Remembering The Past: Elizabeth Memories

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The Knauer home on Elizabeth Avenue in 1907. Photo courtesy of Robert Baptista.

by Diane Norek Harrison

ELIZABETH-Memories from Robert Baptista: “Hi Diane, This is a remembrance of growing up in Elizabeth in the 1940s and 50s:

Elizabeth Avenue had several elegant homes along its length in the 19th century. One of the last to remain was the Victorian home at 930 Elizabeth Avenue and the corner of Reid Street. A drawing of the home from an 1898 map shows it was owned by insurance company executive Peter Egenolf.

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By 1907 Egenolf had added a wing to the east side of his home. Dr. George Knauer purchased the home after receiving a medical degree from New York University in 1909. The wing had a separate entrance and was used for his medical practice. The circular room in the front was the waiting room for patients. Dr. Knauer was a surgeon who practiced at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and Alexian Brothers, where he was chief of staff. In 1925 he purchased a piano for his home from the Altenburg Piano House on East Jersey Street.

This impressive home had a mansard style roof, wrap around front porch, beautiful landscaping, a greenhouse in the backyard along with a tile lined goldfish pond shaded by a beautiful weeping willow tree. I lived behind the home on South St. and remember when a lightning bolt felled the huge tree in the early 1950s.

Dr. Knauer retired and moved to Coolidge Road in Elmora. His Elizabeth Avenue home was demolished to make way for a municipal parking lot for shoppers in the mid-1950s. Dr. Knauer died in 1957 at age 71. He had two sons, George Jr. and Warren, who also became doctors, practicing locally in obstetrics and oncology respectively. They passed away in recent years.”

If you have your own memories of the past in Middlesex or Union counties, email me at dianenorekharrison@juno.com 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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