Remembering The Past: Old Perth Amboy Businesses

by Diane Norek Harrison

PERTH AMBOY-After my Jan. 28 column asking about the owners of the Puritan Dairy, I heard from Rose Tarloski Celecki: “The partners of Puritan Dairy were Harold Greenspan, Mr. Hollander and Phil Borak, who was a member of the Lyons Club with my father, Ed Tarloski.”

Other memories from Rose: “Some of the other pharmacies that were once in Perth Amboy, besides my father’s, Tarlowski’s Pharmacy were: Broadman’s Pharmacy and McClung’s Pharmacy both on State St. and Majestic, Arky’s and Westend on Smith Street.


“The Polaski Club was on Elm Street before The Portuguese Manor. Weddings and other affairs were held here. There was Eugene Blau Mens Store was on Smith Street, before Lee’s Luggage came. At one time they wanted to build a Bamberger’s on Smith and Elm streets. Instead, Bam’s went to the Menlo Park Mall in Edison. In the Parker House was a dance studio, with Mary Nolan who taught tap, ballet and toe dancing. There was a softball league, the Meade Street Aces. The Neal Lucey Center was named for a sailor from Perth Amboy, Neal Lucey, who went down with the ship ‘The Arizona’ in Hawaii.”

Thanks Rose!
This is from my own research:

B.P.O. Elks, No. 784
The history of Perth Amboy Lodge No. 784 began in the year 1902 when Perth Amboy was a quiet little city, with a population of 18,000. Its principal business section on Smith St. extended from Front St. to state St, and the section beyond the tracks known as “Dublin.”

In the month of may there suddenly appeared in store windows, on telephone poles, on barns and sheds, in fact, everywhere, glaring posters on which were printed in purple this mystic announcement, “B.P.O.E. ARE COMING.” The town was aroused and asked, “What is the B.P.O.E. anyway.

The local newspaper of those days, The Perth Amboy Republican and the Perth Amboy  Chronicle gave front page captions such as “THE ELKS ARE COMING” and “THE B.P.O.E. IS COMING.” The people now knew that an Elk’s Lodge was being formed. The lodge was instituted on June 10, 1902 with 39 charter members.

If you have your own memories or past information about Middlesex or Union counties, 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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