NEW JERSEY TERCENTEXAHY
166 I - 196 I
R£E PUBLIC L!fcR>,nv
800 ;^-.\HVvAy AVF
V^QOD5^:DGc, N. J. 07095
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
Lyrasis Members and Sloan Foundation
Yesterday and Today
In Recognition of the New Jersey Tercentenary
A compilation of articles relating the development and growth of the educa-
tional and religious institutions, as well as those civic, cultural and economic
agencies which make the community of Fords what it is today.
Thirty-seven young children of the Woodbridge Township elementary school
Fords #7, with a brief history of the area from
1664 to 1964
Dorothy F. D. Ludewig
Principal of the School
^UQQl I f2QQ^
Although the Tercentenary Edition of "Fords, Yesterday and
Today" is the story of three hundred years experiences of people
with a purpose who made progress in Fords from 1664 to 1964,
the above picture of New Jersey, reproducing the map made by
A. Vanderdonck in 1656 when the territory was still known
as New Netherlands and the chief settlement called "Nieuw
Amsterdam", occupied by the early Dutch, is very interesUng to
study. This map shows exactly where in the state the various Indian
tribes lived. Today there is little left that could identify these Indians
in any way except those places that have kept the old Indian names.
The closest to Fords is "Rariton" which is the name derived from
the old "Wawitan" tribe after it passed through various stages of
the hardy speech of the Dutch.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Where is Fords? Cover Design 4
Acknowledgments ^ 1
A Brief History of Fords from 1664-1964 by Dorothy F. D. Ludewig 15
The New Jersey Turnpike — Gary Turk 29
The Garden State Parkway — Mark Mika 30
Seeing Yesterday's Fords, Today — Eric Turk 32
History of Schools and Churches: 39
Fords School #7 — Philip Mingin 40
Private Schools — Janice Dueker 53
Our Lady of Peace Church and Our Lady of
Peace School — Andrea Egan 54
Fords Presbyterian Church — Vanessa Bober 56
Our Redeemer Lutheran Church — Sharon Harkay 57
St. John's Episcopal Church — Douglas Peterson 58
Wesley Methodist Church — Jill Bizaro 59
Ramot Chapter — B'nai Brith, Fords — Leslie Franzblau 60
Grace Lutheran Church — Barry Shott 61
St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church — Susan Chilinski 62
Fords #14, #25 and Jr. High — Karen Wantuch 63
History of Fords Municipal, Civic and Cultural Agencies:
The Fords Fire Department — Gary Nahai 64
Fords Police Department — Andrea Egan 67
St. John's First Aid Squad — Ronald Smoyak 69
First Bank and Trust Co. — Michele Petrovay 71
Fords Post Office — Beverly Lukacs 73
Fords Government — Judy Rader 74
Board of Education Members from Fords — Mary Irish 75
The Woman's Club of Fords and
Fords Public Library — Danny Harkay 76
A Brief History of the P.T.A. in Fords— Marcie Bonalsky 83
Catholic Charities — George Chingery 85
The Fords Lion's Club — Carol Marczak 86
Fords Post #163 — The American Legion — Robin Gaddis 89
Fords Memorial Post #6090 V.F.W. — Patty Urr 91
Fords Streets and Roadways — Carolyn Terefenko 93
Business and Professional Growth of Fords — James Pirigyi 95
Fords Industries— Elaine Both 98
Circulation of Fords News — Colette Kozak 100
Parks, Playgrounds and Recreation — Debbie Pajak 101
Boy Scouts of America — Stewart Jago 102
Girl Scouts of America — Susan Bizaro 102
Fords Little League Baseball — Matthew Jago 103
Land Marks, Then and Now — Kevin Lane 104
Local Union #270 — Charles Williams 105
Epilogue — Mrs. Dorothy F. D. Ludewig 107
The cover design is the result of the joint efforts of Gary Turk (left) and Mark Mika (right),
fourth grade students who contributed the articles on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden
WHERE IS FORDS?
In 1963 when the children of Fords School #7 wrote and inquired of many
authorities for some information about Fords, the best and most up to date
answer was that contained in the "Columbia — Lippincott Gazetter of the World"
edited by L. E. Seltzer and published in 1961 by Columbia University Press,
reported by Encyclopedia Britannica Library Research Service as follows:
"Fords, industrial village in Woodbridge Township, Middlesex County, N. E.
New Jersey near Raritan River, three miles N. W. of Perth Amboy; noted for
chemicals, plastics, bricks, metal products and clothing."
Since "Fords, Yesterday and Today" has come off the press anyone asking
"Where is Fords?" will have no trouble giving a ready answer. Fords is the
only place in the State of New Jersey where the two miracle highways. The
New Jersey Turnpike and The Garden State Parkway come together.
Besides being able to locate the town definitely and accurately, in language
which is meaningful to anyone who drives or rides in a motor car, it adds to
the description offered in the "Columbia — Lippincott Gazetter of the World"
by telling the story of the beginnings, development and growth of that criteria
which makes Fords the booming, bursting, broadening community that it is.
Sxjvxe of New Jersey
Office oi-- the Governor
Tr e nxon
Richard J. Hughes
Dear Miss Ludewig:
Nothinf; gives me quite so much pleasure
as the daily reminders that the Tercentenary
is being used in many wise ways by intelligent
school people such as yourself. Compilation
of a community history by students and their
teachers, parents and friends is the most val-
uable kind of learning experience, and I con-
gratulate you and all who have contributed to
"Ford, Yesterday and Today" for your wisdom
in leading your young people along such an im-
I am enclosing the message you requested
for the Tercentenary edition of the book.
As for placing the book in the education-
al display of the New Jersey Tercentenary Pa-
vilion at the New York World's Pair, I am re-
ferring this to Mr. David S. Davies, Executive
Director of the Commission, and he will be in
touch with you shortly with respect to this
Again, my congratulations to you and all
Miss Dorothy D. Ludewig, Principal
Woodbridge Township Public Schools
King George Road
Fords, New Jersey
March 23, 19614.
1664 • 1964
Sx-A-iE OF New Jersey
OrncE OF THE Governor
Richard J. Hughes
Dear Students :
I am told by your good principal, Miss Doro-
thy D. Ludewig, that this history of Fords is the
first ever written about your community, and that
you, your parents, your relatives, your friends
and your teachers have worked long and hard to cre-
ate this record of your community.
I congratulate you on your enterprise. You
have participated in that process whereby each of
us may learn something of where he stands in the
flow of h\iman history and how each of us may best
contribute to the continued growth of man. In
writing this history you have taken an important
step in insuring that your role will be a vital
one, and that your community, your county, your
state, your nation, and your world will be a better
place because you have passed by.
I congratulate you on the completion of "Ford's,
Yesterday and Today". This book is a significant
contribution to New Jersey's Tercentenary celebra-
tion and will continue to pay dividends long after
the Tercentenary year ends.
/GOVERNOR / -, /
Grade Students of
Fords School #7
Kinp; George Road
Pords, New Jersey
March 23, I96I4.
NEW JERSEY /\:^ri^^ TERCENTENARY
1664 • 1964
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Middlesex County Record Building
new brunswick. n. j.
Robert R- Blunt
March 1?, 1964
Mrs. Dorothy F. D. Ludewig
School No. 7
Fords, New Jersey
Dear Mrs. Ludewig:
I want to commend the pupils of School No. 7 at
Fords for their diligent search into the past for a
knowledge of their community. The Tercentenary Edition
of "Fords, Yesterday and Today" should engender pride
in the rich background of that area of venerable
Although the book itself is a fine piece of work,
it is only the end result of a rich learning experience
which really is more significant than anything else.
The experience will never be forgotten by the young
researchers, I am sure.
Congratulations to your pupils and their teachers.
RRB/enb Robert R. Blunt
t^iUf STATE OF NEW JERSEY TERCENTENARY COMMISSION
l^oMaJJ 1664—1964/ FoiThrce Coitnries People Purpose Progress
STATE HOUSE. TRENTON EXPORT 2-3131 EXTENSION 3DO
Richard J. Hughes
^prii 17, I96I4.
Miss -^orothy P.D. Ludewig
Fords, New Jersey
Dear Miss •'-'udewig:
When all of the Tercentenary songs have
been sung, and all of the Tercentenary stamps stuck,
and the Tercentenary flags turned into dust rags,
local histories written by children will pay divi-
dends to our commonwealth as nothing else we do in
this Tercentenary year, I congratulate you and
the students of Fords School #7 for writing and
publishing "Fords Yesterday and Today". Old timers
and newcomers will read your book and be better
citizens because of it. This is the essence of what
is being attempted with the Tercentenary,
I am certain your students can appreciate
- and will appreciate even more after they have
visited it - that the New Jersey Tercentenary Pavilion
at the World's Fair is a planned exhibit with no un-
used nooks and crannies in which we might include
Just one more exhibit. However, if it is possible,
we certainly want to display a copy of "Fords Yes-
terday and Today" at the Pavilion a s a perfect exam-
ple of what is being accomplished by young people
and their teachers during the Tercentenary year.
Paul L. Troist. Chairman, Clilton: i Charles E. Farringion, Assemblyman and Vice-Chairman, Primelon; A Kenneih Chorley. Hopewell Town-
ihtp: A Mrs. A. R. Green. Elunboro Tounihip: A Frederick H. Groel. Shorl Hills: A Henry S. Haine.!. Senaior. Burlington; i Marion West
Higgins. Assemblywoman. Hillidale: A Dr. Clifford L. Lord. RiJseuood: A John T. Soja. Elizabefh; A Richard R. Stout, Senator. AllenhursI: A
William A. Wachenteld. Orange: a David S. Davies, Executive Director; a Roger H, McDonough, Secretary,
mice of tl|£ ^ayor
March 23, 1964
TO THE STUDENTS OF SCHOOL #7
The Woodbridge Council and I want to con-
gratulate and commend you for your efforts in
the publishing of Fords - Yesterday and Today .
We realize the tremendous amount of re-
search that has gone into this project and
through your diligent efforts, the history of
Fords is now available.
It is through activities such as this
that you--the future leaders of tomorrow--have
been able to learn about our community and how
government functions. This is necessary and
vital if you are to be equipped to be good citi-
zens in a steadily and increasingly complex
society with which you will be faced.
You have made an excellent start and we
are all confident that you will go on to make
your parents and your community proud of you.
President of Council
irst Bank ^g)
n TRUST COM PAN Yn A.
DOLORES M. REGAL
Perth Amboy, New Jersey
March 18, 19^'^
Dear Mrs* Ludewlg:
On behalf of Mr. Roosevelt, 1 am happy
to enclose herewith our check with the hope that
we may be of some help to you in your magnificent
under taking .
First Bank and Trust Company is keenly
aware of the effective and inspired work of those
who are involved in preparing the history of Fords
for publication. It is refreshing, indeed, to be
witness to the dedication of the youth of your com.
munity for their assistance in a project of this
Ve have some notion of the effort and
energy required by all concerned, and it is our
opinion that you are performing a most significant
With every best wish for the continued
success of this endeavor, I am
Dolores M. Regal
It was not easy to gather the huge volume of material which was sorted,
sifted and studied to provide the stories which have gone into the contents of
"Fords, Yesterday and Today." Therefore much gratitude is due many interested
and cooperative citizens who were so gracious as to visit our school, talk at our
assemblies and grant private individual interviews with participating children in
To mention a few of these citizens whose contributions stand out especially
one calls the names of Mr. Ernest Moffett, Ex-police chief John Egan, Mr. Joseph
Dambach, Mrs. E. J. Fouroat, Miss Georgiana Cronce, Mr. Howard Sharp,
Mrs. B. Sunshine, Mr. H. A. Slover, Mrs. Allyn Petersen, Mrs. Williard Dunham,
Mrs. Ella Klein, Mrs. Helen Andersen, Mrs. Ruth Kahree, Mr. Joseph Nemyo,
Mr. Howard Smith, Mrs. Anna Rosenbloom, Mr. and Mrs. Ray Solowinski,
Mrs. Edna Harkay, Mr. Stephen Mazar, Mr. Howard Fullerton, all the pastors
of the various churches and countless others too numerous to mention.
Many thanks also are given to the photographers, Mr. Michael Muha and
Mr. Ralph Mika who visited libraries, private homes and scouted all over the
community taking pictures as well as spending much time, cleaning and sharp-
ening old photographs which were used.
Certainly not to be forgotten are the cooperative efforts of the workers in the
eager parent group whose civic pride in their community and deep joy in the
accomplishments of Fords School #7 have resulted in raising the funds, in a
very few weeks, which have made it possible to publish the Tercentenary Edition
of "Fords, Yesterday and Today."
"By their fruits ye shall know them."
/ . lit . ,
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FORDS SCHOOL #7 JUNIOR HISTORIANS
From left to right, front row seated: Mark Mika, Debbie Pajak, Karen Wantuck, Philip Mingin,
Marcie Bonalsky, Colette Kozak, Gary Turk. Second row: Mary Irish, Janice Dueker, Barry Shott,
Susan Chilinski, Jill Bizaro, Vanessa Bober, Douglas Petersen, Leslie Franzblau, Sharon Harkay. Third row:
Kevin Lane, Stewart Jago, Andrea Egan, Judy Rader, Michele Petrovay, Beverly Lukacs, Elaine Both, Carolyn
Terefenko, Matthew Jago, Ronald Smoyak. Back row: Mrs. Ludewig, James Pirigyi, Robin Gaddis,
Carol Marczak, Patty LIrr, Susan Bizaro, Danny Harkay and Chrales Williams.
Fords School #7 Junior Historians with their principal, Mrs. Dorothy F.D. Ludewig. These elementary school
children contributed the articles which have resulted in the publication of the first history of their community.
The Tercentenary Edition of "Fords, Yesterday and Today".
Absent when the picture was taken were Gary Nahai, George Chingery, Charles WilHams and Eric Turk.
To the people of Fords,
whose roots are buried
deep in the history
of the past,
whose daily lives
are devoted to growth and progress
in the present
whose dreams are entwined
toward positive goals
for the future,
Governor Richard J. Hughes proclaimed the Tercentenary Year (New Jersey's
Three hundredth birthday) in a proclamation made at the State House
in Trenton New Year's Eve.
At that time Governor Hughes said "Our Tercentenary will be a time of joy
and a time of thought, a time of action and a time to contemplate, a time of
parades and home comings, of new books and junior historians, of special
events and family fun, of youngsters being exposed to the wonders of being
a part of a community, and of old people remembering."
The Tercentenary year finds activity in Fords School #7 geared to the pro-
gram outlined by the Governor. Some of our children have become junior his-
torians and with the help of their parents, grandparents, friends, teachers, their
school principal and senior citizens of their community, have created this book,
the first history of Fords to be written and published. In doing so they have
become a vital part of their community and have challenged older residents
to sharpen their memories.
Without the cooperation of these older citizens, who have searched their attics
and found stories and pictures of the past, it would have been impossible to have
compiled the volume of information which has been gathered to make "Fords
Yesterday and Today". Children have had interviews with important people who
have lived in the community for many years, some of them all their lives. As
these folks recalled their experiences the children took notes. These notes have
been the nucleus around which many of the stories have been written.
All of the boys and girls participating in this project have done so voluntarily.
It must be understood that there is a limit to that which the child in the elemen-
tary school is able to achieve. Since young children have made these contribu-
tions, it is obvious that some of them did not write their reports by themselves.
Therefore much gratitude and praise is due those civic minded citizens who
gave them assistance. The children are to be commended for their zest and
ambition, their pride in their community, and their perseverance to see the job
There is no guarantee that every statement made is absolutely true. However,
great pains were taken in proof reading the children's articles to make sure they
were as accurate as they were able to find information to make them be. If there
are discrepancies of any kind it is hoped that they are of such a trivial nature
that they will not detract from the sincerity or the purpose of the book.
EARLY DISCOVERY AND IDENTIFICATION
Where we walk to school each day
Indian children used to play —
All about our native land,
Where the shops and houses stand
And the trees were very tall,
And there were no streets at all,
Not a church and not a steeple —
Only woods and Indian people.
Only wigwams on the ground.
And at night bears prowling 'round
What a different place today
Where we live and work and play!'
As the elementary school child in Fords School #7 is introduced to the history
of his environment this is the picture he sees in his imagination of his community
long, long ago. Naturally the questions arise, "How did it happen? What be-
came of the Indians who lived here and who were the first white people to settle
This is a long, long story, and in order to find the answers it was necessary
to do a great deal of research.
We are not sure who was the first European to discover the New Jersey coast.
Some sources of history believe it could have been an Englishman named John
Cabot. Nevertheless, we do know that another Englishman, a fearless sea captain
named Henry Hudson sailed his ship the "Half Moon" into Raritan Bay and
New York Bay and claimed all the land that he and his men explored for the
Dutch in the year 1609. The Dutch named the land New Netherlands and that
included that part of New Jersey which is now Fords.
At that time the land was inhabited by the Indians and known as
the Scheyichbi. The tribes living in New Jersey were identified as members of the
Algonquin family known as the Lenni Lenape. Authorities tell us that the Indians
of North Central Jersey were called Munsees, a Sanhican branch of the Unami
Lenapes. Today there are none of these Indians but they are remembered chiefly
by the Indian place names throughout our State. That which was closest to
Fords was "Wawitan" which in Indian language meant "Forked River". Through
constant repetition in the hardy speech of the early Dutch settlers the name be-
came known as "Raritan". It is near this Forked River that Fords had its
beginnings. It was said in the Dutch records that both sides of the Raritan River
were adorned with spacious meadows and that along the river it was possible
to erect several towns and villages. "However, upon this river no town settles,
only one at the mouth of it. This one mentioned at the mouth of the Raritan
River was probably Woodbridge."^
' From Days and Days by Annette Wynne, 1919, .J.
Mppincott & Co.
'^East Jersey under the proprietory Government by William A. Whitehead, p.
Dennis, 1875, Newark.
17, Martin R.
FORDS IS PART OF WOODBRIDGE TOWNSHIP
In 1664 the English conquered the Dutch and King Charles gave
New Netherlands to his brother, the Duke of York. He in turn gave that part
of the country lying between the Delaware River and the Atlantic Ocean to his
friends Lord John Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. Carteret named the territory
New Jersey because he had been governor of an island in the English Channel
by the name of "Jersey". These governors divided New Jersey into two parts.
Berkeley's share was the western half of the state along the Delaware River.
Carteret received the eastern portion.
In June, 1669, Daniel Pierce and his associates received a charter for a certain
parcel of this land which is shown on an early map as extending from Piscataway
and the Raritan River north to what was then known as Elizabeth Township.
We know the section which we now call Fords was located in that parcel of land
which is shown on the map bounded on the south by Bonhamtown, on the north
by Woodbridge and on the east by a settlement which was at that time called
It is stated that in 1677 Governor Carteret made a successful attempt to buy
from the Indians all the unbought lands lying between Woodbridge and
Piscataway. Smith, in his History of New Jersey, says "The Indians never asked
a high price for anything they had to sell. To see how cheaply they sold this
valuable tract of country we have only to examine the agreement between the
Indian land owners and Governor Carteret. The natives who owned the land
were three Indians named Conackamack, Capatamin and Thingorawis." The
following is the exchange they received for this vast area of territory:
"One hundred fathoms of white wampum, six match coats, four blankets,
three guns, six shirts, twenty bars of lead, twenty double hands of powder, one
anker of rum, twelve axes, two half vats of beer, and six kettles! That is all!
And yet the natives thought it was enough and were thoroughly delighted with
the bargain."^ The Indian signatures authorizing the purchase of this land
appeared on the document signed September 14, 1677 as follows: "Conackamack
makes a nervous looking cross; Capatamin makes a mark like the figure 3,
which however, is nearly turned over on its back; Thingorawis, for some reason
urged his brother Conackamack to sign the deed in his behalf which he did with
a bold X. Four Indian witnesses signed the paper also. Sachem of the Nevesinks
made a mark like the English capital C, Eramky's signature was a
sign resembling an F Clef, Queramack's sign looked like an English G and
Nameth's signature was like a large A. Below these Indian signatures were
three English names signed John Bloomfield, Claude Valott and Hopewell Hull.
Beneath these is the official sign manual of James Bollen, Secretary of
Indians in this territory were not numerous. Smith says in his History of
New Jersey that the tribes in some sections were ten to twenty miles apart.
However, many passed through the early Fords area during the fishing season,
on their way to Ambo which was a point at the mouth of the Raritan River.
There they caught perch, eels, oysters, clams and other fish.
It is difficult to say exactly what became of the Indians who were living
here. An early map shows the Minisink Trail which ran from Milford, Pennsyl-
vania, to the Jersey coast as running directly through that part of Woodbridge
Township which is Fords today. This was a regular trading and hunting route
which the American Indians used. As the white settlers moved into the area to
build their homesteads it is believed that the Indians retreated further north into
^History of Woodbridge and Vicinity, J. W. Dally — New Brunswick, 1873.
.ji i'»»' Vf.
"-"^■■A ' '
Early map of that portion of the State of New Jersey in the year 1682 which includes that
part of Woodbridge Township which is today known as Fords. Many of the place names shown
on this map are still in use today. Roads in those days were not the highways we are accustomed
to today. Those on the map were listed as "Upper Road South to Delaware River," "Lower
Road to Delaware River," "Minasink Path" and"Lawries Road." Privately-owned plantations of
those early days in many cases subsequently became villages and towns. The circle shows that
part of Woodbridge Township which is known today as Fords.
EARLY ROADS AND TRANSPORTATION
The Indian trails of the early days were gradually widened as the first settlers
used them to travel upon. Later, wagons and stage coaches came into use and
these trails began to appear as roads. There were two heavily traveled turnpikes
that went through Fords. One was called Woodbridge Turnpike, which today
is known as Main Street and the other was called the Amboy Turnpike, which at
Fords Corner formed two roads. One was King George Road which branched
left and continued into Woodbridge; the other became New Brunswick Avenue
which today, runs into Perth Amboy.
During the 1800's those people who traveled walked, road horseback, or used
a horse and buggy. There was a stage coach which would take people long
distances, and a journey across New Jersey from New York to Trenton would
take almost two days over the dirty, dusty roads. The late Mr. Andersen who
lived in the Cutter House on Main Street for many years spoke of a stage coach
which made a stop in this vicinity en route from Newark to Trenton.
