second overhead trolley wire to complete the circuit for the electricity. However, after only a short period of time, both the buses and the overhead wires disappeared, and were replaced with a single engine buses similar to those of today.”

Send in your own memories from around Union County.  I need new contributors with old memories to be able to continue my column.

If you have your own memories or past information for Union County 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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