FORDS BECOMES A COMMUNITY
During the next hundred and fifty years, the Fords section of Woodbridge
Township grew. Houses were built and farms were developed. Small businesses
grew up. Rich deposits of clay fostered new industries. Families grew and the
names of Bloomfield, Bloodgood, FuUerton, Harned, Cutter, Dunham, Voorhees,
Moffett, Johnson, Coddington, Liddle, Kent, Ford, Crow, Hope, Pierce, Compton,
Kinsey, Hollander, Thompson and others too numerous to mention, can be
identified with the growth and expansion of the community.
There seems to be some uncertainty as to which of these families was the first
to arrive in Fords. Although much has been written about early Woodbridge
Township families it is difficult to determine accurately which ones, and the
exact date, people settled in the Fords section. However, it is alleged that the
Cutters were residents in the late 1600's. Rebecca D. Cutter, a descendant of
this early Cutter family, married John Van Pelt Voorhees, whose daughter Ann
was the mother of Ernest Moffett, a long time resident of Fords who lives in
HOW FORDS WAS NAMED
Fords in the early days was called "Sling Taile"^ after a little stream which
ran through the heart of the vicinity. No one seems to know exactly why this
stream was so called. However, there are several legends. Some say it was so
named because of the cows with slinging tails that grazed in the mead-
ows through which the brook tumbled. Others, that it may have received its name
because the boys in those days would sling skunks or muskrats they trapped
from one shore to another by their tails. Nevertheless, Sling Taile is the name
by which the town of Fords was originally known. Any one passing through the
community today would see no sign of this running stream as it is piped under-
The water which used to form the Sling Taile Brook runs under the Fords
Streets beginning in a vicinity north of King George Road, in an area that at
one time was the George Liddle farm, flowing in a south west direction under
New Brunswick Avenue, beyond Lope's Restaurant, under the Lehigh Railroad,
through the clay banks into Raritan River.
Another section of what is now an area of Woodbridge Township between
Fords and the town of Woodbridge was called "Mutton Hollow". That was an
area beyond Fords Park toward the turnpike which was later known as the clay
bank region where Ryan's Brick factory stood. Also, Fords was occasionally
referred to as "The Dreary Sandhills". This was because the part of the town
where many of the people lived was the area along King George Road known
today as the Sand Hills Section. Probably the reason it was called "dreary"
was because the people who lived in that part of the town labored hard in the
clay pits and found little time for cheer.
FORDS IS IDENTIFIED
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the town became known
as Ford's Corner. This was because the land which is now intersected by New
Brunswick Avenue and King George's Road was at that time owned by families
by the name of Ford. These Fords were well known and since their homes were
located on the corners of the roadways, people coming to visit them used to say
they were going to Ford's Corner. The community was called by that name for
a good many years. As the members of the Fords families died and their houses
disappeared, the town became known as "Fords".
FORDS HIGHWAYS AND TRAVEL OF BYGONE DAYS
"Next to Ford's Inn was Bengamin Crows' house. His wife was Grace Ford,
known and loved by everyone as 'Aunt Grace'. "^ Later this house became
known as the Liddle house. Crow's Mill Road was named for the Crowe family.
In the early days it was an important connection leading from King George's
Post Road to the Raritan River in Keasbey. Keasbey at that time was a thriving
brick making section of Woodbridge Township. Along Crows Mill Road and in
the immediate vicinity, many prominent Fords citizens lived. Today, their
memory is marked by the names of some of the streets in the area.
EARLY REVOLUTIONARY DAYS
During the Revolutionary War, much of the campaign centered in and around
Fords. Fords Corner was a famous junction for roads going from Piscataway
and Bonhamtown to Woodbridge and Perth Amboy. The Inn of Samuel Ford
was on one of these corners. Ebenezer Ford lived in another house on a corner
on the opposite side of the street. It is said that he was a member of the commis-
sion which appraised the losses of the citizens of Woodbridge Township during
the Revolutionary War. "According to tradition, at the Intersection of Amboy
Turnpike and Woodbridge Turnpike was the rendevous for the 'Jersey Blues'
in Woodbridge. Here the patriots met to discuss the progress of the Revolu-
tionary War and to propose a means for harassing the enemy. These meetings
were of course secret and partly composed of young men not yet serving in the
army."^ There does not seem to be any explanation why these young patriots
were called "Jersey Blues". However, one assumes it was because of the blue
uniforms they wore and the fact that they lived in the territory of New Jersey.
Timothy Bloomfield was an early Fords patriot during the War for
Independence. His house was located on the Amboy Turnpike. For refusing to
acknowledge his allegiance to King George the third he suffered the wrath of the
English Tories and was put in prison. His sons Smith and Timothy Jr. were in
the Continental Army and the women folk of the family were without protection
in the old homestead, on the farm, while the men were away. Dally relates in
his "History of Woodbridge and Vicinity" a story which says that one day when
the British Red Coats ravished the Bloomfield premises they confiscated the
family Bible, as well as a precious brindle cow, and carried them off to Staten
Island to the British Commander. Girls were brave in those days and Eunice
Bloomfield. daughter of Timothy, accompanied by a girl friend followed the
enemy. They walked to the shore of the Raritan River where they found an old
skow. The girls jumped into it and paddled across the Kill Van Kull to the
other side. Upon their arrival they sought the commander, pleaded their story,
won his compassion, and returned to Fords with the Bible and the cow, as well
as a British escort. "American troops were constantly passing through the town
during the latter part of 1776."®
^Froni Disappearing Landmarks of Woodbridge Township — Amy Breckinridge, 1946.
NEW BRUNSWICK AVENUE, FORDS. IN THE YEAR 1889.
The above picture was taken more than a decade before the trolley car appeared in Fords.
New Brunswick Avenue was a dusty, dirt road at that time. The building in the background was
the old Fullerton house which in by gone days stood where the P'ords Movie theatre is today.
Typical of the mode of transportation is the horse and wagon shown. Fannie Olesen is holding
the reins. Standing in the wagon are Will Cochinberry and Sandy Halligan. The two young men
leaning against the brick pile are John Olesen and James Egan. Standing on top of the brick
pile are Ballantine Hamilton and Robert Fullerton (wearing the jacket; he is the present Robert
Fullerton's father). William Fullerton holds the two horses by their bridles. The ladies and children
standing along the fence are other members of the Fullerton family and their friends. All of the
people in this picture are now deceased.
Courtesy of Robert Fullerton
THE COMING OF THE TROLLEY TRACKS
Very early in 1900 travel improved for the people in Fords. The only rail-
road serving the community at that time was the Lehigh Valley and there were
no railroad stations as such. However, there were two small buildings where
people could seek shelter while waiting for a train. One was off King George's
Road and the other was in the vicinity of Crow's Mill Road. Most people wishing
to travel directly to New York City or Philadelphia chose to board a train in
Perth Amboy or Metuchen. However, when the trolley came to Fords, people
were able to visit the surrounding communities by trolley.
The line which was built in Perth Amboy by a railroad company known as
the Raritan Traction Co., extended the service which began in Perth Amboy on
April 17, 1900, into Fords a few years later. This trolley line ran from Perth
Amboy through Keasbey over Crows Mill Road and turned off Crows Mill
Road onto New Brunswick Avenue through Fords, into Metuchen, on to New
Brunswick. If one wanted to go to Woodbridge from Fords he could board the
trolley in Fords, ride in the opposite direction through Keasbey and
Perth Amboy, then through Mauer along Boynton Beach into Sewaren and
continue to Woodbridge.
It is not difficult to understand why Fords children going to High School
often walked to Woodbridge in those days. Imagine how long it must have taken
to go on the trolley! Miss Cronce told us that teachers living in Woodbridge
going to their jobs in Fords had to leave their homes at 6:45 in the morning
in order to get to school at twenty minutes to nine. Trolley travel from Wood-
bridge to Fords was complicated because the passengers would have to get off
one trolley at the corner of Smith and State Streets in Perth Amboy and wait
for another trolley traveling through Keasbey into Fords. When the teachers
reached their destination they got off the trolley on New Brunswick Avenue and
walked -the remaining blocks to the school. Nevertheless the trolley was a con-
venience. Although people could save time by walking to and from Woodbridge,
the trolley offered more comfort in bad weather. Also, the trolley was a means of
transportation for those college students who studied their lessons and com-
pleted assignments while riding to and from Fords to Rutgers University in
Trolley car leaving Perth Amboy for Fords early 1900's. Open air trolleys were popular
in the summer months and closed trolleys for more comfort during the cold months.
The trolley tracks did not run in the middle of New Brunswick Avenue as
one might imagine. Instead they were laid on the extreme northern end of the
street and in some instances very close to the houses. There used to be a little
yellow house in front of the blacksmith shop which was located in the vicinity
of the present Gross Building at the corner of New Brunswick Avenue and King
George Road. Senior citizens in Fords today tell stories of how they were able
to alight from the trolley car right at the threshold of the little yellow house.
In 1930 the trolley line was dis-
continued. New highways began to
appear. Traveling became much
faster by automobile and bus. To-
day the Board of Education spends
hundreds of thousands of dollars to
transport Fords school children to
High School in Woodbridge over
well paved roads in a fraction of
the time it took them to go by
trolley fifty years ago.
East, Fords, N.J.
PARTS OF EARLY FORDS ARE IN EDISON TOWNSHIP
There has seemed to be a question in the minds of some people concerning
the boundaries of Edison and Fords, since so much of the early history of Fords
and Fords Corner, as it was yesterday, lies in Edison today. This can
be explained by inserting an explanation of how Raritan Township came to be,
which today is known as Edison.
The Township of Edison, formerly the Township of Raritan, was incorporated
shortly after the Civil War. The Boundary lines were established from a portion
of Woodbridge Township and a portion of Piscataway Township. This was
done by an act of the legislature April, 1870. The easterly boundary line started
at the Raritan River and went northerly across meadow lands owned by the
Kistrup family to what was then King George Road. It followed the center line
of King George Road in a northeasterly and northerly direction to the inter-
section of King George Road, to the Brunswick-Amboy Turnpike which is now
Amboy Avenue in Edison and New Brunswick Avenue in Fords. From then it
went in a north-westerly direction bisecting various properties and farms to
Menlo Park and then in a northerly direction to the Union County line. The
Ford Farm was on the southwesterly corner of Amboy Avenue and King George
Road. The Liddle farm was on the northwesterly corner of King George Road
and Amboy Avenue and was bisected by the division line of 1870.
One wishing to identify this bisecting line today might begin at that place
occupied by the Calso Gas Station on the corner of New Brunswick Avenue
(or Amboy Avenue, as it is called in Edison), and Ford Avenue. The Gas Station
lies in Edison Township but as one walks along Ford Avenue toward Main
Street, the line dividing Edison Township and Woodbridge Township runs right
through the center of the old Andersen house which is now the Flynn Funeral
Parlor. From there the rest of that street is in Fords.
On the opposite side of New Brunswick Avenue the dividing line is King
George Road. Going along the street in the direction of the Raritan River the
property on the left side of the road is in Fords. The property on the right side
of the road, which includes the Sand Hills School and the old Sandhill section
from which has come some of the roots of early Fords history, lies in Edison
Township since the incorporative act of the 1870 legislature. However, many
people living in Edison have a Fords address and their mail is delivered from
the Fords post office.
FORDS CORNERS 1964
At this point New Brunswick Ave.
in Fords becomes Amboy Ave. in
Edison. This is one of the busy places
where Woodbridge Township joins
The tree on "Our Lady of Peace"
lawn is in Edison. The Gross building
on the left is in Fords.
A long range view of Fords corners
taken from the steps of Our Lady of
Tree Yields To Progress
'. <f 't
Courtesy ol Mrs. Allvn I'ettTsen
This ancient, stately elm, a landmark in Fords for more than a century,
finally yielded to progress and the woodsman's axe. On the first day
of November, 1954, the beautiful tree was cut down to make room for the First
National Bank which is known today as the First Bank and Trust Co. of Fords.
The tree which used to stand at the corner of New Brunswick Avenue and King
George's Road graced the old Liddle estate shown in the background, which was
the social center of Fords for many years.
Mrs. Allyn Petersen, of Redfield Village, Metuchen, N.J. was a Liddle before
her marriage. The house in the picture was her home for many, many years.
Her parents purchased the property in 1850 from the Crowes. Mrs. Crowe was
a daughter of one of the Ford families, and the property was conveyed to her
and her husband by her parents in 1804.
Typical of the family gatherings held on warm summer afternoons under
the shade of the hovering elm were scenes like these when the Liddle family
and the Hope family would get together for a clam bake.
The dark building on the left is the
old Liddle blacksmith shop which used
to attract the children coming home from
i school on King George's Road. The
gray-haired man in the center is Mr.
George Liddle who owned the property
known as the "Liddle Farm". Famous
landmarks of Fords Corner today stand
on property which was carved out of the
Liddle estate. Among those most notice-
able are "Our Lady of Peace Church",
"Our Lady of Peace School", and "First
Bank and Trust Company".
Courtesy of Mrs. Allyn Petersen
This picture taken under the great
Elm tree shows the old Ford homestead
beyond the fence on the other side of
the street. Today this is a commercial
block on which stands the Fords Bakery
and other stores. This part of Fords,
as well as "Our Lady of Peace Church"
property became part of "Raritan Town-
ship", now known as "Edison" by the
legislative act of 1870.
Courtesy of Mrs. Allyn Petersen
IMMIGRANTS COME TO FORDS
THE IRISH SETTLE IN SAND HILLS
Fords is the type of community it is because of the various kinds of people
who came here to make their homes. Following the Civil War many Irish men
came to live. Names like O'Brien, Ryan, Shannon, Kelly, O'Riley, P^innegan,
Lahe, and Egan appeared on the township register. Many of these people settled
in the Sand Hills section of Fords and from the roots of these early Irish families
there grew a passionate desire to establish a place of worship and so were sown
the seeds which grew into what are today two of the outstanding land marks
of the town, "Our Lady of Peace Church" and "Our Lady of Peace School".
PEOPLE FROM THE UKRAINE APPEAR
In the latter part of the 19th century an influx of foreign immigrants from
Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia arrived. Because there were rich deposits
of clay in the area, industries that made brick, pottery, and ceramics created
a ready labor market for these Polish, Slavish, and Hungarian newcomers.
These people worked hard and saved money. They wanted a better life for their
children than they had in Europe and today their descendants make up a large
portion of the population of Fords. Therefore, the names of Nagy,
Mazur, Kovacs, Pajak, Mizerny, Szabo, Kozak, Molnar, Novak, Sepchik, Sutch,
Poroski, Kish, Capik, Racz, Smoyak, Izso, Lukacs, Marczak, and many, many
others of Ukranian lineage can be found among the families in Fords.
SCANDINAVLA IS REPRESENTED
For decades before and after the turn of the century an influx of another
foreign element settled in Fords. The social and economic difficulties in Denmark
which resulted in strikes and political unrest among the people brought many
Danish settlers to New Jersey shores. Many of them settled in and around Perth
Amboy and groups of them migrated to Fords.
These people were clever craftsmen. Among them were carpenters, wood
working experts and cabinet makers. Others were thrifty farmers who found the
fertile fields and broad open meadows desirable locations for their dairy farms.
The women possessed versatile culinary skills and were delicate lace makers.
About the same time, people who were seeking independence from the conflicts
arising in Norway and Sweden came to America. New Jersey was fortunate to
receive a quota of these folks, some of whom settled in Fords. Like the Danes,
these men and women were hardy and ambitious. Some of them became versatile
students of Ceramic Art and many of them found remunerative employment in
the kilns and other industries which manufactured products made out of clay.
Names^ such as Christiansen, Petersen, Hansen, Jensen, Erickson, Anderson,
Johnson, Olsen, Clausen, Ostergaard, Overgaard, Sorensen, Koyen and Lund
are common in Fords today. Many of them are descendants of these Scandi-
navian immigrants of yesterday. Since the Lutheran Church is the official church
of most Scandinavian countries these new settlers brought enduring religious
convictions with them which strengthened the Lutheran movement in the Fords
GERMAN FOLKS COME TO FORDS
About the same time the Irish were settling in the Sandhill section of Fords
a group of German immigrants found homes in and around Keasbey. These
hardy folks took jobs in the brick making establishments and found employ-
ment for their dexterous skills in the ceramic and porcelain industries. In later
years many of their descendants moved out farther into Fords. About that time
other families of German extraction moved into the community. Some of them
came from Perth Amboy and some from greater distances. Many found homes
on the side streets between New Brunswick Avenue and the Lehigh Valley Rail-
road. Others moved into new homes in areas near King George Road. Among
the residents of Fords today are those with German names such as Schneider,
Boeslack, Meyer, Blanchard, Shurig, Fritsche, Laubach and others.
JEWISH FAMILIES FIND HOMES IN FORDS
It is believed the first Jewish folks to move to Fords were the Grosses who
settled in the Sand Hill Section in 1890 and opened a general store. Other early
Jewish families were the Brauns, the Goldsteins and the Rosenblums. Among
Fords residents today is a group of prosperous and ambitious Jewish people
who make a vital contribution to the economy and culture of the community
as well as offer a broader scope to its professional services.
Courtesy of Mrs. Rosenblum
Goldsteins General Store on New Brunswick Avenue, 1915. Standing in the doorway
are Mrs. Goldstein and two daughters, the present Mrs. Hack and Mrs. Rosenblum.
The horse and buggy was typical of transportation of the era.
During the early part of the twentieth century the profile of Fords began to
change. The Cutter farm, the Dunham Farm, and the Parker property on the
north side of King George's Road were sold. The new owners cut the land up
into house lots and the purchasers built new homes. As new homes were built,
new streets came into being, many of them named after the previous owners or
the developers. City water lines were installed in 1911, gas and sewers in 1917.
What was left of the Voorhees farm after the first tract was sold to build School
#7 was divided into two parts. A man by the name of Kreilsheimer bought that
half west of Crows Mill Road. Little by little this tract was cut into building
lots. A Danish carpenter from Perth Amboy named Koyen bought the eastern
half. He sold lots to people who built houses on both sides of what is now
Liberty Street. Several years later the remaining Warner's Woods parcel grew
into Koyen Street, Moffett Street, Warner and all the other streets in that area.
In another part of Fords between the lower end of King George's Road and
Main Street, the George Liddle farm was sold. This property too, was cut up
in house lots and so were born First Street, Second Street, and the other num-
bered streets, and those streets in the School Fourteen area. A movie house
appeared on New Brunswick Avenue in 1920.
PROFILE OF FORDS CHANGES
And now the profile of Fords has changed. Little remains of the old, en-
dearing landmarks. New housing developments and modern business enter-
prises have given the town a different mien. New schools, new churches, new
shopping centers are changing the patterns of the people's lives.
In 1900 there were approximately 800 people living in Fords. The next ten
years added only 100 new residents. In 1920 there were approximately 1500
Fords folks. By 1930 the population had grown to 2900. The following ten
years registered little or no gain. In 1950 there were 4000 inhabitants in Fords
and 1964 saw that number tripled.
New highways and faster thoroughfares have been one of the underlying
factors in Fords' spectacular growth. The Garden State Parkway, with an exit
and entrance on Route #440 in Fords, and the New Jersey Turnpike, which
plowed through a Fords wilderness, have opened new avenues of travel which
have enabled Fords residents to drive their automobiles to places of business
outside of Fords in a very few minutes. These new highways have caused what
were inaccessible, hidden areas to turn into bursting, busy building sites and
entirely new housing developments almost "over night". These housing develop-
ments have brought new people and more children who have demanded new
schools, wider, more extensive shopping centers, and greater recreational and
Today, Woodbridge Township, of which Fords is an important part, is the
fourth largest school district in the State of New Jersey. Two beautiful
new schools have opened in Fords in an area that was more or less a wilderness
ten years ago. One is elementary School #25 in the new housing development
called Lafayette Estates, and the other, Fords Junior High.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Illustrations show Housing Developments in the background. The foreground shows acres of
rough terrain being made ready for more building. Construction has begun for new garden apart-
ments. The above pictures were taken on route #1 showing a massive movement for future growth
THE NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE
Before the New Jersey Turnpike opened, the chief highways between New York
and Philadelphia were Highways Route #1 and #130. Traffic along these roads was heavy
In 1952 the New Jersey
Turnpike opened. Its busy
lanes move through Fords,
giving the Community ready
access to all surrounding
major cities. Hundreds of
new industries, providing
thousands of jobs have
grown up in the vicinity of
the 131 miles it travels. No
roadway in America has
triggered greater business
and industrial growth.
Towns and cities along its
path have felt a boom in population
because of its presence. This is
especially true in Fords. The accessi-
bility to the New Jersey Turnpike has
resulted in a marked housing develop-
ment. Three years after the miracle high-
way opened Sommer Brothers Con-
struction Co. Inc. turned Varady's
Grove, the wooded tracts and open
fields in the area into a busy metropolis
with the construction of 500 homes.
Seventy five per cent of the people who
bought them came from out of town.
Garden State Parkway in Fords, showing exit
?'129 and ramp leading to tlie New Jersey Turnpike
in the lower left corner. The darkened area in the
center of the picture is the new Woodbridge Town-
ship elementary School #25 located in the adjacent
Lafayette Estates housing development in Fords.
Fords lies within the area enclosed by a circle on the above Garden State Parkway maps.
Perhaps the most vital contribution to the spectacular growth of Fords is the fact that it
is at Fords that the two miracle highways in the state of New Jersey come together. At no
other place in the state of New Jersey does this phenomena take place.
Fords is the section of Woodbridge Township where the Garden State Parkway crosses
the New Jersey Turnpike. In Fords the Garden State Parkway has an exit and an entrance
intersecting King George's Road which at that point is known as New Jersey Highway Route
#440. In Fords also is the exit #129 which intersects the New Jersey Turnpike going south
It is in Fords that Exit #10 on the New Jersey Turnpike intersects the Garden State Park-
way going north only. At exit #11 in Woodbridge Township, halfway between the towns of
Fords and Woodbridge, intersecting New Jersey Highway, Route #9 a motor may leave or
approach the New Jersey Turnpike to drive north toward New York City or south toward
Exit » 128 in Fords where the Garden State
Parkway intersects Route #440.
Administration building of The New Jersey Higiiway Authority, Garden State Parkway, located in t'ords N.J.
Notice the new housing development in the background which is typical of other housing developments which
have grown up in the Fords area following the coming of the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden
GARDEN STATE PARKWAY
New Jersey's longest toll road, the 173 mile Garden State Parkway starts in the north
at the N. J., N. Y. border. It runs north and south through 10 counties and ends at Cape
May City. The Parkway is the main route from the north to all Jersey seashore resorts. It
is also an important link to other superhighways, mainly the N. Y. Thruway and the N. J.
Turnpike. The Parkway has 91 interchanges which include 124 entrance ramps and 122
exit ramps. Our town of Fords has both an exit and entrance to the Parkway going north
and south. This provides quick and convenient access to all points for the daily commuter.
The Garden State Parkway helped to bring many new homeowners to this area. As a result
of this building boom the population of Fords increased.
Contributed by Mark Mika, Grade 4
SEEING YESTERDAY'S FORDS TODAY
Perhaps the most outstanding and really authentic remaining landmark of the early
life in Fords is the old Cutter homestead on Main Street which is now the home of Mr. and
Mrs. Raymond Solowinski and their son John.
Through Mr. Ernest Moffett, one of the remaining descendents of the early Cutter family,
we were able to establish the facts which have opened the doors so we can peek into the
history of those early days in which Fiords had its beginning. Marriage certificates, birth
certificates, deeds transferring property and ancient wills were examined in order to write
the following story of Mr. Moffett's maternal grandmother who was Rebecca Dunn Cutter
born October 31, 1821 in the old Cutter homestead on Main Street in Fords, the daughter
of Francis Campyon Cutter who was a descendent of Dr. Melancthon Freeman, who was
commissioned "Surgeon of State Troops, Col. Forman's battalion, Heard's brigade June
The Cutter family came from England about 1640 and settled in Cambridge, Massa-
chusetts. The family consisted of a widow, a daughter and two sons. Richard, one of these
sons, also had a son Richard born November 13, 1682. According to Daily's "History of
Woodbridge and Vicinity" Richard was no doubt, the progenitor of the Cutter family, which
settled in this area of Woodbridge Township. He married Mary Pike August 20,
1706. Richard and Mary Cutter had a son Joseph, who married Ann Campyon; Joseph and
Ann had a son Campyon Cutter, who married Frances Moore; Campyon and Frances had
a son named Francis Campyon Cutter, born March 8, 1797. Francis Campyon
Cutter married Ann Hanes Freeman and their daughter was Rebecca Dunn Cutter (mentioned
earlier in this story), born October 31, 1821 in the old Cutter homestead on Main Street,
Fords. Rebecca Dunn Cutter married John Van Pelt Voorhees, son of Daniel Voorhees who
owned the huge farm in Fords stretching along King George Road out of which a section
was sold to build Fords School #7. (It is believed that the Voorhees folks were descendents of
the early Dutch families who settled in another area when the land was known as
New Netherlands. )
John and Rebecca Voorhees had a daughter Ann Freeman Voorhees who was born May
17, 1851. She married Mr. Moffett and bore two sons, one being Ernest C. Moffett who was
born and grew up in Fords and who now lives on Barron Avenue in Woodbridge.
There was another house on the Cutter farm in the early 1700's. It is not clearly under-
stood whether the present house is an enlargement and extension of the original house or
whether it was built to replace the original house. In any case, the Cutters who lived on this
plantation, as it was then called, are believed to have kept slaves. The New Jersey Almanac
tells us that "The Act for gradual Abolition of Slavery" was passed February 18, 1804.
Importation of slaves in New Jersey had been stopped in 1786. In 1846 the Legislature
abolished slavery in the State of New Jersey but full freedom was not granted to the slaves.
They remained in their jobs as apprentices. Daily's "History of Woodbridge and Vicinity"
states that there were approximately 230 slaves in Woodbridge Township in 1800. It is
believed that two of them owned by the Cutters were given their freedom in 1802.
Mrs. Dorothy F. D. Ludewig, principal of Fords School #7 arranged for a group of
children attending her school, including myself, to interview Mr. Ernest Moffett in the old
Cutter homestead with Mr. and Mrs. Ray Solowinski and son John as our hosts and hostess.
John is a boy about my age who goes to school at Rutgers Prep. Present that same evening
were Mr. Thomas Peake Jr. and his three sons of 185 Second Avenue, Fords. Mrs. Peake,
who was not present, is the daughter of Ernest C. Moffett's brother, John William Moffett.
The three boys are Mr. Moffett's grand nephews.
During the evening we all enjoyed some interesting stories told by Mr. Moffett. As the
genial gentleman told stories, Mr. Ray Solowinski, who is a professional photographer, took
pictures. Mrs. Solowinski and Mrs. Ludewig added interesting touches relative to Art and
the history of period furniture. Mrs. Solowinski told us how she and her husband had gone
about modernizing the house thus far and of their plans for the future. She said that when
they purchased the house it was completely furnished, but since they have lived there they
have added other pieces appropriate to the setting.
The following pictures and their stories grew out of our experiences that evening. I shall
call them "A Romance with the Past."
All photographs. Courtesy of Mr. Ray Solowinski
The Cutter house in 1890. Notice the
farm wagons in the yard and the old
wind mill towering above the roof of the
building. When houses had no plumbing
or town water as they have today people
had to depend on wells and ponds for
their water supply. The wind mill served
as a means of forcing water to the sur-
face and into a building for many years
before pumps were designed for that
purpose. This often imposed hardships
upon people when there were tranquil
torrid days and the winds did not blow.
Years ago, that area of Fords lying between King George Road and Main Street was a
wide stretch of farmland including several farms.
Where one man's property ended another's began. The above picture shows the old Cutter
homestead and farm buildings surrounded by open fields which reach way out yonder.
Today these open fields no longer exist. Instead there are many streets both sides of which
have been cut into house lots on which homes have been built.
Fords School #7 students and Mrs. Ray
SoloWinski interview Mr. Ernest Moffett, great
grandson of Rebecca Dunn Cutter who was bom
in the Cutter homestead on Main Street in F"ords,
October 31, 1821. The homestead has been re-
stored and is now the home of Mr. and Mrs.
Ray Solowinski and son John.
Please note the early Victorian settee and chairs
in which the guests are sitting; also the marble
top, hand carved Victorian coffee table which is
done in a beautiful scroll. On the wall hangs a
copy of Raphael's "Madonna of the Chair"
printed by one of his students. The early Victorian
Florentine frame is exactly like the original which
hangs in the Lourve in Paris. The lamps are
original "Gone with the Wind kerosene models
with the hand painted shades and bases which
have been wired for electricity.
From left to right —
Karen Wantuch, Mrs.
Mr. Ernest Moffett.
Judy Rader, Philip Mingin,
Solowinski, Eric Turk and
Eric became enthused about the History of Fords when he was a si.xth grader in School r7 in the spring of
1963. Although he is now a seventh grader in Fords Jr. High, his interest in the project continued until it was
finished one year later.
A beautiful mahogany, hand carved grandfather clock stands
on the landing half way up the simple colonial stairway. It is
a Tiffany piece containing two sets of chimes. One set tolls
ship time, eight bells, the other Westminster chimes. The pendu-
lums are balanced with liquid mercury. Gold numerals adorn
the face of the clock. The scrolls and flaming finials are typical
designs of early American period furniture.
This view shows one end of the spacious dining
room where a rare old fireplace is buih. It con-
tains shelves inside the chimney, which in by gone
days were used for baking purposes. This partic-
ular fireplace still retains an original dutch oven.
On either side of the chimney, not shown in the
picture, are two lovely old china closets, built
close to the wall. The glass panes in the doors
are quaint, typical of the glass used in early
Lisa, the Solowonski's pet cat slumbers on the hearth of a
modernized barbecue in the kitchen of the ancient Fords home-
stead. In restoring the old house care was taken to preserve its
charm and at the same time adapt the original chimney and
one of the old fireplaces into a versatile spit and barbecue
suitable to meet the needs of today's casual entertaining.
A quaint, picturesque fireplace in the old CuUlt hunicbleud
has been modernized somewhat by the Solowinskis. The picture
above shows delft tiles, each a different design of early American
houses, including some old Pennsylvania half houses which
have been inlaid to cover the old cracked and broken bricks
in the face of the chimney. The wall covering is a copy of old
musuem paper frequently used in the drawing rooms of early
colonial homes and the clock on the mantel piece is an antique
steeple clock. The candle sticks are old brass. Notice the exposed
beams in the ceiling. They have been restored and finished to
enhance their original beauty. They run the entire length of
the huge living room. The rugged side beams are pinned to a
huge center timber by wooden dowls, which were fitted
in gauged holes by whomever built the house before spikes were
used for that purpose. We are not certain exactly what kind of
timber was used to make the beams but Mr. Moffett said he
thinks they could be poplar. He told the story of having in-
herited an old adz from his grandfather which was used to cut
the timber in the beautiful tulip trees which grew profusely on
the property. These trees were a kind of poplar whose wood
was soft when it was green but became very hard as it aged.
The early Cutters owned some saw mills where steam engines
on wheels supplied the power to cut huge logs. The tulip trees
grew very tall and it was possible to get some fine lengthy
beams for building purposes from the trunks of the trees. The
bark on these trees was velvet smooth, and it is just such a
bark which still remains on parts of the beams in the ceiling
of the Solowinskis' living room.
The above picture, taken early in the century,
shows Mr. and Mrs. Anders Andersen who lived
on the Cutter farm for many years sitting on a
bench in the garden in front of the homestead.
Notice the old Ford car in the background with
its huge metal head lamps, spoke wheels and
canvas covered top.
Karen and Judy are charmed with the dainty canopy and
ornate scrolls of the ancient, heirloom bed in one of the bed-
rooms of the old house. This piece of furniture is typical of
many of the rare pieces which were brought from England
when colonists first came to America. The girls asked why the
bed seemed so short. An explanation stated that years ago
Americans did not grow as tall as they do today and also
that since old fashioned American homes, and early English
homes for which such bedsteads were made did not have central
heating systems, people often slept with their knees curled up
under their chins to keep warm at night. Therefore, they did
not need the longer beds which are used today.
Philip is fascinated by the wide, pine boards in the house
which have been restored and polished to show their original
loveliness. He sits on one of two old twin spool beds, especially
designed for children. Between the beds is a rare, yellow pine
commode, beautiful in its simplicity, with a replica of the spool
design used in the beds as its only decoration. These commodes
were used long ago in bedrooms as storage places for those
utensils that today's modern bathroom fixtures have replaced.
Another beautiful piece of bedroom furniture is an original,
old highboy containing dove tailed drawers. It is made of
solid cherry with a bonnet top and flame finials. The shell
grooves and scroll rosettes are hand carved. The lovely old
feet are ball and claw design. The piece is indeed an elegant
picture against the floral wall pattern which is a copy of the
hand blocked print in the Henry Ford Museum.
ABOVE — The Cutter House in the winter of Yesterday's Fords. The same house in the summer of today.
Many of the trees remain and new ones have been planted. Notice the various changes in the building. The old
porch that almost surrounded the house has been removed. A gracious colonial portico shelters the front entrance.
An additional wing has been built at the left. The grounds have been terraced and landscaped and a quaint
picket fence lends atmosphere to the setting.
Not too many decades ago there were
many Fords residents who were farmers.
They raised their own fruits and
vegetables, Icept live stock, chickens and
other breeds of fowl. The above picture
shows the poulty yards and farm
buildings in the rear of the old Cutter
homestead when Mr. and Mrs. Anders
Andersen lived on the premises. Many
residents in the area remember buying
eggs from the Andersens.
/ , /
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^.' . .-■ / / / . cy/ ^
History of Schools
Fords #7 children examine deeds in the office of the Board of Education which show transfer of early Fords
property owned by John Van Pelt Voorhees to the Board of Education to build the first public school in Fords
on March 15, 1858. From left to right: Karen Wantuch, Beverly Lukacs, Mrs. Ludewig, Carolyn Terefenko and
HISTORY OF FORDS SCHOOL #7
Number Seven is the oldest public school in Fords. It had its beginning in a small, one
story, two room, wooden building which was known as the Fairfield Union School. It was
approximately thirty one feet wide and fifty seven feet long and was located on the same
site along King George Road on which the present brick structure stands today.
The land on which the original Fairfield Union School was built was a tract deeded to
the Board of Education by Daniel Voorhees August 10, 1858. The location was described as
being situated on the "southerly side of the old stage road from Woodbridge to Bonhamtown,
in the Township of Woodbridge, in the County of Middlesex and the State of New Jersey.
Beginning at the southerly side of said road, at a stake distant nine chains, ninety four
links, westwardly along said road from the easterly edge of a large rock lying at the fork
or intersection of the said state road, with the Westerly line of the road leading southerly to
Crows Mills Rd., at the northeasterly corner of Daniel Voorhees house lot — and from the
said stake running along the Stage road, south ( 1 ) fifty nine degrees, forty five minutes
West two chains, seventeen links, thence (2) south twenty degrees.
The remaining few lines completing the description of the tract is not legible on the face
of the deed which was made by Daniel Voorhess transferring the property for the Fairfield
Union School to Samuel Dally, Lewis Ford, and Robert Coddington, who were the trustees
of the Common School, in and for, said township called "Fairfield Union" for and in
consideration of the sum of fifty dollars lawful money of the United States.
^ - /
Original two-room wooden build-
ing known as Fairfield Union
Fords School #7 — corner of
King George Rd. and Hoy Ave.,
Fords, N.J. as it looks today.
Much has been learned about the little wooden schoolhouse. It had the distinction of being
crowned with a belfry enclosing a bell, which tolled loudly and clearly calling the children
to school. Mrs. Fouratt, the former Miss Taussig, tells us that when she was teaching there
she taught the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades in one room. Besides being teacher she
was also principal of the school. The salary she received was $400 a year. There was a
Mr. David Sprague who was principal earlier, but Miss Taussig held that position in the
Fairfield Union School and also in Fords School #7, until Mr. Sharp became principal in
1912. Miss Taussig had to relinquish her position because she wanted to get married. In
those days a teacher had to give up her job if she was teaching in a public school when she
married. At that time the late Stella Wright was the teacher in the part of the old wooden
school that housed the children in the first, second, third and fourth grades.
It is quite interesting to learn about all the chores that had to be done in that school be-
fore school would be called in session. Ex-police chief John Egan of Fords says he remembers
how the children used to carry wood and coal to feed the big iron stove which furnished
the heat to keep the children warm.
Sitting on the fence: Nellie
Liddle, John Egan and Clara
Class of children attending two
room wooden building which was
first public school in Fords. Back
row left to right: Roy Dunham,
Theodore Eggerston, Raymond
Mundy, Ralph Liddle, Edna
Dunham, John Egan, Georgiana
Cronce, EUe Oleson, Anna Bisler.
Middle row: unknown, George
Suart, Jens Jensen, Alice Fischer,
Jessie Herman, Ethel Dunham,
Dora Wilson, Carrie Dixon, Jennie
Suart, Tina Jensen, Mrs. E.
P'auratt, (nee Miss Taussig, teach-
er). Kneeling: John Dixon, William
O'Riley, Harry Mundy, Monroe
Herman, Willard Dunham, Russell
Dunham, Cyrus Dunham, Hans
Hansen, unknown, unknown, Mae
Dunham, Augusta Eggerston.
Also, water to drink had to be hauled in buckets from an outdoor spring. The sanitary
facilities were built in outdoor wooden buildings, one for girls and one for boys. He jokingly
called them "telephone booths". Mr. Egan found among his possession two pictures which
show the children who were in his class. Mrs. Fouratt also found a picture of a graduating
class in the year 1906 which consisted of only three boys. They were Ralph Liddle, Raymond
Ryder and Roy Mundy.
Today's children attend school in single graded classrooms and have no part in the mainte-
nance of the buildings. Mr. Egan's pictures have helped us visualize the actual situation in
the early Fairfield Union School.
The wooden school building was moved to another site and was later consumed by fire.
In the meantime a new four room brick building was erected and still stands on the corner of
King George Road and Hoy Avenue. Before the corner stone for this building was laid it
was necessary to extend the land grant. The deed in the possession of the Woodbridge Town-
ship Board of Education states "On the 11th day of August, 1909, between Elizabeth V.
Cory and Ann Moffett, in the township of Woodbridge, the County of Middlesex and the
state of New Jersey of the first part, and the Board of Education of the Township of Wood-
bridge, the County of Middlesex and the State of New Jersey — a corporation of the second
part, in consideration of the sum of five hundred dollars all that tract or parcel of
land described as follows: Beginning at the stake at the southerly side of King
George Road being part of the premises of which John V. P. Voorhees, dec'd the
first part being his only children and heirs at law. (Periods signify that much has been left
out in the original description of the deed. However, if one wishes to examine it in its com-
plete form it can be found in the private records of the Woodbridge Township Board of
Education. ) This deed was received and recorded in the Clerk's office, Middlesex County,
Page #245 in the book of deeds #438 dated August 20th, 1909.
Graduating class of Fords #7,
June, 1906. Raymond Ryder,
Ralph Liddle and Roy Mundy,
Mrs. E. S. Fouratt, then Miss
BASEBALL TEAM — FORDS SCHOOL #7 — IN THE YEAR 1912
John Dixon; Oscar Sundquist; Clifford M. Dunham; Albert Kistrup; Martin Smith; Cyrus Dunham (deceased);
Eugene Gelling (deceased); Raymond Wilson; NeUs Lauritzen (police chief); Peter Peterson, mascot,
front; teacher, Mr. Follensby, in rear.
Philip Mingin greets Mrs. E. T. Fouratt, the former Mae Taussig who was teacher and principal in the original
wooden building known as Fairfield Union School, later Fords School #7. Seated are Miss Georgiana Cronce
and Ex-police chief John Egan who were pupils of Miss Taussig's in that school.
Mr. Ernest C. Moffett tells his experiences as a child growing up in Fords to a group of children ni School ?7.
Ernest Moffett who lives in Woodbridge is the son of Ann Moffett who signed the transfer,
and the grandson of John V. P. Voorhees, who owned the farm on which our school is built.
Mr. Moffett came to school one day and told the children about his experiences as a child
long ago when he attended the early schools in Fords. Another day Mrs. Fouratt
accompanied by two of her former pupils in the original two room wooden school, ex-police
chief John Egan and Georgiana Cronce, attended our school assembly and told the children
of #7 many, many stories about school days in Fords at that time.
Philip Mingin, a pupil in the 6th grade, interviews Mr. Howard Sharp, who was principal of Fords School
#7 for forty four years from 1912 to 1956 and Mrs. Dorothy F. D. Ludewig, principal of the school at the
present time to learn the story of the school's growth and development.
Much has happened during the years since the brick building known as Fords School
#7 was built in 1909. Mr. Howard Sharp who was principal of this school for forty-four
years, from 1912 until 1956, told us that in the beginning the school had only four rooms,
two rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs. The upstairs rooms were separated
by movable glass walls which could be opened to make one large room for
assembly gatherings. TWo of the teachers who taught in this school at that time were Stella
Wright and Clara Lippincott. Mr. Sharp taught the seventh and eighth grades as well as
It wasn't very long before the four room brick building called Fords #7 became too small
to take care of the rising school population and in 1920 an additional eight rooms were
annexed at the rear of the original structure, containing four rooms downstairs and four
rooms upstairs. When this construction was finished it was no longer necessary to have two
or more grades in one classroom. Mr. Sharp says there was ample play space outdoors
for the children, too. There were no houses on Clum Avenue or Livingston Avenue and there
were wide open fields for baseball and all kinds of games. He can remember when Fords
#7 had the unbeatable baseball team. However, this spacious arrangement did not last very
long. During the first World War many new families moved into Fords and again the school
became very crowded. There was a time when there were more than a thousand children
enrolled in the school and this situation lasted until School #14 was built to accommodate
the overflow. When Number Fourteen opened Mr. Sharp became principal of that school as
well as Number Seven.
Before Miss Cronce went to teach in School #14, she was a member of the faculty of Fords
#7. One of the stories she told us about education in the 1920's related how Dr. John H.
Love, who was then Superintendent of Schools in Woodbridge Township, used to travel from
one school to another on a bicycle. He would \'isit the teachers and the children in the class-
room and sometimes would teach a lesson.
Mrs. Ludewig says she will never forget Mr. Love. She will always remember his warm,
friendly manner. She was teaching in Sewaren, another school in Woodbridge Township,
in the late 1920's. That was before she was married and her name was Miss Deitz. When
Mr. Love came into her classroom he would usually pick up the chalk, go to the black-
board, and very dramatically illustrate whatever the topic of discussion happened to be when
he arrived. She said she and the children used to look forward to his visits because Mr.
Love liked to act and it was especially entertaining if the children happened to be dramatizing
a scene from a reading or a history lesson, because Mr. Love would take part in the activity
just like he was an actor on the stage.
There certainly were fewer schools in Middlesex County during those days because it wasn't
unusual for the County Superintendent to occasionally visit the teachers and the children in
the classrooms, also. Mrs. Ludewig said that once she had a group of fourth grade boys
who were taller than she was. One day when she was trying to teach them a folk dance
called "The Norwegian Mountain Climb"" Mr. Willis came into the classroom and asked
the group, "Where is the teacher?"" At the time Mrs. Ludewig was one of the big boy"s part-
ners. Later there was another Middlesex County Superintendent named Mr. Millard Lowry.
He was very tall and when he came to visit the first grade children they looked like pygmies
along side of him.
Boys and girls coming to Fords School #7 tell stories that their mothers and fathers told
them about the days when they were pupils in our school. They talk about teachers they
used to have, a Miss Mae Walsh who became Mrs. Harding, about Miss Helen Lorch and
Mr. Frank Sieh. They recall Miss Doris Leonard who became Mrs. Kelly and so many
children's parents remember Mrs. Predmore because she not only taught in school #7, she
lived nearby on Hornsby Street and people got to know her well.
Not very much is known about some school custodians but Mr. Lafe Rodner, and his
father before him, will long be remembered as faithful janitors in Fords School *7.
When new classrooms were built in 1920, the gymnasium and auditorium were added as
well and classrooms for the Manual Arts and Domestic Science Programs. The curriculum
set up in Number seven at that time served the seventh and eighth grade pupils from Num-
ber Fourteen, Keasbey, and Hopelawn as well as those children in School Number Seven.
Late in the fall of 19-59 the new Fords Jr. High School was nearing completion and since
then Fords #7 had become an elementary school only, serving children in grad>.s from
Kindergarten through the sixth.
Today, Fords School #7 is again crowded. Every inch of space is being used for class-
rooms including the old manual arts room where the kindergarten classes are held and the
domestic science room, which houses one of the first grades. The kitchen is the school's all
purpose room. Mrs. Ludewig said that this used to be where the wood and tools for the
manual training classes were stored. Today it serves as the teachers" room and once a week
as a class room for the children receiving speech therapy. It is also the place where the
nurse tests children's hearing and examines children's eyes. Here also. Dr. Cooperman ex-
amines the children. This room contains a gas stove, a sink with running hot and cold water,
a refrigerator and a large hot water heater. It has tables, chairs, and couches. In this room
the kindergarten children bake their cookies and older children try out recipes in Science
class. At least once a month, sometimes more frequently, the members of the Executive board
of the P. T.A. have their meetings there. Every day the teachers eat lunch there.
This past summer School #7 underwent a new face lifting program in the basement. The
old coal furnaces were torn out and a new oil burning apparatus was installed to equip the
building with automatic heat. This is a great improvement as School #7 is used in the eve-
ning by Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts as well as other organizations who appreciate the con-
venience of a uniform heating system. The Brownies and Girl Scouts use the building after
Fords School #7 has come a long way since the days of the original two room wooden
building. Sanitary facilities and heating equipment have provided comforts children did not
dream of in 1858. The free play of the old time "recess" period has grown into an organized
program of physical fitness development. The much loved "gym" period today was unheard
of in the curriculum of yesterday.
As physical education has changed so has science instruction. The early Fords children
learned about pollywogs and frogs by playing in the ponds and the water of "Sling Taile
Brook". Today our children are given a progressive series of science lessons relative to living
and non living things and they perform experiments in line with the child's development on
all grade levels.
The music program as it is known in public schools today is another example of growth
in knowledge. The songs of long ago, sung around the piano, developed into special choruses
and graded assembly groups. Children receive lessons in music and art during the school
day. The boy of yesterday who liked to play a fiddle or toot on a horn has an opportunity
to get instruction on his favorite instrument during a music period without having to pay
for his lessons. Then when he learns to read music at sight, he is priveleged to become part
of the school orchestra. The old geography and history lessons have undergone change,
also. Today the "Social Studies" programs are enriched with colorful film strips, motion
pictures and other types of visual aids. The picnic that the children of the Fairfield Union
School enjoyed under the trees or "down by the brook" has turned into an all day excursion
in which today's boys and girls visit zoos, museums, airports, the United Nations and in this
Tercentenary year, the New York World's Fair.
Mrs. Ludewig says that in the late 1920's when a teacher wanted to take the children to the
Bronx Zoo, school days were not allowed for that purpose. They had to go on Saturday.
Then they would take a train at the railroad station, ride on a ferry boat across the Hudson
River from Jersey City to New York, walk from Liberty Street to the subway station and ride
on the subway under the city streets to the Bronx Zoo. The trip would begin about 7:30 in
the morning and the group would get home about 7:30 in the evening. Today, these kinds
of excursions are taken by bus. The children board a comfortable motor coach in front of
their school, are transported to their exact destination and back, and the entire experience
takes place on a school day.
Today, school children take for granted improvements that boys and girls of yesterday
would have considered rare luxuries or impossibilities. We have television programs and
radios which enable us to watch or listen to history as it happens in America, such as the
launching of a space rocket or the details of the assassination of President Kennedy. Years
ago children had only the newspapers to tell them these things. We have beautiful reference
guides that move about in book shelves on wheels. We have maps and globes and library
books. Our text books are interesting and well illustrated and we do not have to buy them.
However, Fords #7 school is crowded. We need more space. Many of us have suggestions
for enlarging and improving our school. We asked our principal, Mrs. Dorothy
F. D. Ludewig if she knew of any plans for expansion. She said she had many ideas but
only time could tell what the plans might hold for the future.
Picture shows children visiting
the Perth Amboy Evening News
office to examine an old newspaper
which has been preserved in micro-
film. In this way they learned the
story of the demolition of the
ancient elm tree that used to stand
on the comer of King George
Road and New Brunswick Avenue
From left to right — Carolyn
Terefenko, Philip Mingin, Karen
Wantuch and Andrea Egan.
Andrea holds a piece of the bark
which her grandfather, ex-police
chief John Egan, picked up the
day the tree was felled. She is
keeping it as a souvenir.
During the months the ciiiidren of Fords #7 were seeking information for their book "Fords, Yesterday and
Today" they did much research. This picture shows Miss Nielson telling stories of early New Jersey history in
the children's room of the Perth Amboy library.
Kindergartens were unknown in
the wooden school of yesterday.
Today's children's first school
experiences are tied closely with
the home. Playing house is a
Education today includes' enrichment programs of a cultural value. Children enjoy puppet plays,
motion pictures and magic shows in their own school auditorium. Picture above shows kindergarten children,
examining puppets which played "Alice in Wonderland".
First graders learn about chil-
dren in other lands through their
Fourth grade children study the
effects of electric currents.
Boys and girls enjoy a modern science curriculum teaching the fundamentals of living and non living things.
Fifth grade pupils prepare exhibits for the annual Science Fair.
Sixth grade children fashion
prehistoric animals to illustrate an
era in the history of man.
Today's children learn the mean-
ing of responsibility and service
to others. The school patrols and
service corps are pictured above.
Field trips are planned to enrich the curriculum in Social Studies, Science and English. Comfortable, air con-
ditioned motor coaches are used to transport children to various places of interest.
Traffic was no problem when
children attended school in 1900.
Today trained guards guide chil-
dren across the streets. Mrs. Ella
Klein safely leads Fords *7
youngsters across the busy King
George Road intersection at Hoy
The Little Theatre Workshop is
an extra Curricula activity which
was organized in the winter of
1962-63 to provide enrichment
experiences for those children
whose capabilities and interests
warrant an opportunity to explore
their talents for interpretative
speech and dramatic art.
The picture to the right shows
two students as they appeared in
the benefit performance of "Peter
and Wendy"" for the publication
of "Fords, Yesterday and Today"".
They are Philip Mingin as "Peter""
and Carolyn Terefenko as
Fords School #7 Schqol orchestra is composed of children from Grades three through six. A wide range of
instruments are played. Instruction is part of the regular curriculum.
The special chorus is composed of fifth and sixth graders whose voices are trained to sing music suitable for
Students of "The Miss Ruth School of Dance" who played the role of the Indians in "Peter and Wendy" for
the benefit of the publication of "Fords, Yesterday and Today".
From left to right, front row, Nancy Maloney, Marissa Mika, Donna Mosolgo, Judy Fugate; back row, Ellen
Harkay, Illona Kessel, Christy Quadt, Nancy Dueker.
PRIVATE DANCING AND MUSIC SCHOOLS IN FORDS
Fords is fortunate to have four schools in the community that offer private instruction in
dance and music.
The Miss Ruth School of Dance is located at 465 New Brunswicli Avenue. Mrs.
Ruth Hauser is the director. She lives outside of Fords but conducts classes in ballet, tap and
toe dancing for children who come from a wide area in the vicinity. Her students have gained
a reputation of accomplishment in poise and control of physical movement as well as grace
and charm in interpretation.
Many local organizations have been favored by performances of Miss Ruth's students of
Another dance studio known as the King George Academy of Dance and Charm is located
at 867 King George Road. The directors, Mrs. Leah Brody and Mrs. Candy Pattis are resi-
dents of Fords. Students attending this school receive training in ballroom dancing as well
as ballet, acrobatics and tap dancing. The studio also features a charm school and a pro-
gram of slim-nasties and trapeze instruction.
In 1954 Sammy Ray's Music Shop came to town. It is located at 467 New Brunswick
Avenue. Mr. Sam La Quadra is the director but he is known professionally as "Sammy Ray".
Instruction in guitar, accordian, trumpet, banjo and electric bass is offered.
Another music school known as the "American Music Studio" is located at 536 New Bruns-
wich Avenue. In 1953 Mr. Arthur Braza from Metuchen began giving lessons to private
students. In this studio pupils may study piano, guitar and accordian. Students come from a
wide area and many of them are adults.
Fords Corner was partially
located in Woodbridge Township
and partially in Raritan Township.
That part was Raritan Township
is today known as "Edison Town-
ship. The Lady of Peace Church
of Fords is located in Edison Twp.
HISTORY OF OUR LADY OF PEACE CHURCH
Near the end of the Civil War men looking for work in the claybanks and brickyards,
began to move their families into the Sand Hill section of the Fords area. Those rich in
faith and courage traveled great distances in those days to attend Sunday Mass. Some re-
cords say these men and women "walked or rode by wagon" to St. James' Church in Wood-
bridge, St. Mary's Church in Perth Amboy and St. Peter's Church in New Brunswick. It is
believed the first Mass celebrated in the Sand Hill Section was in a hall and said by a priest
sent from St. Francis's Church in Metuchen. It is known that the William O. Reilly homestead,
now demolished, located opposite the Sand Hills School, was used for the Celebration of
Mass. It was later authorized to buy land on October 15, 1919. This land was to become the
site for what is now Our Lady of Peace Church. Our Lady of Peace parish became a mission
of St. Mary's in Perth Amboy and on October 26, 1919 the first Sunday Mass was celebrated
in the Fairfield School, now Public School #7. Monsignor Cantwell was the celebrant and the
altar boys were Joseph Dambach and Leo Kennedy. Mass continued to be said at the Fair-
field School for some time and then a building owned by the Knights of Columbus, located
at the Raritan Arsenal was moved to what is now the parking lot of the Annex. This building
was known as "The Hut". The Hut was the center of all parish activities for many years.
Also, Mass was celebrated there. John Egan, Sr. served as custodian and the Chalice and
Ciborium were kept in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Gelling.
Miss Elizabeth Egan was the first organist, and to this day is still the organist. She also
helped organize the choir at "The Hut". The Hut was acquired through Rev.
Charles Prendergast as the curate in charge of the Mission Church. On July 12, 1927 land
which was to become the site for the combination school and church was purchased from
Michael Shannon for $24,000. The building was to be erected for the sum of $99,978.00.
During Father Larkin's pastorate the first school was opened and staffed by the Sisters
of Notre Dame, a semi-cloistered order. The Sisters used the small rooms on the second floor
Our Lady of Peace School is
also located in that part of Fords
Corner which lies in Kdison.
of the school for their chapel, refectory and kitchen. One classroom served as a dorinitory.
Father Larkin was succeeded by Rev. Joseph F. Ketter. It was he who purchased the church
organ, and purchased the convent on Wolff Avenue.
On September 8, 1940 Mother M. Athenaseus and four Sisters of the Sisters of St. Joseph
came to Our Lady of Peace to teach school. For two years these Sisters lived in two vacant
classrooms. In 1943 Rev. William Sheridan became the Pastor. He improved the church
buildings and grounds and added four rooms to the rectory. He tackled a $100,000 debt and
with the parishioners' help the debt was down to $55,000. After Father Sheridan's death.
Rev. John E. Grimes took over the parish. That was May of 1947. The remaining debt was
paid off and Rev. Grimes started an expansion program.
The Annex was built in 1941. It had six classrooms and an auditorium. The auditorium
as well as the church were used to celebrate the Mass. In 1951 property on the south and
west side of the annex at Saffran andWalsh Avenues was added to the parish. Bishop George
W. Ahr suggested building a new church, ground for which was broken on October 12, 1953.
The church was completed, and Soleinn Dedication took place on Sunday, August 14, 1955.
After Father Grimes was transferred the Rev. Joseph Brzonowski became Pastor.
Sister Theresa Catherine is the principal of the school.
A new convent was built on Saffran and Walsh Avenues in 1962. The convent has 23
rooms, and houses 13 Sisters. Today the parish has 14 lay teachers to aid the Sisters in
teaching the 1,340 students enrolled.
There are 3,000 families registered in the church.
FORDS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Hoy Avenue, Fords, N.J.
The Slovak people of Fords, N.J. were connected with the Perth Amboy church. At first
the plan was to build one church in Perth Amboy, but the people of Fords had a desire to
have a church built in Fords. After many conferences with the representatives of the Elizabeth
Presbytery, it was decided to build two churches; one in Perth Amboy, and one in Fords.
This arrangement was made with the understanding that only one minister would serve
In 1925 lots were purchased on Hoy Avenue and the laying of the corner stone took place
on October 4, 1925. The first service in the new church was held and conducted by Rev.
Joseph Simko and Rev. Joseph I. Ewing on Christmas Day of 1925.
The first officers of the church were; George Sharick St., John Bodnarik, John Valocik,
Michael Janik and Michael Sharick.
Rev. Andrew Slabey with Mr. Sandor Kovacs as assistant minister, served the church
until Rev. Michael Magyar came to Perth Amboy and took charge of both fields.
Services were held in Slovak and English, half an hour each with two sermons.
The Rev. Michael Magyar passed away in March, 1961, after serving the congregation for
thirty three years. Rev. Peter Sharick served as supply pastor until Dr. Frank Kovach came
to serve the congregation. The name of the church was then changed from Slovak
Presbyterian church to The Fords Presbyterian Church, with the services in English only.
Rev. Dr. Kovach a former dean of Bloomfield Seminary conducts services every Sunday
at nine o'clock in the morning. He also brought about the reorganization of the Sunday
School that has classes at ten o'closk every Sunday morning.
OUR REDEEMER LUTHERAN CHURCH OF FORDS
The Lutheran Church in Fords had its beginning in the Uving room of the home of Mr.
and Mrs. Nels Skov at 42 Ford Avenue, when a Sunday School Class began meeting there
in 1908. The Reverend V. B. Skov, the brother of Mr. Nels Skov, was pastor of Our Savior's
Lutheran Church, Perth Amboy, and was concerned about the welfare of members and chil-
dren living in Fords. In the Fall of 1909, a small chapel was erected at the corner of First
and Fourth Streets on a lot 50'x50', which was donated by Mr. Nels Skov. The work of the
Sunday School and occasional services continued under the pastorate of Pastor Skov.
In 1919, the Reverend Arthur L. Kreyling, associate pastor of Our Savior's, Perth Amboy,
divided his time between the Perth Amboy church and the mission in Fords. The chapel soon
became too small, and under the guidance of a building committee composed of Nels Skov,
Christian Ostergaard and Henry Andersen, the chapel was enlarged. In 1920 another addi-
tion was built for the growing Sunday School and a kitchen for the Ladies' Aid Society.
On May 31, 1921, the name of the congregation was voted to be "Our Redeemer's Evan-
gelical Lutheran Church of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession". The first officers under the
new constitution adopted in August of that year were: President, M. Williamsen; Vice President,
C. Jorgensen; Secretary, T. Martensen; Treasurer, N. Skov; Elders, J. Frick, J. L. Andersen
and P. Dall; Trustees, N. Skov, C. Jorgensen and P. Dall; Deacons, A. Nonnenberg, O. Skov,
L. Schelling and P. Hansen.
Plans were drawn for a parsonage, and on March 12, 1922, the contract to build was
given to Mr. Hans Dinesen. On July 5th, the parsonage was consecrated, and the next day the
Reverend Arthur L. Kreyling and his family moved into it.
Twice in the following years more land was purchased and added to the church property.
Then, once again, it became necessary to expand. The ground breaking service for a new
and larger church was held October 8, 1939, and the old chapel was donated and moved
to a new location on Corrielle Street, to be used by the Women's Club of Fords for a Town
Library and Club House. The parsonage was also moved over to First Street to make
room for the new church. During the building process, services and Sunday School were
held in the auditorium of School No. 14. It was on May 12, 1940, that the dedication of
the new church at the corner of Ford Avenue and Fourth Streets was held.
The years passed. Pastor Kreyling retired, and a newly ordained, young minister, the
Reverend Eldon R. Stohs, became the new pastor. Many new families moving into the area
increased the congregation and swelled the enrollment of the Sunday School so that once
more additional facilities became necessary. Thus, on January 17, 1960, the congregation
gathered for the dedication of the Lutheran Education Center and the enlarged church. The
Education Center houses a Christian Day School now, and in 1965 will have classes from
Kindergarten through the Sixth Grades.
ST. JOHN'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Fords, New Jersey
This is in reality not a churcii but a chapel or mission.
This chapel was founded in 1920. Not having a church or any other property the con-
gregation heard mass in the auditorium of No. 7 school in Fords for many years.
When the mission was first established it was under the jurisdiction of St. Luke's Church
in Metuchen. For many years its spiritual leader was Rev. Arnold Fenton, a student priest,
who was the son of Father John Fenton, pastor of St. Luke's.
On September 1, 1923 the congregation purchased two lots on Hamilton Avenue, Fords.
These lots are designated as No. 37 and No. 38 on Map of Fairfield Terrace which is filed
in the Middlesex County Clerk's Office as map number 1160, file number 660. The aforesaid
two lots are 25' front by 118.35' in depth.
Because St. John's at this time had no official rank, title to the property was taken in the
names of R. Bowden Shepherd, John F. Fenton, W. D. Hoy, J. Howard FuUerton and Henry
Looser, Trustees who in turn conveyed the property on April 20, 1929 to The Trustees of
the Cathedral Foundation of the Diocese of New Jersey where title still remains.
On June 15, 1929 two adjoining lots were purchased. These two lots have approximately
the same dimensions as the other two and are known as Lots 39 and 40 on
the aforementioned map.
In 1929 a church was constructed upon the most southerly part of the property. This was
done because the church was to be a temporary one, which was to be supplanted sometime
in the future with a premanent structure. The original church was tiny and had no basement.
On All Saints Day, which was November 1, 1942, Wallace John Gardner, Bishop of New
Jersey by his Sentence of Consecration, placed the chapel under the jurisdiction of St. Peter's
Church in Perth Amboy and named the mission St. John's Chapel of St. Peter's Church. For
some years Oiereafter the Very Rev. George H. Boyd of St. Peter's was the spiritual leader
of St. John's.
After World War II St. John's ceased to be under the jurisdiction of St. Peter's and assumed
the status of an independent mission with its own priest.
In 1940 Father Boyd gifted St. John's with a used ambulance. This was the beginning of
the local ambulance squad. When this squad was first incorporated, it was known as St.
John's Episcopal First Aid Squad. Later, when other religious groups became interested in
the work of the squad, the word Episcopal was dropped from the name. This organization
has, since 1940 served this community with high efficiency and skill.
The present objectives of St. John's are to achieve church status and erect a new church
which can better fill the needs of the community.
St. John's sponsors Boy Scout Troop No. 51. Its active organizations are the "Parent
Teachers Association", "Men's Club", "Episcopal Young Churchmen" and the "Altar Guild".
St. John's is now led by the very able and beloved Reverend Leslie W. Hewett.
WESLEY METHODIST CHURCH
Wesley Methodist Church on Woodbridge Avenue had it's origin in Perth Amboy on July
11, 1872 with a class of nineteen people with Jacob Thompson as their leader. It was in-
corporated as a church according to the state law of New Jersey on October 26, 1874. This
date has been followed as the true legal status of the church.
On July 2, 1876 the first church building at 320 State Street, Perth Amboy, was completed.
The next site for the church was on the corner of Jefferson St. and Madison Ave., again in
Perth Amboy. This building was dedicated on December 17, 1899. The church was then
known as the People's Methodist Church.
A fire in this building in 1957 caused partial damage and prompted the congregation to
relocate and build anew on Woodbridge Avenue. This church was consecrated on April 3,
1960. But again, the church was plagued by fire, on September 27, 1963 an arsonist's fire
caused extensive damage to the beautiful new building, and at this writing, February, 1964
the church is now being restored.
Mr. Anton P. Hyldahl will be 91 years old May 2nd, 1964. He is the oldest living member
of the Wesley Methodist Church.
RAMOT CHAPTER — B'NAI BRITH — FORDS
The Fords Chapter of B'nai Brith is called Ramot Chapter. It was organized in 1959.
B"nai Brith are Hebrew words meaning "The Children of the Covenant". This organization
has as its membership only women of the Hebrew faith and was founded to unite Jewry. One
of its first functions was the care of the widow and the orphan, when they were founded in
1843 in New York City. It is now an International organization. In 1901 the first chapter
was formed in Los Angeles, and Chapter #2 was formed in Newark, New Jersey, and is
still a very active group.
B'nai Brith has an organization within an organization known as A.D.L. the world over.
These letters stand for Anti Defamation League. This branch is dedicated to investigate un-
desireable characters and follows through until just sentence has been meted out, even going
so far as deportation. A.D.L. supplies information to those who ask for it, and is assured of
The Fords Chapter is comprised, as are all chapters, of only women. They support the
only Arthritic hospital in the country, the Leo Levi Hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
They also support a home for distrubed children in Israel.
This Chapter has had a program called "Dolls for Democracy"" and had shown it through-
out the area, teaching non segregation, that all men are created equal. They have distributed
date books to schools explaining fully all religious, legal, and National holidays, including
audio visuals and booklets.
Fords does not have a synagogue, and the Hebrew families are affilliated with
the synagogues in Perth Amboy, whence their parents came and had established their roots.
Ramot Chapter holds their meetings in the Neve Sholom Synagogue in Metuchen because
it is closer to them. This chapter had been a regular visitor to the residents at Menlo Park
Home for Disabled Veterans, giving parties for these men. It also contributes funds to B'nai
Brith Vocational Services in Newark which offers a testing program which helps guide chil-
dren toward choosing worthwhile careers and means of making a livelihood.
The youth group sponsored by them is known as the B B Girls. These girls are being
taught the fundamentals of B'nai Brith, that they may take up the reins of their elders m time
Grace Lutheran Parish House, now Plumbers
Union HaU, Fords, N. J.
GRACE LUTHERAN CHURCH
Since 1958 The Grace Lutheran Church has been serving the needs of the people of Fords
in their new building on New Brunswick Avenue in Perth Amboy. But since the activities and
services which were conducted in the Parish House on King George Road served the spiritual
needs of its members during a critical time of the town's growth, its story is included here.
Further Congregational outreach resulted as a branch Sunday School which was formed in
Fords where a large portion of the membership had moved. Originally meeting in the Fords
Fire House (November 11, 1923) property was purchased on King George Road
for $4,000.00 and a Parish House built for approximately $6,000.00 (February 1924). The
building was completed and ready for use by September of the same year. Although Sunday
School was supervised by the Church and Pastor Schlotter held occasional Sunday evening
services there, the original plan was eventually to establish a separate congregation which
would repay the Perth Amboy Congregation for the money which had been expended.
(January 1919) — With a special effort in its 20th Anniversary year, the old mortgage was
paid off; the Congregation was more than ready to assume a new one $9,600.00 to finance
the Fords Parish House.
During the forties regular repair and renewal of the church properties was arranged, and
in November 1949, the mortgage, contracted to build the Fords Parish House, was paid off.
The membership was sharply divided at this time in its sentiments concerning the future
development of the church. Loyalties had built up during the 30 years of work in Fords;
had it not been for the crushing blow of the Depression, the original intention to form a
separate congregation in Fords might well have been realized. As it was, many who had
been active in the work at the Fords Parish House believed the Congregation's future should
be at that location; the Perth Amboy portion of the membership, of course, favored develop-
ment at the old site.
Additional property was purchased at the Fords location (June 1953); a $10,000.00 "do-
it-yourself" enlarging of the Fords Parish House and renovation of the Church was approved
(January 1954) the building was completed in Fords, dedicated and regular Sunday worship
services held by March 1955.
Recognizing that there was insufficient membership at either location to maintain separate
work effectively, the Council sought for a means to maintain the organizational unity of the
Congregation. After numerous meetings, a special meeting of the membership (June 12, 1956)
voted to sell both existing facilities and to relocate to an intermediate location. The "Convery
Property" on New Brunswick Avenue was purchased (August 1956) for $50,000.00; property
was purchased from the City of Perth Amboy for the parsonage on Neville Street (July
1957); final approval was given to the sale of existing facilities, the plans for the new church
and parsonage, and the awarding of the building contract for $224,600.00 (November 1957).
The property in Fords was sold for approximately $25,000.00.
Events continued to move in rapid succession. Ground-breaking Services (December 1957)
were foUowed by the last services in the old Church and Parish House (June 1958).
ST. NICHOLAS BYZANTINE CATHOLIC CHURCH
The St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church was first organized by thirteen families. They
were given a charter and incorporated as a church on April 15, 1898 under the name of
St. Octa Nikolaja Greek Catholic Congregation. Representing these families were Mr. Andrew
Dudics, Mr. George Archy, Mr. George Dudics, Mr. Micheal Dudik, Mr. Joseph Ondrik, Mr.
George Hegyes, Mr. John Choma, Mr. John Yakubik, Mr. Imre Demscak, Mr.
Andrew Smoliga, Mr. Joe Ondrik, Mr. George Gulya, Mr. Paul Suha, Mr. Micheal Chinchar.
In 1918 they started to make plans to purchase land on Second St. Fords, where the church
stands today. This land was purchased from William Gross and Nettie Gross his wife, on
April 17, 1918.
Ground was broken to build a small church in 1921 and the corner stone was laid on
May 30, 1922. It contained only ten pews.
As the congregation grew the church had to be extended and made larger but they had to
purchase more land on Fourth St. This they did from Antonette T. Seiboth through Massopust
Bros. Company, on June 1, 1927. Then in 1935 the church rectory was built. Both church
and rectory were built by Mr. John Salaki of Fords.
The first Mass was celebrated by Father Lipeczky in 1922.
The first Church Trustees were Mr. Geogre Hegyes, Mr. Imre Demscak, Mr. Micheal
Chinchar and Mr. John Archy.
One of the first babies baptized in 1921 was Yolan Dudik, the first marriage was Julia
Rimar of Jersey City to George Gulya Jr. of Fords on Oct. 1, 1922.
The first church pastor was Father Papp followed by Father Dolinay, Father Lukas, Father
Julius Woytovich, Father David Bachovsky and the present pastor Father John Onesko.
Mr. John Petach of Perth Amboy became the first cantor and choir director in 1922 and
after 42 years is still choir director. He organized the first choir in 1924 with 40 members.
The first church organization was the Altar Rosary Society.
In later years the church changed it's name to St. Nicholas Greek Catholic Church and still
later to it's present name St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church.
Organizations of the parish to date are St. Nicholas Ladies Guild, Holy Name Society,
the Children of Mary, St. Nicholas Men and Women Bowling League, Young Boys Basket-
ball League and Girl Cheerleaders. Also the St. Nicholas Pirohi Women who conduct their
food sales each Friday making and selling to the public their home made Slavonic dishes.
Catechism is taught to the children of the parish by the nuns who belong to the Order of
the White Sisters of Africa from New Brunswick, N.J.
To date there are more than 158 families or 658 persons who belong to St. Nicholas
Byzantine Catholic Church.
Melvin H. Clum once owned the property on which School #14, the second oldest public
school in Fords is located. It was ready for occupancy in September, 1924, when it opened
with a full house. Mr. Howard Sharp was the first principal and there were twelve teachers.
At that time there were very few houses in the neighborhood. The surrounding area was
mostly open fields. There was a store called Butler's Grocery on the corner of Ford Avenue
and Main Street and a big dairy farm on west Main Street owned by a Mr. Ericksen. Directly
in back of School #14 there was an airplane shop which later grew into a factory which
made cement stones and ornate scrolls used to decorate buildings.
Gradually, the farm land around School #14 was sold and cut up into building lots. New
families moved into the area and School #14 became a popular place for entertainment.
Fords Fire Company held minstrel and variety shows there and well known basket ball
teams played their games there. Fourteen is an elementary school accommodating children
in grades kindergarten through sixth. Mr. Howard Sharp was the first principal. He served
from the time the school opened in 1924 until 1955 when Mrs. Lillian Aaroe be-
came principal. Mrs. Aaroe will retire in June, 1964.
Today there are two new public schools in Fords. Both of them are built in what was a
wildernefes not too many years ago. Fords Jr. High is a beautiful building, long, low and
rambling, located beyond the New Jersey Turnpike between Main Street and Route #1, south
of Ford Avenue. It opened in January, 1960 to accommodate the seventh, eighth and ninth
grade children from the elementary schools Fords #7, Fords #14, Lafayette Estates #25,
Hopelawn, Menlo Park Terrace, and Keasbey. Most children are transported to Fords Jr.
High by bus. Mr. Conniff is the principal. There are approximately 1200 children in this
School #25 is located in a new housing development in Fords known as Lafayette Estates.
It lies between Ford Avenue and the Garden State Parkway west of Route #1. Like the Fords
Junior High it is a one story structure arranged more on the campus style layout. It houses
elementary school children in grades from the kindergarten through the sixth. Mr. Robert
Zanzalari is the principal. There are approximately six hundred children in this school.
GRAND MARSHAL — John
Peterson, now 83, was there in
Mel Clum's general store the night
Fire Company Number One was
organized in 1911. Today, he is
grand marshal of the Golden
Anniversary parade. He is the
only survivor of the original
HISTORY OF FORDS FIRE COMPANY
In Melvin Clum's general store on September 19, 1911, a group of eager Fords townsmen
organized the first Fords Fire Co. They began with a force of twenty two men and a hand-
drawn chemical wagon. During the next year they bought a horse-drawn hose cart from the
city of Perth Amboy for ten dollars.
About the same time the group were able to locate a site to house their apparatus on
Corrielle Street and the following April contracted for a building to house the volunteers and
their equipment. Following a regular business meeting on August 26, 1912, members played
host to townfoLks marking the opening of their new headquarters.
Today we are proud of the fire company which has fifty volunteers and four full-time
drivers. They have two powerful pumper trucks completely equipped with two-way radio,
walkie-talkies and loud speaker systems as well as the usual ladders, hose, chemicals and
nets. In 1912 fire hydrants were put on street corners by the order of the Middlesex Water
REAL HORbE-POWER — After
pulling a chemical truck for almost
a year, the men of the company
welcomed their first horse-drawn
vehicle. It was a hose cart, bought
from the City of Perth Amboy for
ten dollars. Seen in the above
photo are (Left to right): Phil
F'ischer, Andy Lucas, John Egan,
Joseph Rowan, Jim Hamilton,
Marcus Braun, Clary Dunham,
Mel Clum, EUis Mundy, Charles
Shuck, Charles Anderson, Ole
Jensen, Mike Yanosky, Martin
Williamson, Jim Rogan, Charles
Alexander, Jim Halbert, "Stuffy"
Reilly, George Westergard, Frank
Stausberg, Lauritz W. Smith,
Wagondriver George Liddle,
"Pop" Moore (also on the wagon),
Peter Hanson, Mads Madsen and
Albert Larson, (Standing in the
PROGRESS, ITS WONDKR-
I'LJL — Forty years are spanned
by the photo of Fords Fire Com-
pany's horse-drawn hose cart of
1912, which appears on Page 3
and the above photo of the com-
pany's modern equipment. The
International 750-gaIlon pumper
(Left) was acquired by the com-
pany in 1948, while the General
Motors Corporation 500-gallon
pumper was purchased five years
The Fords Fire Company has had 44 chiefs. There are 50 or maybe more now volunteers,
plus 4 full-time paid drivers. The group spends 15 hours per week, per man for this volunteer
work, in 1961 they celebrated their 50th Golden Anniversary.
Though its beginning was humble the group, through its enthusiasm and loyalty to purpose,
can now look back over the years upon a record of outstanding achievements. It is a record
that the community can be proud of.
TRAIN DISASTER — The
collapse of a railroad trestle, which
was under repair, caused one of
the greatest railroad catastrophies
in the United States. The train,
loaded with homeward bound com-
mutors early in 1950, hurtled from
the collapsing trestle. Close to 100
persons lost their lives before
emergency units, including ambu-
lances and fire trucks, reached the
disaster scene. Members of Fords
Fire Company No. 1 and St.
John's First Aid Squad worked
tirelessly for many hours extrica-
ting the dead and injured from the
piles of twisted steel.
Daper office. One man was assigned to guard it
the Lincolns decided to give the triangle (the original,
the Keyport Engine Co. to be used as that borough's
ashingtons. however, didn't like the idea and planned
leciired the triangle and left Keyport with the bor-
stable hot on their heels. It was hidden, for the ne.xt
under a dock and in private homes,
erth Amboy Exempt Firemen's Association gained
of the trophy and took it to Poughkeepsje, N.Y,
as "stolen" and "recovered " on numerous occasions.
!. the Eagles got into the act by "borrowing" the
id hiding it beneath a closet floor for the next five
ner had the McClellans (confused?) displayed it at
n 1918, than the Garfields stole it and stashed the
,ay for 16 years.
ilaced it before the public in 1934 only to have it
,' the Exempts. By this time almost everyone, with
on of the U.S. Navy, had gotten into the act.
be left out, the Navy complied with a demand by
;n of a search of the USS Sturdevant. a vessel moored
mboy for the city's 250th anniversary celebration.
?men found the triangle and placed it in a Patterson
iing. It hasn't been heard of again until yesterday,
sby made the announcement of the plans for the
and daggers may be the uniform of the day for
en at the parade Saturday. Undoubtedly, the triangle
s its escort a strong-armed honor guard or two.
is be enough, however, to keep the prized trophy
icate) in Fords?
no less) to
first fire a
a second i
where it u
a parade i
in Perth Ai
will have a
(or its dupl
a mysterious shroud was to hang
Iiich four members were associated
e Co., voted to consider donating
Fire Co. of Tottenville in 1887.
triangle disappeared and turned up
mger of Perth Amboyans.
Amboy lawyer, offered his services
in an effort to regain the trophy
decided that they would regain pos-
jsures. During an 1888 visit to the
oticed" the triangle unguarded near
jf the area's greatest naval missions
IS in a rented oyster skiff braved the
?arted away their elusive treasure,
ted when the triangle was placed in
on the New Jersey side which took
.d on New Brunswick Avenue near
Tied into Perth Amboy the following
phy. Armed with a court order for
•ame to the city confident.
, though, as Amboyans, warned of
ied the triangle on the property of
lere, the local firemen removed the
ice along the waterfront.
place, the firemen took it lo Patrick
jplicate was cast,
dden under the floor in a Perth Am-
For the next 75 years
er the triangle wherever
The city council, of wl
th the Washington Hos.
'. triangle to the Eureka 1
Shortly thereafter, the
Tottenville much to the ;
Thomas Cooke, a South
the Lincoln Hose Co.
ough legal means.
The Lincolns, however,
;sion by not-so-lega! me:
and, they "accidentally n
■ Eureka firehouse.
A few nights later, one i
s launched. Seven Lincoir
-choked Arthur Kill and <
The mission was comple
vaiting horsedrawn sleigh
to Langan's Lumber Yai
Tottenville firemen stori
/ in quest of "their " tro
triangle's return, they c
They left empty-handed
islanders approach, bur
nes Tooker on State Stre
Fearing its discovery tli
ingle to a new hiding pla
Still unsure of the hiding
ite's Foundry where a di
The original was then hii
o ^ "z:
.S 5:5 i3-S^
s.^ «^.^ -si !■? So S
an old locomotive
ire alarm from 1883
een as elusive as a
tenville and Keyport
re-stolen more times
to steal it Saturday."
we'll defend it with
ren't even sure if it
fact seems to make
len even a duplicate
buried in the sand,
DSS the bay in the
'S. naval vessel,
Perth Amboy City
in the rear of the
le place of the bell
lal for a Perth Am-
iplaced the triangle
S s 11
1 a U
By RICHARD MEI
Evening News Staff
; — The famed Triangle will
at the 50th anniversary par
)0-pound trophy, fashioned _
5 first used as Perth Ambb
/car history .shows that it li
!e of honor to Perth Amboy
le Triangle has been stolen
berries from a neighborhood
;pect Perth Amboy firemen tc
f S. William Hornsby said.
ilained that the Fords firem
triangle or a good duplicate,
ence, however, for to area
an no triangle at all.
history, the triangle has b
private homes, transported
he night and even sought or
angle was a gift from ./ames
igh Valley Railroad Co., tc
Ily, it hung between two f
d Protection firehou.se. takii
pson Methodist Church as a
;. a modern fire alarm be
then stored in the Lincoln
^, is _ CC .S CC - ^ o O
Ex-police Chief John Egan and
Motorcycle officer Meyer Larson.
Fords policemen are members of the Woodbridge Township Police Force which has its
headquarters in the town hall in Woodbridge. Their history is the history of the force as it
applies to the growth and development of the department in Woodbridge Township and the
early history as well as the history of more recent events can be found in Ruth Wolk's "His-
tory of Woodbridge" which was published by the Woodbridge Publishing Co. in 1957.
This article deals largely with stories of policemen from Fords who served on the
Woodbridge Township Police Force. In the old days these officers were confronted with many
people who came to this country without any knowledge of the laws of their new land. Most
of them came to work in the clay pits and the brick factories and strikes and labor troubles
gave the policemen a hard time. It was difficult for an officer patrolling the Fords Section
in the early days to handle offenders. There was no transportation that would enable the
policeman who found it necessary to make an arrest to get violators of the law
to Woodbridge to be jailed. Since there were no police cars or paddy wagons, an officer
had to transport an offender on the trolley on a long, round-about journey through Fords,
Keasbey, Perth Amboy and Sewaren before he reached his destination. By the time the officer
arrived with his culprit he had experienced a pretty rough time.
Before the traffic lights were in-
stalled police guided traffic from a
little booth on New Brunswick
Avenue and King George Road.
If a motorist didn't stop the police
officer went after him on a motor-
House in the rear is the old
Liddle homestead which was
demolished to make room for the
First Bank and Trust Company.
The John Liddle House that
used to stand where Our Lady of
Peace Church is now located. The
house was moved when the church
was built. The lady in the picture
is Mrs. John Liddle.
Some of the officers from Fords who suffered these hardships were as follows: Robert Egan,
one of the oldest, now deceased. Other old members were John Cholar and Marty Lybeck.
As the township grew Woodbridge added more men from Fords to the police force. Among
these were George Balint, Jack Egan, William Gloff and Fred Larsen. He was the first round
sergeant. Other officers were Frank Szallar, John Ondeyko, Arndt Peterson, Andrew Ludwig
and Charles Waggenhoffer, George Misak, Eugene Martin, Robert Oleson, Jack Manton,
Rudolph Gloff and James Irvin. Robert Egan is a motor cycle cop and Frank Patyi is a
detective. Other Fords policemen are John and Stephen Yuhasz, Joseph Dalton and patrohnan
James Egan who is the son of the oldest Fords policeman, ex-police chief John Egan. John
Faczak was a policeman but he resigned to become a school teacher.
Unlike the trim blue uniforms worn by policemen today, those of earlier times had clumsy
suits. They wore helmet hats which were hard and strong and served as a shield in case
they were struck upon the head. They did not have the modern equipment of today's officer
and were unable to detect crimes as scientifically as policemen of modern times. He was lucky
if he was given a badge, a club, a revolver, a pair of twisters, a notebook and a book from
which to issue a summons. When he was sent to patrol a beat the only instructions he was
given was "Use Your Head."
Fords can be proud of the selection of men who have served the Woodbridge Township
Police Force. A fair share of them have advanced to superior officers during their careers.
John Egan was made chief of police in 1954 and remained in that position until he retired
Some of the developments which have helped the policemen from Fords as well as all
those from other parts of the Township are those that have been contributed by the New
Jersey State Legislature. In October, 1920, the State passed the "Police Pension Law". The
referendum was placed on the ballot and approved by the voters at that time. In 1921 the
police officers were given an allowance of one hundred dollars for uniforms. On August 30,
1935, the police radio system was put into operation. Fords officers were among the first
to use radio communicafion.
In 1962 changes took place in the Woodbridge Township Police department which affect
the officers serving the area from Fords. Since the township is growing so rapidly and the
need for pofice protection is becoming more critical it is likely that there wiU be an increase
in the dedicated officers chosen from Fords.
ST. JOHN'S FIRST AID SQUAD INC. OF FORDS
Residents of our area don't often realize it, but their health and life may some day depend
upon the alertness and skill of their first aid squad. A squad such as this is St. John's First
Aid Squad. Thirty-five dedicated men who want to help their friends and neighbors, make
up the squad. They are all volunteers and are on call twenty-four hours a day. These men
all have to go to work in different employment, but there are always enough available men
to make calls.
This squad had a humble beginning in 1943 when Reverend George Boyd, pastor of St.
Peter's Church, donated a 1937 ambulance to St. John's Episcopal Church of Fords.
The Chapel was not large enough to organize a First Aid Squad, so they asked the men
of Fords for volunteers. Fourteen men answered the call and this was the beginning. The
men had their first meeting in the Chapel and many more after that. The equipment was a
donation of the men themselves. The first "rig" wasn't much to look at but it served the
purpose. The fourteen original members had to "pass the hat" among themselves to pay
for the gasoline. When they received their charter, they named the squad after St. John's
Since then, St. John's has answered just about every type of call, from routine transporta-
tion requests to devastating emergencies. One of the worst disasters came in 1951 when more-
than twenty members answered an emergency call along Fulton Street in Woodbridge. There,
seventy persons lost their lives and over five hundred were injured in New Jersey's worst
train disaster. The men were on the job all night.
Squad headquarters in early years were the chapel auditorium and the Fire House. Today
the group is firmly established. There are two ambulances. They are equipped with modern
first aid gear and a police radio, to stand ready for action. The men also have an intercom
system between headquarters and their homes. The "rig" as the ambulance is commonly
called, has full equipment on it at all times, ready to go.
ST. JOHN'S FIRST AID SQUAD INC. OF FORDS
The original members and their 1937 ambulance, named from left to right: A. Hirner, W. Hanson,
Mr. Bonalsky, G. Archy, Mr. Bonalsky, L. Thompson, J. Palachak (deceased), Mr. Kalman (deceased), D.
Krauss, B. Chamberlain, N. Elko, J. Yuhas, H. Fullerton, P. Peterson; also A. Balint, not present.
St. John's is proud that it has no mortgage on the new headquarters. The building was
completed in 1951 with squad members doing more than 70 per cent of the work
In 1943 the Squad answered 97 calls. The average now is about 900 calls. They cover
about 11,000 miles on its two ambulances. This is a big increase from the time 4,000 miles
indicated a busy year.
The Fords Lions Club aids the squad by purchasing the gasoline for the ambulances and
some of the smaller gear. The Squad, however, depends mainly on its annual fund drive
for operating revenue.
St. John's has an eye for the future. They now have a junior cadet squad for boys between
the ages of 16 and 20 who want to become volunteer first aiders.
The St. John's Squad may not be fully appreciated but it is always ready to help in any
emergency. These men, although most of them have full time jobs, have it arranged so that
there is always available a crew of volunteers to make calls.
The "Liddle House" and the
"Fords National Bank" of yester-
day in the rear of the beautiful elm
tree which for more than a
hundred years graced the corner
of King George Road and New
FIRST BANK AND TRUST COMPANY
For many years Melvin Clum operated a grocery store on King George Road adjoining
the Liddle Estate. The Fords Post Office was housed in this building also. This location was
part of the original Fords Corner. When the need for a financial institution in Fords became
acute, Mr. Clum sold his property to be used for the site of the Fords National Bank. Then
he moved next door.
Upon the completion of the building The Fairfield Union Building and Loan Association
shared the premises with the bank. Abel Hansen was first president of the bank and the
Board of Directors were made up of Max Wurtzel, John Egan, Laurtz Smith,
Walter P. Dunham, Theodore Degenring, Leo Goldbert, Adolph Greenbaum, Albert Leon,
Charles Safran, and Frank Van Syckle. The first depositor was Peter Lehman, and the
second Soren Petersen each of whom deposited five dollars.
Today "The First Bank and ,
Trust Company, Fords Branch" !^
occupies that corner of King
George Road and New Brunswick
Fords Building and Loan Assn.
building which was jointly occu-
pied by the Fords Bank and the
Fairfield Union Building and
Loan Assn. Notice how close to the
side walk the trolley tracks were
- ' ^^^
M ■ ...... SW
In 1955 the Fords bank purchased the Liddle property. An addition to the bank building
increased its size considerably and a spacious parking lot was built extending out to Ford
Avenue. In the rear of the bank building two drive up windows were installed.
On its opening day, August 15, 1919, the bank had 2500 depositors. It now has 15,000
depositors and over fifty-seven million dollars in deposits.
On August 11, 1961, the Fords National Bank was acquired by the First Bank and Trust
Company of Perth Amboy. Its name was then changed from The Fords National Bank to
The First Bank and Trust Company, Fords Office. The Fords office is now legally the main
office of the First Bank and Trust Company. The bank offers service to all people of Middle-
sex County. Since the merger, the combined facilities have made it the largest commercial
bank in Middlesex County.
The bank offers the following services: regular checking, special checking, personal loans,
commercial loans, home improvement loans, home mortgage loans, Christmas Clubs, Vaca-
tion Clubs, Travelers Checks, Money orders. Bank By Mail, Savings accounts, 24 hour De-
pository, Safe deposit boxes. Trust services, Foreign department, and Curb Teller, Drive-
HISTORY OF THE FORDS POST OFFICE
Before 1900, people living in Fords had no post office of their own. Mail was brought from
Perth Amboy by horse and wagon and dropped off at a given spot where the people picked
In the early 1900's the first Fords Post office was located in Melvin Clum's general store.
Mr. Clum was the post master. In years following the post office had many locations, usually
in the home or the business site of the person who was the post master. For instance, it was
in Garben's drug store when Mr. Garben was post master. Then in later years it was given
a location that could accommodate the facilities of the U.S. mail as the post masters changed.
Ralph Liddle was post master in Tom Egan's grocery store, the present site of
Joseph Dambach's store. He was also post master in the building next to the bank where
Harry Fienberg's second hand store is today on King George Road. The post office had
several locations on New Brunswick Avenue. During the Warren G. Harding administration,
James Howard FuUerton was postmaster. Then the post office was located in the theatre
building. Other locations were 450 New Brunswick Avenue; 558 New Brunswick Avenue;
and 568 New Brunswick Avenue. Names like Applegate, Seyler, Quinn, Maloney, Helesky
are all associated with the office of being postmaster.
Until 1933 people had to go to the post office to get their mail. Then regular mail delivery
was made only on streets that were paved. In recent years mail is being delivered on unpaved
In 1937 the Fords Post Office moved from third to second class and in 1944 from second
class to first class. The present building was built in 1957. It is leased to the Post Office by
the Redwood Construction Co. It serves all the people living in Fords and those residents
of Edison Township out as far as Route #1. During the first part of the 20th century the mail
was brought into Fords from Perth Amboy by trolley cars. Today it is delivered by U.S.
mail trucks to the Post Office and foot carriers deliver it to people's homes.
Judy Rader, Fords #7 sixth grader interviews Woodbridge Township Councilman from Fords. From left to
right: Mr. Robert Smith, Judy Rader and Mr. Joseph Nemyo.
As a section of Woodbridge Township, Fords is governed as such. Not long after Wood-
bridge received its charter in 1669 a township form of government was organized. Committee-
men representing different sections of the township assumed their responsibilities. As early as
1667 there were records of roads and their development, and other phases of the Township's
needs were assigned to various committeemen. Thus have grown those departments which
have taken care of all the township's needs including those of the Fords Section. Today,
there are the departments of Administration and Finance, Law, Police, Planning and Re-
development, Public Works, Health and Welfare, Parks and Recreation.
There is not space in this book to tell of all the things that the Committeemen from Fords
have done for the people in the area, or to name all the committeemen who have represented
the people in Fords in the Township government. However, it is a well known historical fact
that in the 1920's when William Hoy represented Fords, sewers, roads, gutters, curbs and
many other modernizations were approved wholesale, and this was the era when a decided
improvement took place in the streets and roads in and about Fords where Mr. Hoy lived.
Hoy Avenue, a busy street connecting New Brunswick Avenue and King George Road was
named after Mr. Hoy.
Fords has grown tremendously over the past few years. What were once wooded areas
are now congested housing developments. It has been prophesied that Woodbridge Township
is on its way toward becoming the largest city in the State of New Jersey. This rapid growth
could cause a change in the type of government the people will have. Some changes have
already taken place. The township is divided into five wards each of which were represented
by two committeemen. Since January 1, 1964, there has been a new form of government
known as the Mayor-Council, Plan F under the Faulkner Act, which is a code of procedure
relative to government as the Roberts Rules of Order is to parliamentary procedure in club
groups. Under this reorganization there is the Mayor and four councUmen at large. In addi-
tion, there is another councilman representing each of the five wards in the Township. Fords
is represented by Mr. Joseph Nemyo and Mr. Robert Smith.
Fords continues to grow. In the immediate future the Housing authority is planning to build
the Senior Citizens' Housing Project on New Brunswick Avenue next to the movies. This
means new residents and more votes in Fords.
The people in Fords are proud of their heritage. They are proud of their progress also.
All residents old and new will support the government and work for the development and
cooperative support of all worthwhile growth and expansion.
Mary Irish, 5th grade. Fords #7
student interviews Mrs. Helen
Anderson, secretary to the Board
of Kducation and Mrs. Ruth
Kahree. Both ladies are past mem-
bers of the Board of Kducation.
Mrs. Kahree was elected from the
lords area. Mrs. Helen Anderson
will retire from her services to the
Board of Kducation in June, 1964.
FORDS MEMBERS OF THE WOODBRmGE TOWNSHIP
BOARD OF EDUCATION
There have always been nine members of the Board of Education in Woodbridge. Three
members are elected each year by all the residents of Woodbridge Township, not just by
area or district. Each of these elected members serves three years. They may then run for
re-election if they wish to.
A generation ago, there were so few people voting in the school elections that it was often
necessary for the poll clerks to go out on the street and bring in enough people to vote
to make the ballot official.
The community of Fords has contributed its share of citizens interested in serving the
needs of the public schools of Woodbridge Township. Among those who were elected from
Fords to serve on the Board of Education are the names of the following:
Melvin H. Clum, from 1907 to June, 1933 (President 1922 to 1933)
Mrs. Sadie Gardner, from October, 1921 to February, 1925
William Dunham, from February, 1925 to February, 1946
Adolph Quadt, from February, 1947 to February, 1953
John J. Csabai, from November, 1954 to February, 1961
Mrs. Ruth Kahree, from February, 1956 to September, 1962
Clifford J. Handerhan, from February, 1959 to date (Pres. 1962—1964)
Robert W. Smith, from February, 1962 to February, 1963
Ernest Moffett who was born and reared in Fords, served on the Board of Education for
several years during the depression. However, he was living in Woodbridge at the time.
There have been only four women serving the Township of Woodbridge as board members.
Mrs. Helen Anderson and Mrs. Marguerite Fitz Randolph were residents of Woodbridge.
Fords is proud of the fact that the remaining two, Mrs. Sadie Gardner, and
Mrs. Ruth Kahree, were chosen from among the citizens of their section of the township.
Melvin Clum had the longest term of office. He served for twenty six years and was presi-
dent of the Board of Education for eleven years before he died in 1933.
Without a doubt, the most outstanding job accomplished by the Board of Education during
the last ten years is the construction and dedication of the numerous new schools scattered
throughout the township. Fords was fortunate to get two of these, the Fords Jr. High and
Lafayette Estates #25.
AN HISTORICAL REVIEW ON "THE WOMAN'S CLUB OF FORDS "
On the second Wednesday in October, 1920, ten women met at the home of Mrs. Annie
Liddle, for the purpose of organizing a Fords Branch of the Woodbridge Woman's Club.
The object of the club was to be, and still is, "to provide an organization through which
women from all walks of life, putting aside personal prejudice, may work toward community
Among the original ten women were Mrs. Henry Esche, Mrs. E. T. Greene, Mrs. W. J.
Ernst, who are deceased, Mrs. Royal Predmore BrUl, who was a teacher in No. 7 school
for a number of years, and Mrs. Albert Gardner and Mrs. Frank Dunham, who are still
active members of the club. They have all been made honorary board members, as well.
Also present at that first meeting, were Mrs. T. W. Liddle, the club's first president, and
Mrs. George Liddle (Armie), her successor. These women were assisted in their organizing
by Mrs. E. H. Boynton, President of the Woodbridge Club.
The meetings were held at Mrs. Annie Liddle's home. She was a lovely person, beloved
by all who were privileged to know her. In 1932, the President of the Catalin Corporation
gave the club a new gavel and the old one was presented to Mrs. Liddle in appreciation of
nine years' service as President. Annie Liddle died in 1938 and not only the club but the
whole town of Fords mourned her loss as an outstanding citizen and humanitarian.
The Woman's Club of Fords decided to become independent of the Woodbridge Mother
Club and in October, 1924, the Woman's Club of Fords became Federated. The club was
legally incorporated in 1925.
The main project was to help the needy. This was done for 15 years, until public relief
was instituted. Some of those projects included distribution of food and clothing, rent and
doctor bills were paid; families were assisted in many ways that were never publicized; a
milk fund was begun and milk was furnished to people who could not afford to buy it. The
club women also made and served hot coffee and sandwiches to our firemen during large
fires. In 1920 a community Christmas tree was erected at School #7 and gifts totaUng $89.00
were distributed to the children. This Christmas tree observance was continued until 1939.
After each party, the tree was taken and placed in Mrs. Liddle's yard (where the present
bank now stands) for all to see during the Christmas season. When the monument at Corielle
Street and King George Road was erected, a tree was planted by the club women in memory
of Mrs. Liddle.
When School #14 was to purchase a piano, the Woman's Club of Fords donated $25.00
toward the cost. The money needed for these worthwhile community welfare works
was realized from dances, card parties, bazaars, luncheons, food sales, and the like.
Throughout the years, the club women also contributed to Federation Projects. When the
Music BuUding was to be built at Douglas College, it became a Federation project. Each club
offered each member a brick-for-a-dollar and after this was done an additional $25.00 was
given, earned through the sale of old gold. The Meta Thorne Scholarship at Douglas is still
a Federation Project and the Fords Club in 1964 held a children's musicale with proceeds
going to this music Scholarship Fund.
During the depression years, Mrs. Bernhardt Jensen was President. It was Mrs. Jensen who,
as Welfare Chairman, led the club to aid the townspeople in those trying times. Mrs. Jensen
was the third president and held office for six years. During these "Depression Years", club
dues were cut to 25(f or the amount of the Federation per capita dues, for all members who
could not afford to stay in the club paying full dues. These were lean years and although
numerous money-making activitives were held, the proceeds hardly met expenses. In spite
of hardships suffered, club affairs were conducted in a dignified and traditional manner.
Mrs. Jensen did much for the Woman's Club of Fords and for the community. Mrs. Jensen
was named "Woman of the Year" and the club honored her by placing her name on the
Federated "Honor Roll". The club also voted Mrs. Jensen Honorary President, a position
she holds today.
During this same period, Mrs. Albert Gardner became the first music chairman.
Mrs. Gardner, in 1929, composed the club song and is the author of the club prayer. In
1926, she organized a choral group which functioned for twelve happy years. The chorus
performed at all special occasions; they gave a benefit concert dressed in "Mammy" costumes;
they entertained at P.T.A.'s, the Home for the Aged, the Presbyterian Church Bible Class,
the New Brunswick High School, and they presented the original "kitchen-band" recitals.
The group met in Mrs. Gardner's home and serious work was accomplished, ending in a
social evening. Mrs. Gardner was also the Club's Parliamentarian. She is a charter and
honorary board member. The club also voted her Honorary Parliamentarian and also placed
her name on the Federation "Honor Roll".
After twenty years, the club again has a choral group under the direction of Mrs. Nicholas
Elko and Mrs. James Harkay. This chorus sings at special club events and at
every Christmas season the group tours the Perth Amboy Hospital, singing Christmas carols
through the halls. The chorus always brings Santa Claus along with his sack full of gifts
for all the men and women patients in the ward. This traditional performance is very grati-
fying to all who participate.
Along with the club's many activities, its major interest has continuously been a community
library. The idea was first conceived in February of 1923. In May of that year, the club
received the furst donation of 42 books. That was the small beginning. All sorts of money
raising schemes were devised. In September, 1923, a store at the foot of Ford Avenue was
selected as the site for our first library. In January, 1924, with 400 books and $25.00 worth
of supplies, the Club proudly opened the first library for the use of Fords residents! That
was a great achievement for the Woman's Club of Fords. When the library opened, and for
many years after, it was serviced by volunteers from the club. Two members, Mrs. Gardner
and Mrs. Greene were taught cataloging by a member of the State Library Commission.
Various places in Fords housed the library for the next sixteen years before they acquired
their very own building.
This first step towards this goal was the purchase of the property on Corielle
Street (opposite the fire house) in 1925 for $1700, from Mrs. John Egan, Sr. with $500 as
the down payment. From that time on they redoubled their efforts to build up the Library
Fund. In 1937, during the presidential term of Mrs. Howard Madison, plans and specifica-
tions were drawn for a proposed building to cost $7,000.
The Woman's Club sought the advice of the Fords Lions Club, who had a warm feeling
and interest for the group. The Lions Club advised against undertaking at this time such a
large project. Their opinion was valued and although it was a great disappointment, it was
It may be noted here that the Lion's Club has always been most generous in its support
of the library. They once donated $711 during Mrs. Adolph Quadt's term as president; in
1944 and 1945 proceeds of $578.50 from shows held in the Fords Theatre were given to
the Woman's Club. The Lions Club installed a new floor during the term of Mrs. Howard
Jensen. The present "Book Depository" in front of the Library was also a gift of the Lion's
The idea of a building was dropped for the time being. The Woman's Club continued their
efforts toward this end, however, when unexpectedly in 1939, the vision of their own building
became a reality! Our Redeemer Lutheran Church offered the Woman's Club its chapel. The
congregation intended to build a new and larger church and Mr. H. Jensen suggested offering
the old building for the Woman's Club purposes. The club held a special meeting
and accepted the church's most generous offer. The building was moved from Fourth Street
in two sections, at the cost of $397, which was taken from the accumulated reserve of $1700.
Since $1400 was not half enough to complete the rest of the work, the club went to work
soliciting and receiving buUding materials, furniture, accessories, cash donations, etc. It was
then that the true spirit of our community cooperation was displayed. Individuals, business
establishments, schools, churches, and organizations all contributed. Mr. Samuel Katz of
Fords Pharmacy, did more than his share and has continued to be outstanding in his per-
sonal interest and support throughout the years.
When the building was finally erected, the cost to the club was $3,052.10, with a deficit of
$182.62. The club borrowed $475 from the Fords Bank to pay the balance and also to
purchase linoleum, chairs and insurance. Mrs. Willard Dunham was then president and
urged the members to keep on working and during the summer months, the loan was paid.
On January 24, 1940 the dedication and first meeting was held, with the Reverend Arthur
Kreyling as guest speaker.
When Our Redeemer Lutheran Church was completed, the club was invited to their dedica-
tion and the Woman's Club presented two Bibles properly inscribed, to show their apprecia-
tion for the church's gift to them.
The present Fords Public Library thus made its debut as a joint project; of the people —
for the people. It was the culmination of sixteen years determination.
Our first librarians were Miss Mary Hansen, Mrs. WiUiam Jensen, Mrs. Soren Hansen,
Mrs. Rose Dell and presently serving, Mrs. Helen Falkenstein.
After giving 40 years of Free Library Service to Fords residents, Woodbridge Township
may, in 1964, assume control and management of the Fords Public Library, due to the
recent voter approved, centralized, municipal library system. The Woman's Club will then
be ready to undertake another worthwhile project to benefit the community.
This would be a suitable place to end the review but in all fairness, one must recognize
and acknowledge ensuing accomplishments of the club and its leaders. The maintenance of
the library has been its major function for 40 years but the club has made many other
contributions to the community and Federation through its 44 years of existence.
During World War II, their efforts were concentrated on home front activities. The club
made and filled "buddy-bags" and donated them to the crew of the Battleship U. S. New
Jersey; donations were made toward recreation at Fort Dix; club members also sold war
bonds and stamps and the club purchased a $500 war bond; club members served at the
U. S. O. Center on a rotation basis in Perth Amboy.
During Mrs. Howard Madison's term, the American Home Department was organized and
has for over 20 years been a most active committee. During World War II, they sewed needed
articles for the hospital and all through these years this department has made cancer dress-
ings for the Red Cross, Mt. Carmel Nursing Service, hospitals and private patients. Some
fifteen years ago a custom of judging house decorations and window paintings during the
Christmas Season was established continuing until today. This Department has contributed
untold amounts financially with luncheons, dinners, apron sales, bake-offs, etc.
The Junior Woman's Club was first organized in 1930. During the following 30 years,
the Sub-Juniors and Little Women were also organized. All of these groups did outstanding
work on their own and also took an active interest in the library. Each group contributed
to the Woman's Club goals with donations of money and gifts. (One a set of dinner-ware
was given the adult club by the Juniors). Many of the young women joined the senior club
when their groups disbanded or when they became of age. Mrs. Nicholas Elko, a former
Junior member, became president of the Woman's Club of Fords. There were periods in the
Woman's Club History when members ranged from age eleven to ?? (over 50).
During the three terms, a total of six years, of Mrs. Arthur Overgaard, siding was put
on the outside of the library building at the cost of $435. The kitchen and entire rear of
the building was painted.
Mrs. Overgaard later brought honor to the club by being elected to the State Board as
Third District Vice President. The Federation is divided into districts containing about 32
clubs and each district has its vice president. The club also honored Mrs. Overgaard by
placing her name on the Federation "Honor Roll".
During the term of Mrs. Howard Jensen, a special savings account was established, the
purpose of which was to provide an emergency fund for future unforseen expenditures. A
library committee was organized for the purpose of looking after all problems concerning
the maintenance of the building. Mrs. Frank Dunham was chairman for many years. Mrs.
Dunham, a Charter Member, was voted Honorary Board member and also had her name
placed on the Federation "Honor Roll".
During Mrs. Nicholas Elko's term, the club entered the "Community Achievement Contest".
Mrs. George Molnar, who later became president, was chairman and an extensive program
of improving the library and its facilities was undertaken. Under the supervision of the State
Library Service Bureau, the 11,000 library books were checked and 2800 books were weeded
out. These were donated to new founded libraries and hospitals. A catalog system
was prepared by volunteers who donated over 500 hours of labor. As in the past, local
individuals and organizations cooperated with contributions totaling over $900 and 600
new books. The cash was expended for the purchase of badly needed furniture such as a
filing cabinet, magazine stand, book shelves, librarian's desk, etc. The project extended over
a period of one year and although the club did not win a prize, a special award was given
them and the results of all the hard work was most gratifying.
During Mrs. John Egans term, the club displayed again interest in public welfare. A drive
for the benefit of Hungarian Refugees was conducted and netted hundreds of assorted items
of clothing, household goods and furniture. It was also during Mrs. Egan's term that two
of our members were appointed Sixth District Committee Chairman, Mrs. Oswald Nebel of
Education and Mrs. George Molnar of Youth Conservation. Both of these women became
presidents. It was also at this time that a most active Art Department was organized. Mrs.
Chester Baginski was the most capable chairman and art instructor and is the club's current
president. The Art Department, through the years, has conducted free art exhibits with the
cooperation of the Fords Bank yard facilities. It is an annual event, open to all aspiring
artists, amatuer and professional, with a special section for children's works. There are
never any fees or admission charges and punch and cookies are served during viewing
hours. There are professional judges to award ribbons in every group and category. The
Department members have received recognition of their art work at District, State and County
levels. They too, have made many contributions to the club. A Silver Tea Service
1 COLLECT FOR CLUB WOMEN, by Mary Stewart 1
Keep us, God, from pettiness;
Teach us to put into action our
let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.
better impulses, straightforward and unafraid.
Let us be done with fault finding,
Grant that we may realize it is the little
and leave off self-seeking.
things that create differences; that in
the big things of life we are at one.
May we put away all pretense and
meet each other face to face without
And may we strive to touch and to know
self-pity, and without prejudice.
the great common human heart of us all.
and 0, Lord God; let us forget
May we never be hasty in judgment
not to be kind.
and always generous.
Let us take time for all things,
make us grow calm, serene and gentle.
was acquired by saving Betty Crocker coupons and adding a small amount of money. Other
items were donated in this manner.
The Membership Department sponsors a spring and fall silver tea for prospective members.
As the town grows, they wish to acquaint interested women in their activities and encourage
them to join the club.
Great strides in achievement have been in the Woman's Club of Fords during its 44 years.
New projects were launched, as the need arise and high standards were developed and main-
tained through concerted and cooperative efforts of all interested leaders and members.
Each has left her mark in the life of the club and each has built a part of the whole. The
work of all has been essential and none could have been spared. Looking backward gives
joy and satisfaction. Looking ahead presents a challenge and boundless opportunity for
The Woman's Club of Fords looks eagerly to the tasks which the future wiU bring, confi-
dent of their ability to active success.
Past Presidents in Order
^Mrs. T. W. Liddle
^Mrs. George (Annie) Liddle
Mrs. Bernhardt Jensen
Mrs. Howard Madison
Mrs. Williard Dunham
"Mrs. Adolph Quadt
Mrs. Arthur A. Overgaard
Mrs. W. Howard Jensen
Mrs. Nicholas Elko
Mrs. John Egan
Mrs. Oswald Nebel
Mrs. George Molnar
Mrs. Chester Baginski (current)
I' M H ,1 I \\ o \|<inl:
I ,-ihfi' "
Mrs. Jennie Predmore Brill first
president of Fords #7 P.T.A. when
it organized in 1917 and again
president in 1947 after sixteen
years of inactivity. Mrs. Predmore
was a teacher in Fords fl for
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE P.T.A. IN FORDS
The first Parent-Teachers Association in Fords was organized on March 10, 1917 in School
fl with Mrs. Jennie Predmore, now Mrs. Jennie Predmore Brill, as president. The associa-
tion continued in School #7 until School #14 was built in 1924. Mrs. Sue Warren was presi-
dent of #7 P.T.A. when it moved to School #14 in 1924 and she became the first president
of the P.T.A. in School #14. From 1924 until 1931 the two schools held their meetings
cooperatively. One month the meeting would be in School #7. The next month the meeting
would be in School #14. In 1931 the attendance by the members from School #7 dwindled
to the point where all the meetings were held in School #14 and the interest and
enthusiasm which nurtured the expansion of the association in School #14 came largely
from the people in that area of the town.
There was no P.T.A. in School #7 during the years between 1931 and 1947. Then it was
re-organized with Mrs. Jennie Predmore Brill, again its president. Since that time there has
been a P.T.A. in Number Seven School.
The P.T.A. has done many things to help the schools. During First World War years,
the members worked cooperatively with the members of the Woman's Club in Fords, knitting
sweaters, socks, and other things for the American soldiers serving over seas in the first
World War. In May, 1921, Mrs. Albert Gardner was elected president and the association
had a strong leaning toward developing an appreciation of art in the Schools. It was during
her administration that the P.T.A. donated two hundred dollars for the purchase of the pic-
tures which are still hanging in the auditorium of School #7. Through the years the P.T.A.
has been very helpful toward providing necessary equipment for the schools and sponsoring
worthy projects which are conducive toward developing a wholesome program of growth
and enrichment for the children.
Fords #14 P.T.A. is the oldest organization of Parents and Teachers in Fords.
It has experienced 40 consecutive years of ACTIVE SERVICE to the children of that area.
Today there are P.T.A. organizations in all the public schools of Fords. In May, 1960,
a new group was organized in Fords Junior High with Mrs. Mary Balasz as first president.
Later that same year Lafayette Estates #25 P.T.A. held its first meetings with
Mrs. Pat Lamatino as first president. Mrs. Lamatino now serves as president of
the "President's Council" an organization which includes the presidents of all the P.T.A.
groups in Woodbridge Township.
The objects of the P.T.A. are:
To promote the welfare of children and youth in home, school, church, and community.
To raise the standards of home life.
To secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth.
To bring into closer relation the home and the school, that parents and teachers may
cooperate intelligently in the training of the child.
To develop between educators and the general public such united efforts as will secure
for every child the highest advantages in physical, mental, social, and spiritual education.
Contributed by Marcie Bonalsky
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE —
New Jersey State Congress of
Parents and Teachers. Mrs. Albert
Gardner, President (front row
A TRIBUTE TO MRS. ALBERT GARDNER
As "Fords, Yesterday and Today" emerges from the press those whose feelings are warm
and appreciative toward the worthy goals the P.T.A. can achieve, mourn deeply the passing
of one of Fords' most noble citizens. Mrs. Albert Gardner died May 12, 1964. Her lofty
ideals and courageous efforts did much to promote the true objects of the P.T.A. She will
long be remembered for her devoted services to educational, civic and cultural agencies in
Fords as well as in the county, state and nation.
Mrs. Gardner was elected president of Fords #7 P.T.A. in May, 1921. However,
she identified herself with the P.T.A. in School #14 after the school was opened in 1924. Her
contribution to the leadership and intelligent guidance of that association has borne fruit all
through the years.
In 1922 Mrs. Gardner became chairman of the Middlesex County Council of Parents and
Teachers. At the same time she also became a member of the New Jersey State Board of
Managers. Following this she was elected state chairman of citizenship and illiteracy, state
chairman of legislation, state vice president, state corresponding secretary, again state vice
president and in 1938 she was elected president of the New Jersey State Congress of Parent
Following Mrs. Gardner's term as state president, she served the P.T.A. well on a national
scale. She was national chairman of the committee on Congress publications, national vice
president and national chairman of the committee on procedure and by laws. She also served
as member of the Board of Directors of the National Parent Teacher, the official magazine
of the P.T.A., and as treasurer of the Magazine Company.
Mrs. Gardner was very much interested, as well as very active in other organizations whose
interests and objectives are similar to those of the P.T.A. movement. Her success as a devoted
leader in the P.T.A. can be attributed to the fact that her inspiration was fired with a positive
feeling of confidence, tempered by an overwhelming humility. She guided her following with
vision and determination and was completely consecrated to her office. Mrs. Gardner's experi-
ences with the P.T.A. saw countless opportunities for service and many challenging
experiences. It is stated in The Golden Rung which is a Golden Jubilee History of fifty years
of Progress of the New Jersey Congress of Parents and Teachers from 1900 — 1950 that
among the factors for the success of Mrs. Gardner's many endeavors was the "high calibre
and service" of her friends and co-workers, those who gave of their time and ability far
beyond the call of duty, in order that her office might fulfill its obligations. She credited the
cooperative assistance of her executive boards and her board of managers on the state level
for much of her achievement during her administrafion. Mrs. Gardner could forget the daily
demands of the job and remember only the delightful contacts and happy priveleges
of working with those who supported her.
Mrs. Gardner cooperated closely with the State Department of Education and the New Jersey
Education Association, then called the New Jersey State Teachers' Association. She would
attend all of the conventions of the State Teachers' Association and give a greeting at the
banquet of each one. Her articles "What New Jersey Expects of the Schools" and "What
Kind of School Teacher Does America Need?" were enthusiastically received and
were published in "The Hundredth Anniversary of Teacher Training Institutions of
the United States".
■ .._— ,-*<*;^
CATHOLIC WELFARE BUREAU, DIOCESE OF TRENTON, FORDS OFFICE
On January 11, 1957, the Catholic Welfare Bureau, Diocese of Trenton, purchased the
property at 846 Main Street, Fords, New Jersey, for the purpose of establishing a Branch
Office which would serve Middlesex, Somerset and Monmouth Counties. The function of the
Agency is to provide all child and family welfare services. It is serviced by highly organized,
highly trained professional casework team offering a variety of services to famihes and
children, married couples, unmarried mothers, the deUnquent, the emotionally disturbed and
the aged. Its aim is to help others to stand on their own two feet.
In 1962, due to the enormous increase in requests for service in the Middlesex and Somerset
Counties, it was necessary to open a Branch Office in Red Bank, New Jersey, to service the
Monmouth County Area.
Fords, N. J.
THE FORDS LIONS CLUB
The need of u civic club was first manifested by a group of men who met at Buchner's
Delicatessen on New Brunswick Avenue, Fords, N.J. A number of meetings were held and
plans were made for the formation of a Lions Club. Its purpose was to serve the blind,
to recognize community needs, to work for the betterment of the community and to aid its
The New Brunswick Lions Club was the sponsoring club and the charter night was held
at the Pines, Metuchen, on June 26, 1926. Its first president was Mr. George N. Wood and
Vice President, Mr. T. W. Liddle. The original charter is on display at Lopez Restaurant,
New Brunswick Avenue., Fords, N.J. where the club at present holds its regular meetings.
The club's early activities were more or less social, bowling, baseball etc. Only a few activ-
ities were held to raise funds, an occasional card party, dance or clam bake. Its first project
was the building of the Wesley Liddle Memorial Registration Building at Camp Caw Waw,
Boy Scouts of America Camp. The necessary money needed for the building was raised by
conducting dances at Thompson's Hall. The first men to volunteer for the project were Chris
Lehman, Ed Miljes, William Thomsen, Anton Lund, Daniel Sandorff, Louis Kirsch St.,
Ben Jensen, Allyn Petersen and Joseph Greiner.
During the depression years the International Association of Lions Clubs was going to
recall the charter because the organization was unable to pay its annual assessment. The
membership was so few in number, Allyn Petersen and Joseph Dambach served as president
two years respectively. Many meeting nights the attendance was as low as nine and the men
met regularly in order to hold the charter.
At the beginning of 1943, a decided change began to take place in the Lions Club. It be-
came larger in membership, it began to increase its activities and began seeking greater
projects to fulfill its community's needs. It began to rapidly progress and work in one steady,
constant direction. All members were dedicated men who worked like "Trojans" to serve their
purpose and the club was recognized as the Fords Lions "Community Betterment Club."
Successful scrap paper collections became a major part of the club's fund raising projects
in 1945 with Mr. Joseph Dambach as chairman. Mr. Dambach has held the position of
chairman of these drives for 18 years, with 500,000 lbs. of paper being collected per year.
By 1947, these paper collections made it possible to accomplish the following:
1. Donation for swimming pool, Jamesburg Home for Boys $178.00
2. Modern Resuscitator, Respirator and Inhalator for
St. John's First Aid 785.00
3. March of Dimes Donation, 1947 222.75
4. American Red Cross, 1947 100.00
5. Disabled War Veteran 100.00
6. Donation of Two Large Size Oxygen Tanks for
St. John's First Aid 80.00
7. Payment for loss of wages to two local men who donated blood
for veteran 16.00
8. A pledge for payment of gasoline for St. John's First Aid
9. Donated a Braille Writing machine to blind man
The people of Fords lauded the Lions Club for these civic achievements and their unselfish
efforts for the good of the community. The members of the Lions Club and its leaders re-
sponded by saying, "Lionism is an intangible thing which brings fellows together week
after week without obligation, commitments — just a willingness to work together in unselfish
effort for the good of the community. At a regional meeting, in April, 1947, honor keys
were awarded to Joseph Dambach, Stephen Frost and Willard Dunham in appreciation for
Carol Martzak and darN Nahai, 5th ^rade students of Fords School "1, receive U.S. Savings Bonds from
past [^resident l)r C harles Schwehla and Mr. .loseph Fritsche, president of the Lions Club. The Club sponsored
the essay contest which in\ ited the school children of Fords to write a History of Fords. Carol won first prize
and Gary won second prize. It was this challenge of the iniative of the children which resulted in the creation of
"Fords Yesterday and Today".
A Gray-Y Youth Group was organized in April, 1947, its purpose was to combat juvenile
delinquency and aid citizens of tomorrow. Its activities took place at the YMCA, Perth Amboy
and bus trips were also sponsored to Rutgers football games.
The Lions Club suffered the loss of a truly loyal club member on May 6, 1947. Rev. James
A. Sheridan, Pastor of Our Lady of Peace Church, died at services. George E. Kovak, Presi-
dent requested all business and shops closed on May 9th as a memorial tribute. The mem-
bers of the Lions Club visit Hawley, Pa. every year and hold services at tlie church and
cemetery for Rev. Sheridan. In memorium, the club donated a bulletin board which stands
in front of Our Lady of Peace Church.
The Fords Lions Club was instrumental in re-activating the Woodbridge Lions Club and
sponsored this unit on June 4, 1947. Another bulletin board was donated to Our Saviour
Lutheran Church in 1947.
An Iron Lung was purchased in October, 1947, by the combined Lions Clubs of Middlesex
County, spearheaded by the Fords Lions Club. It was purchased for Mrs. Ileen Thomsen,
Fords, a victim of infantile paralysis at the cost of $2,100, for both auxiliary respirator and
iron lung. Mr. George Kovak, Past President and members of the Fords Lions Club met at
the hospital to present lung to Mrs. Thomsen and extend sincere hope for her
In the following months the club sponsored an essay contest on Fire Prevention
with schools 7, 14, Our Lady of Peace and the Keasbey and Hopelawn schools participating.
Also, at this time as part of its youth program the club cleaned out the Fords Park Pond and
made it ideal for ice skating for the children.
At this time the club was greatly honored to have two of its members become
District Governor of the Lions Club. Mr. George Kovak, 1951-1952 and Mr. Adolph Quadt,
From proceeds of paper scrap drives, on June 13, 1953, the club presented a check for
$3,000 to the St. John's First Aid Squad. Previous to this a modern inhalator and resuscita-
tion equipment was also presented to the Squad and two wheel chairs.
Also, 1953 was the year the Woodbridge Township Council of Civic Clubs held a banquet
for Fords Lions Club Member, Joseph Dambach, a leader of the club through its entire
existence. He was named "Man of the Year" for his outstanding community service in all
civic and welfare campaigns.
Through the years the club continued to strive and move forward and in 1960, $1,300 was
donated to St. John's First Aid Aquad toward purchase of a new ambulance. Recently the
club met its pledge to the Perth Amboy General Hospital with their contribution of $1,000.
And at present the club purchases all gasoline and oil used by St. John's First Aid Squad
since the year 1947. Also, to date seventeen wheel chairs have been donated to St. John's
First Aid Squad, and four braille machines and one braille typewriter have been donated
to the blind.
Its contributions for 1963-1964 will be to Cerebral Palsy, Fords Fire Department, Kiddie
Keep Well Camp, Middlesex County Tuberculosis League, Mount Carmel Guild, St. John's
First Aid, Woodbridge Independent Leader Christmas Fund, Heart Association, Perth Amboy
General Hospital, United Fund and Sight Conservation and aid to the Blind. The money
being raised by scrap paper drives, fruit cake drives and pancake sales.
Since its inception, the club has expended approximately $75,000 to $100,000 to charity.
These are but a few of the many deeds and accomplishments of the Fords Lions Club.
When the people of Fords commend this worthy organization, its members and leaders
respond by saying,
"Lionism is a way of life, a way other than anything that you may have in your
home, or business life. It is a way of doing things for the benefit of your fellow-
man, community and club that gives an inner satisfaction."
Lionism will go on, ever faithful to its Code of Ethics:
"To aid my fellowmen by giving my sympathy to those in distress, my aid to the
weak, and my substance to the needy."
Members of American Legion Auxiliary Post #163 of Fords planting
7 school grounds.
FORDS POST 163 THE AMERICAN LEGION
In June, 1934, The Harry Hansen Post 163 of The American Legion was formed in Fords,
New Jersey. The name was later changed to "Fords Post 163" showing location.
This is an organization of men and women who had served their country from April 6,
1917 to November 11, 1918 during World War #1 and from December 7, 1941 to September
2, 1945 during World War #2. These facts, plus an honorable discharge from the service,
is all that is required for eligibility for membership.
The Auxiliary to the Legion was formulated the following year. This part of the Legion is
open for membership to wives, daughters and mothers of eligible Legionnaires.
These people started the local Post for the purpose of carrying out the mandates of the State
and National American Legion organization, "For God and Country".
The Post cares for the Veteran in times of need. He can receive hospital care under condi-
tions, free of charge. The Service Officer is always available to him to answer his call, the
call of the Veteran. For the widow and orphan, the Post procures monetary aid.
Not only will the Legion care for the children of the Veteran, but the children
of the community whose parents are non Veterans. However, this leads to the explanation of
the Legion Poppy.
After World War #1, the Poppy was selected as the Legion flower because of the poppies
which were growing wild on the battlefields, and also because of the color of blood, where
so much had been spilled on European grounds where they had fought, as well as appearing
on the cemeteries where our Honored Dead rest.
Today the paper poppy is made by Veterans who are hospitalized. These men are paid
for their labors, and this serves a dual purpose; it brings them a monetary return and also
acts as therapy. Then for seven days before and including Memorial Day, May 30th, Legion-
naires and Auxiliary members will offer them to the public for a contribution. These monies
received from the sale go ONLY for the care of the Veteran, his children and his widow.
For the care of the non-veteran child the Post and its Auxiliary will earn monies in various
ways, sales, card parties, etc.
What does the local Legion Post and Auxiliary offer the Community? It sponsors Oratorical
contests, open to all young men and women in the High Schools. They are judged on a
County level, then District and so on to National, where the final award is $4,000, plus
Another Community service is the Boys State and Girls State program. The last week of
June of each year, a young man and a young lady is chosen by their school for outstanding
merits as an aU around American. The young man spends a full week at Rutgers College
at the expense of the Post. There, he is taught the fundamentals of our Government. He also
learns to hve with other men away from home. They listen to outstanding Political speakers
of both parties. They form a mythical country with a city, state and county; they run an
actual election with Middlesex County Elections Board at the machines. The Legion feels this
will acquaint these men who will be our future leaders, to enable them to have a
better knowledge of our government and will go to the polls in years to come, aware of their
responsibilities. A Band is formed during this week by the participants of Boys State which is
second to none.
The Auxiliary sponsors a young lady from the Fords area. The women live at Douglass
College for six days, and it is surprising how much knowledge they glean in such a short
Americanism — another outstanding activity in the Legion. The National organization
presents a subject and the Fords Auxiliary offers it to our Junior High School and
the Parochial School for the students to compete for, with an award to the winner. The same
procedure is used in a Safety Program.
We have offered a Poppy Poster contest to the schools where the students paint posters to
swell the sale of Poppies. This gives the student more information of the story of the Poppy.
The N.J. Home for Disabled Veterans in Menlo Park is an outstanding activity of the local
Post and Auxiliary. Parties are given to the men there, and our Auxiliary has adopted two
Veterans there and present them with gifts and cards to them on various special occasions
through the year. Parties are also given to the residents at Lyons Hospital through the year.
Contributions from the Legion Post and its Auxiliary are made to every Com-
munity project, the First Aid, March of Dimes and whenever called upon for service, to
assist the community.
During World War #1 many members of both units were giving of their time to Defense,
air-raid wardens, price checkers and again when and wherever there was a need for help.
In order to have a full picture of the American Legion, its organization, its reason for
formation, let me present the Preamble to its Constitution:
For God and Country; we associate ourselves together for the following purposes:
To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States
To maintain law and order
To Foster and perpetuate 100% Americanism
To preserve the memories and incidents of our associations during the Great Wars
To inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community. State and Nation
To combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses
To make right the master of might
To promote peace and good will on earth
To safeguard and transmit to posterity the principals of Justice, freedom and democracy
To consecrate and sanctify our association by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.
This monument of Fords V. F.W. was unveiled May 25,
George Road and Egan Avenue, Fords.
1950. It stands in the Memorial Triangle at King
VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS
FORDS MEMORIAL POST #6090
"Honor our Dead by Helping The Living." This is the motto of an organization started
in 1898 by American Spanish War Veterans. The Fords Memorial Post #6090 at 411 New
Brunswick Avenue, Fords, is one of the many small representatives of a nation-wide organiza-
tion dedicated to this goal. Any man who has fought in a foreign military campaign of The
United States may join the V.F.W.
Our post had it's start in the back room of a local tavern called Sondergaards in the fall
of 1946. Under the direction and leadership of Edward Miljies of 5th Street, Fords, twenty-
six men banned together to develop a comradeship among the veterans of Fords. Their
goal was to assist the needy veterans, the widows, and the orphaned children. These men were
inducted by the Perth Amboy Veterans of Foreign Wars at Fords School #7.
Their first project was to have a meeting place of their own. From the back room of the
tavern, they moved their meetings into The American Legion Hall. It was from there, that
they bought the property at 411 New Brunswick Avenue from VVoodbridge Township for
the price of $1.00. The material, inoney, and workmanship involved in this endeavor was
donated by the people of Fords, and the building was dedicated on May 28, 1948.
Joseph Egan, Edward MUjies, Commander and originator of the Fords Memorial Post #6090, Veterans of
Foreign War, and Harold Slover, 2nd Commander.
Their first civic project was a campaign to erect a monument to the local men who had
lost their lives in World War II. The project was backed by all the organizations and people
of Fords. The unveiling of the monument took place on May 25, 1950.
The Fords V.F.W. has grown from 26 men to an organization of 80 members with an
Auxiliary of 32 women.
It is the headquarters for many local organizations. The V.F.W. Post #6090 MiUtary Band,
The 82nd Airborne Assoc, of N.J., The Joseph Nemyo Association, The Metuchen Chapter
of The Gold Star Mothers, The Cootiette Club #630, The Babe Ruth Little League, The Girl
Scout Neighborhood #3, The V.F.W. Post #6090 Boys & Girls Drill Team, and The Potter
Union of Richmond Radiator meet there.
It is interesting to note that the music used by The Fords V.F.W. Military Band is from
the original manuscripts of John Philip Sousa. These were donated to them by
The Post sponsers a yearly "Light a Bike" program for the safety of children on bikes,
Christmas parties, contest, and scout troops.
The Auxiliary presently sponsers a Boys and Girls Drill Team for children from the ages
of 7 through 12.
Ford Avenue, Fords, N.J., used to be a cow path.
FORDS STREETS AND ROADWAYS
One of the oldest streets in Fords is King George Road which used to be called The King
George Post Road or the King's Highway after King George III who was ruling England
when the original thirteen colonies became an independent nation.
New Brunswick Avenue is an old highway also. Years ago it was known as the Amboy
Turnpike. It ran from New Brunswick to places which on an old map were known as Perth
and Amboy Point. Many of the other streets in Fords are named after the town's early resi-
dents. For instance, Ford Avenue used to be a cow path which ran through the John Liddle
property. This property was part of the original Ford tract. As horses and wagons traveled
over it the path became known as a road. In order to help it become Ford Avenue the street
was widened by some of the property sliced from the Lady of Peace Church and School
Crows Mill Road got its name from the Crow families who lived in the area. It followed a
winding path from King George Road, through farms and fields in Fords and Keasbey to
Smith Street. There used to be a mill along the way owned by one of the Crow families which
identified the vicinity as Crow's Mill Road.
Clum Avenue is named after Melvin Clum.afine civic resident of Fords. Mr. Clum operated
a grocery store and was postmaster of the post office in the same store. He became a mem-
ber of the Woodbridge Township Board of Education in 1907 and was president of that
organization for eleven years before he died in 1933.
Main Street got its name because it was the Main Street between Bonhamtown and Wood-
bridge. It runs directly into Woodbridge and is called Main Street in that community also.
Mary Avenue was named after Mary Anuski. Mary Anuski's family were large property
Koyen Street was named after William Koyen, who was an early developer of land. Mr.
Koyen improved land around the section of Liberty Street. William Koyen was associated
with an insurance company and real estate firm.
Moffett Street was named after an old resident and his family, the Moffetts. Ernest Moffett
was on the Board of Education. His home was at the corner of King George Road and
Crows Mill Road, where now stands a Sunoco Gas Station.
Such streets as Maple, Pine, Poplar, Elm, and Beech were named after the trees in the area.
Woodland Avenue received its name because of the dense woods that surrounded the section.
Hornsby Avenue was named after Captain Sam Hornsby, who was a captain of the boats
in Perth Amboy.
The above picture shows a map
of P'ords as it is in the year 1964,
isolated from the surrounding
communities. The circle shows the
location of Fords School #7. Many
of the streets are named after
F'ords residents of yesterday.
West Pond Road is now Route 440. West Pond and Florida Grove Roads were known as
the "Kinsey Corner".
Linden Avenue and Pitman Avenue were ordinary names.
Hall Avenue runs from Grant Avenue to Ford Avenue.
Fairfield Avenue was named after the Fairfield Union School, which was the first wooden
structure of School #7.
Summit Avenue ran over a hill, which was called a "summit".
Cutter Avenue was named after the Wilfiam Cutter family. William Cutter lived on
Main Street and owned a huge parcel of property around that section.
John Egan owned a large portion of property around the City of Fords, from which Egan
Street was carved.
Lawrence Street was a short block which extended from Crows Mill Road to Liberty Street.
The new development extends down to the Garden State Parkway.
Such streets as Maxwell, Hansen, Jensen, Gordon, Paul, and Lillian were just ordinary
names of people that resided in Fords.
William Street was named after William Leahy, who was an operator of a coal business.
William Street runs parallel to the Lehigh Valley Railroad.
Hamilton Avenue was named after Alexander Hamilton. Mr. Hamilton lived on the corner
of Crows Mill Road and New Brunswick Avenue. The original Hamilton Homestead still
stands today and faces Crows Mill Road in the rear of now what is the Hamilton House.
Liberty Street was called Freedom Street after World War I but was later changed
to "Liberty", which means "Freedom".
Livingston Avenue was named after one of the early developers by that name.
Ling Street was narried after a man by the name of Samuel Ling, who lived to be one of
the oldest men in the town of Fords. He liked to shoot clay pigeons with the Fords Gun Club.
The Fords Gun Club is among the oldest organizations in Fords.
Old legal maps of Fords which would show the location of the streets in Fords can be
found in the Woodbridge Township Engineering Department.
Wheelman's Rest Egan's Saloon
on south side of New Brunswick
Avenue opposite Corielle Street,
BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL GROWTH OF FORDS
In the early 1900's Fords was a rural area in many ways as far as business and profes-
sional services were concerned. A dairy farmer named Steve Senior drove his cows from
Center Street in Perth Amboy over New Brunswick Avenue to a grazing meadow which is
now part of the Garden State Parkway. At night he drove the herd back to Perth Amboy,
milked the cows and sold the milk in large tin cans to local grocery stores.
In the early part of the twentieth century Joseph Dambach, a well known Fords resident
today, used to drive a horse and wagon out of Perth Amboy and deliver groceries in Fords.
At that time most people baked their own bread, while those who did not were served by a
Metuchen baker who also made deliveries in Fords with a horse and wagon. A similar type
of service was rendered by out of town butchers.
In the early days the housewife did her own laundry and cleaning and mothers
and daughters shampooed their own hair in the privacy of their kitchens or the warm sun-
shine of a summer afternoon. Most homemakers sewed for their families and the man in the
house had his own vegetable garden. Frozen foods were unheard of at that time and families
provided themselves with winter rations by canning, smoking or drying foods at home. It
was common practice for a farmer to kill his hogs in the fall of the year and make his own
bacon and sausage. Many Sunday dinners were provided by father's wielding a hatchet over
a chicken or two on Saturday night.
In 1964 much of this kind of living is not known. Fords is being served by up-to-date
shopping centers where all kinds of foods such as meats, groceries, vegetables, baked goods
and dairy products can be purchased under one roof. The community has modern
delicatessen stores, bakeries, as well as a "Quik Cook" Snack Service Bar. There
are laundramats, tailoring shops, dry cleaning establishments and beauty parlors which are
doing a thriving business by assuming the chores which were once done at home.
Years ago, in order to obtain household articles and various types of clothing such as
shoes and warm wraps, Fords residents had to go out of town to make their purchases.
Usually on a Saturdtiy night the family would pile into the "carry-all", a kind of horse
drawn carriage, and travel to Perth Amboy for many of its supplies. Today, of course,
the automobile has changed all of this. Nevertheless the need to go out of town to shop
has ceased to exist.
Gradually drug stores, hardware stores, grocery stores and dry goods stores appeared in
Fords. Little by little parts of New Brunswick Avenue became dotted with business establish-
ments. One of the earliest was (ioldstein's General Store. Later, Garben's Drug Store, Sloan's
Drug Store, Balint's and Rosenblum's hardware stores, made their appearances. Soon came
Ferbel's on New Brunswick Avenue and Yakubik's on King George Road with dry goods.
Melvin Clum's store, beyond Fords corner, not only kept groceries for customers, it housed
the Post Office and served as a kind of country store community center.
Interior of Goldstein's General Store on New Brunswick Avenue 1915 — Mrs. Goldstein and daughter Ann who
is the present Mrs. Rosenbloom. Notice the variety of Products for sale on the counter. Groceries, chicken feed,
umbrellas etc., an old fashioned coffee grinder are among the many purchases that could be made.
GARBEN'S DRUG STORE
Early Hardware Store in Fords ^
1928. 540 New Brunswick Avenue.
The Grosses operated a delivery service from their General Store on King George Road
in the Sand Hill Section of Fords. From this store all kinds of merchandise such as barrels
of flour, chicken feed, hardware and groceries, were carried by horse and wagon
to customers in outlying districts as well as in Fords.
Later Mr. and Mrs. Lukacs opened their grocery store on Hanson Avenue and served their
customers by deliverying goods in a horse drawn wagon. Earlier Mr. and Mrs. Goldstein did
much the same kind of business on New Brunswick Avenue, except that they probably carried
more merchandise in a general category. Egan's Tavern on New Brunswick Avenue at the
foot of Corielle Street served many thirsty customers. Mr. Carl Reitenbach who was known
as "Carl the Taylor" and the Chinese Laundry operated early business establishments in
this area also.
In the early days there were no doctors or dentists in Fords. Sick people sought
professional services out of town or were treated by a family physician, a general practi-
tioner who came from Perth Amboy. Those suffering with tooth aches usually treated them
with home remedies. Dr. Guazza and Dr. Hanson were the first physicians in Fords. Dr.
Hanson still resides on Amboy Avenue. Today there are several doctors and dentists in
Fords and no one need go out of town for treatment.
Many other kinds of businesses are contributing to the growth and prosperity of the com-
munity. Real Estate and Insurance firms, various motor car establishments, barber shops,
restaurants, taverns, a gift shop and florist offer their services. Today Fords has its own
bank, public notaries and its own lawyers. One of the latter is a native son and a descendant
of the old Fullerton family. Practically every service which had to be obtained outside the
community is within the town's limits.
Grief stricken families of yesteryear would be comforted in their bereavement today. Since
1949 Flynn and Son have served the town's residents in their funeral parlors which are
located in the former residence of Mr. and Mrs. Ben Jensen on P'ord Avenue and in 1950
Mitruska's Funeral Parlors have opened to serve the needs of the townspeople on the same
site, that in by gone days, was the home of the Howard Fullerton family on New Brunswick
'What a different place today — Where we live, and work and play."
Courtesy of Ella Klein
EMPLOYLES. KORDS PORCELAIN WORKS EARLY 1900's, AMONG THOSE IN THE PICTURE ARE:
Anton Andersen. Marius Hansen, Abel Hansen, Martin Williamsen, Andrew Madsen, Mads Madsen, Mrs. Abel
Hajisen, Peter Jensen, Hans Svarrer, Andrew Sindet, Sr., Soren Hansen, Sven Petersen, Charles Lovdahl, Peter
Miller, Charles Tepper, John Emil Jensen, Escol Churnalin, Chris Hildahl, Clem Jensen, Carston Jessen, John
Pfeifier, Huey Church, George Lund, George Price and Mike Kubick.
During the early days, natural resources of the Fords district gave rise to those industries
which enabled the people of the area to make a living. Rich deposits of clay in various
clay pits resulted in factories making brick and other clay products. Among these early
industries were the Valentine and Ostrander Brick Companies and Fords Porcelain Works.
Working in a clay pit was hard labor. Wages were not always adequate to meet the needs
of growing families. Yet the Irish, German and Hungarian immigrants in Fords at that time
seemed to thrive and grow.
Ex-police Chief John Egan told us something of what Fords was like in those days. He
was born in the Sand Hills section of Fords. His parents were Irish and he grew up among
the people who worked in the clay pits and those who worked in the factories which made
the brick. He sang a song for us which he says was commonly heard among the people who
came to the Sand Hills looking for a job. The song mentions that area of our town through
which King George Road runs on the south side of New Brunswick Avenue. It also mentions
the area in the vicinity of Crow's Mill Road which runs into Keasbey and today is only the
ghost of a once thriving clay village.
The song Mr. Egan sings has words like these:
"I came to Sand Hills to get me a job,
I met Billy Barr and he sent me to Bob
Saying "If Bob doesn't give it, I'm sure Howe will
Give you a job digging clay in the dreary Sand hills.
There is Francis Ostrander, who owns a clay mine
Pfeiffer and Edgar and Bob Valentine.
If you don't get a job there, go down to Crow's Mill
For it's all the same clay on the dreary Sand Hills."
The "Bob" and "Howe" referred to were the Valentine men who owned the clay pits. There
are other verses in the song which mention the fact that those who worked in the clay pits
received "twelve shillings a day".
The Fords Porcelain Works was also on King George Road close to the Lehigh Valley
railroad. It was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Abel Hansen and used to make bath tubs, sinks
and toilet bowls out of clay. These products had to be crated before they could be loaded on
freight trains for delivery and many Fords school boys found ready employment making
crates and boxes out of wood. There was another clay pit out beyond what is now Fords
Park known as Ryan's. In this area too, clay products were made.
A man by the name of Wiseman owned a cement factory in the vicinity of where School
#14 is today. Several Fords men worked there making those cornices and borders which were
used to decorate cement and brick buildings at that time. Then there were privately owned
enterprises such as dairy farms, and a blacksmith shop which forged horse shoes, mended
farm machinery and repaired tools and wagons. This blacksmith shop was owned
by Mr. John Liddle and his son Charles and for many years was a well known landmark
in the vicinity in the rear of the Gross building on King George Road. The Fords Coal and
Lumber Company was established in 1925 on the old Valentine Brick factory site on King
George Road beyond New Brunswick Avenue. This company still does a thriving business.
Today the industrial face of Fords has changed. In the Sand Hills section of the town, are
located many of the prominent industries along King George Road. The products made there
now lean toward chemicals with Heyden Newport Chemical Co., Hatco Chemical Co. leading
the field. Also on King George Road is Pradex Plastics Co. Heyden Newport Chemical Co.
make all kinds of intermediate, organicchemicals which are used in the plastic drug and paint
industries. Hatco Chemical Co. specializes in plasticizers, one of the largest producers in the
country. Rasmussen and Son is also located on King George Road. It is a general rigging
The Catalin Corporation is located on Meadow Road. It was established in 1929
and manufactures synthetic resins used in varnishes and several medicines. Another well
known industry in Fords which is located on Gross Avenue is the Plymouth Bus Co. which
was established in 1928. This is the company that furnishes the comfortable motor coaches
which carry the school children far and wide on all kinds of field trips. The Snow White
Laundry, located on Douglas Street, was established in 1930. It offers many kinds of laundry
Molded Fashions began business in a building on Grace Street in 1933. It is a small in-
dustry which makes and sells winter and summer clothes such as coats, jackets, dresses and
toppers. John Both and Son is a custom woodworking shop on Jersey Avenue. It started in
1962 and makes many things out of wood, kitchen cabinets, book cases, desks, hutches,
store fixtures, bars, vanities and so forth.
Because of Fords' favorable location close to the New Jersey Turnpike and the Raritan
River, transportation and shipping facilities are such that markets for all kinds of manu-
factured products are close by in the metropolitan area of large cities, such as New York,
Newark and Philadelphia. With an ever increasing housing development creeping into the
town, and the necessity for the inhabitants to find employment, there is a great possibility
that the industrial potential of Fords will grow and expand in the future.
The typists of the "Pencil Pushers
Press" Fords School No. 7 news-
paper 1962—1963. Left to right:
.Mary Mason, Donna Sarisky
Pamela Koch, Joyce Zambo, and
FORDS NEWS CIRCULATING
Submitted by Colette Kozak
Many years ago, there were no telephones, radios, newspapers, etc. The only means of
communication was by messenger and posting notices at the community hall. Today, we
have so many inventions that bring the daily news to us within minutes.
Is there any school today? Whafs the weather forecast? Is the P.T.A. meeting Thursday? —
Where and how can we find the answers to these questions? — We can listen for the fire
whisdes, tune in the local radio stations and read our local newspapers. Isn't it wonderful
to be able to get all our answers right within our own home?
We in Fords have the New Brunswick Radio Station WCTC in New Brunswick to report
the local news for our town. We are fortunate to be able to pick up our phone to report
on P.T.A. meetings, election notices, school closings, etc. and get the necessary results without
having to leave our home.
We have two local newspapers that serve our community. A weekly. The Independent
Leader of Woodbridge, and a daily. The Perth Amboy Evening News of Perth Amboy.
Local news stories can be phoned in and pictures sent to the papers to be published so that
the people of Fords can be informed of the happenings.
The first newspaper in the State of New Jersey was published in Woodbridge in 1775. In
1877, The Independent Hour was the weekly newspaper in Woodbridge. Some of the fore-
runners of The Independent Leader of Woodbridge were: Weekly Register, Woodbridge News,
Woodbridge Leader Journal and The Woodbridge Independent. In 1939, a merger between
The Woodbridge Leader-Journal and The Woodbridge Independent under the title of The
Independent Leader was continued. The Independent Leader then published two other news-
papers, The Edison-Township-Fords Beacon and the Carteret Press.
Today, The Independent Leader of Woodbridge, is a weekly newspaper serving Fords and
the rest of the Township.
The first local daily newspaper that served Fords started back in 1903. News was sent
from Fords by trolleys and buses to The Perth Amboy Evening News office for publica-
tion. In 1907, one of the first newspaper boys in Fords was Frederick A. Olsen. The local
Fords newsdealer was Ferbel's on New Brunswick Avenue. As the town grew, so did the news
delivery. A branch office of The Perth Amboy Evening News was opened in 1933. By 1940,
the local Fords daily news circulation was 1,250 A. B.C. Today, twenty three years later.
Fords local daily newspaper circulation is 3,047 A. B.C.
L. Scott Olsen, a former pupil of Fords School #7, and son of Frederick A. Olsen, is the
circulation manager of The Perth Amboy Evening News. George Molnar, another Fords
resident, has been The Evening News photographer for a good many years. Many of our
classmates today are newsboys for the local newspapers.
Actually, the only newspapers really published in the town of Fords is our own The Pencil
Pushers Press, a school newspaper edited by boys and girls of Fords School #7, and the
Falconian edited by the children in Fords Jr. High.
PARKS, PLAYGROUNDS, AND RECREATION
At the turn of the century, youngsters in Fords had no supervised recreation. No public
parks or playgrounds in the Fords area are recorded, however the youth of Fords had no
problem finding a place to play. Open fields and cow grazing pastures were common. In these
fields you could always find a group of youngsters playing baseball or football. They didn't
have nine players on one team or a regulation baseball or bat, but a cloth wound tightly
around a stone and a branch or broom served the purpose perfectly.
About 1915 several privately organized teams played baseball in Fords. The Marions
A.C. (Jack Egan's team) played their games, with almost official equipment on a field which
they maintained on New Brunswick Avenue in the area of Herbert's Garage. The Fords
Field Club (Steve Antonio) played their games on a field on Liberty Street which has been
absorbed by the building of the Crestview Terrace housing project. The Possum A.C. had
their field complete with back-stop at the site of School #14. Keasbey had the only fenced
in ball-park with bleachers. One had to pay to see a game there. A Perth Amboy team known
as the Pacer's A.C. used it as their home field. Woodland Avenue is the sight of one of the
largest playgrounds in Fords. It has a wading pool, swings, slides, sand box, merry-go-
round, monkey bars, and all the latest playground equipment. This has all been accomplished
in the last ten years. The latest playground is in Lafayette Estates known as Quigely Field.
It was dedicated in 1963.
Fishing and ice skating were excellent in Fords in early 1900. Many brooks, creeks, and
ponds were famous for fishing. Sling taile creek, which was most famous in Fords, ran
almost perpendicular to King George Post Road. Kinsey Creek also popular, ran from a
pond in the vicinity of New Brunswick Avenue between Raymond Street and Paul Street to
the Raritan River.
North of Main Street and Mary Avenue was a large track of open land known as Cutters.
This area had two big ponds with an ice house between them. Here, people from surrounding
areas, came to ice skate in the winter and buy their ice which was stored from the ponds
in the ice house for summer sales. This area was very famous for swimming, fishing, ice
skating, and ice hockey. Now it is the sight of the New Jersey Turnpike and Parkway Ex-
change. Fords Park, which is the only park in Fords, was authorized in 1929. However it
was in 1932 and 1933 that the W.P.A. undertook the building of this park.
Deborah Rose Pajok
BABE RUTH BASEBALL AND POP WARNER FOOTBALL
Babe Ruth Baseball League was organized in 1959 and is also a privately organized
League consisting of six teams. Boys ranging in age from thirteen to fifteen qualify for this
league, which has a field also in Fords Park leased from the Township for ten years.
Fords also prides itself in its Pop Warner Football Team. The Fords Youth Assn. applied
for its charter in 1959. Again individuals, volunteered money and services to organize the
first Pop Warner Football Team in the area. Today this organization supervises football
for boys ages 9 through 13 years of age, and basketball for boys and girls 9 to 15 years.
The first known Girl Scout troop in Fords was active in approximately 1937 and was
led by Dorothy Kreyling who was the daughter of the pastor of Our Redeemer's Lutheran
Church, which sponsored the troop.
Woodbridge Township Girl Scout Council was not formed until about 1946 and therefore
there are no records available before that time.
Girl Scouting in Fords was quite inactive until the mid 1950's, when troops began to form.
Now, in 1964 there are ten Brownie troops, fourteen Junior troops and nine Cadet troops
with about five hundred girls participating.
BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA
Boy Scouts of America was first thought of in the year 1919. In the year of 1922, on
December 5th, a new constitution was adopted. In 1924 the National Council decided to
bring under first class council operation as a Scouting District to the following parts of
Middlesex County: Perth Amboy, Woodbridge Township, Fords, and Carteret. The name of
the council was changed in the year 1924 to The Perth Amboy District Council which is the
headquarters for all boy scouts in this area. Four divisions were comprised in October, 1925.
Troop 52 started in 1925— 1928 and was sponsored by the Lutheran Church until 1932.
In 1939 the Parent Scouters" Association assumed responsibility. Walter Neary was then scout
master and Art Fedderson chairman.
Troop 53 started in April, 1943, and was sponsored by Our Lady of Peace
Church. Charles Celecki was scout master and John Pressler, chairman.
Troop 51 started in 1948 and was sponsored by the Fords Lions Club. Michael Volosin
was scout master and Clifford Dunham Chairman.
Today there are several troops of Boy Scouts as well as many Cub Packs. 1931 saw the
beginning of Cub Scouts. The first had 81 cubs. In 1948 they then had 1,554 cub scouts,
with 244 leaders. In years which have passed, all of these have grown in numbers.
Scouting has contributed to the community in making boys learn to grow into responsible
manhood and teaches all boys to be of service to others. Their motto is, "Be Prepared.'"
Stewart J ago
FORDS-CI.ARA BARTON BOYS LEAGUE 19»i;i
An all star team in the major national division. Four boys picked from each team to play against a major
American Division Team.
First row kneeling; George Slicner, William Yetman, Donald Saranczak, Anthony Russamano, Bruce Malega,
Keith VVentura, Kenneth Timko, Albert Kinal.
Second row standing: Kenneth Knglish, David Rodecker, Kenneth laanorone, Jack Krukus, Gary SchuUer,
Terry Fox, Daniel Liberti, Alex Lukacs.
FORDS LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL
That which is known as Little League Baseball had its origin in 1951 when Father Grimes
and several men from the Our Lady of Peace Holy Name Society established the first base-
ball teams in Fords for boys between the age of eight and twelve years. The first president
was Mr. Ernest Dubay.
In the beginning there were eight teams. So many young boys in the community were
interested in joining the league that the number of teams expanded rapidly. In order to
obtain a legal charter which would enable the teams to become identified with "Little League""
as it is known throughout the nation it was necessary to become associated with Little League
of Williamsport, Penna. This posed some difficulties so today little league baseball teams in
Fords have no affiliation with any National organization. They are controlled by an inde-
pendent association known as the Fords-Clara Barton Boys Baseball League. It is registered
in the county seat of Middlesex County and in the State House at Trenton, New Jersey. The
meetings are held the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month in the cafeteria of Our
Lady of Peace School in Fords.
Today there are over five hundred boys involved in the activity, making thirty teams,
divided into groups of Midgets, Minors, and Majors. These boys are guided by more than
four hundred active fathers. A non profit organization, it is sustained by public contribution.
Funds are collected by tag days, raffles, donations, sponsors and advertisers. They also
receive help from the "Ladies Auxiliary of Fords Little League Baseball"".
There are several playing fields in the area. Some of them are Dennis Memorial Field,
Woodland Avenue Held, Bobal Field, Clara Barton Field, Roosevelt Park Field *1. These
fields are maintained by Woodbridge and Edison Townships with some assistance by the
fathers of the boys.
Matthew J ago
LANDMARKS, THEN AND NOW
On Vine Street, in Fords, about fifty years ago, the Fords Art Stone Company was located.
The business was owned by two gentlemen named Ernest and Wiseman. It is believed that
some of the material produced by the company was used in large and important buildings
in New York. Another company, Mungar Aircraft, was doing business on Vine Street about
the same time.
Just around the corner of Vine Street, on Ford Avenue and Wildwood Avenue, horses were
brought to the Slaughter House that did business there at the same time. The animals pro-
vided hide and leather goods for the town.
In the Sand Hill section of Fords, on the east side of King George's Road, Abel Hansen's
Fords Porcelain Works manufactured bathroom fixtures and accessories. They supplied hotels
and other establishments in the area. The land now used by the Heyden Chemical
and Catalin Corporation was once owned by Ostrander, where they manufactured firebrick.
During the time of the First World War the same buildings were put to a new use, the making
of gun powder. This helped to supply the fighting forces in England and France.
Many foreigners who settled in Fords years ago went to the brick company for work. They
lived in a large wooden building of about thirty rooms, which was known as Castle Dunder
in the Dreary Sand Hills.
Years ago in the same Sand Hill area there was a spot known as the Devil's Dancing
Ground. It covered an area about fifty feet by a hundred feet, and it was covered with grass
that stayed green all year round. Because of this, the people were very superstitious and
would not walk on this ground.
A popular swimming place at the time was called the Blue Mines. It got its name from
the blue clay that surrounded the water. The water was always looking blue, and while
it was a dangerous place to swim the people swam there anyway. The swimming hole
was located off Meadow Lane near Heyden Chemical. Burma Road is the unofficial nick-
name for Meadow Lane and a lot of people still recognize that name today.
Route 9 and 35 and the Garden State Parkway cross over the land that was Steve Senior's
farm. The farmer made all his milk deUveries by hand, carrying the cans for delivery. The
section was known as Allendal Terrace. It was later changed to Hopelawn, being named
after a prominent family by the name of Hope.
The Cutter Homestead on Main Street in Fords is an old landmark. It is now owned by
the Solowinski family.
Down on Murdock Street in Fords, an old Ice-House supplied the town with its ice. The
ice was cut in blocks from the surrounding lakes and stored in the house for summer use.
Salt hay and saw dust helped keep the ice from meUing during the summer weather. The
business was owned by the Liddle family and it stood on the spot that is known today as
The Hamilton family believes that their little house at 360 New Brunswick Avenue is one
of the oldest homes in Fords. This sturdy little house, still standing today, is over a hundred
Alexander Hamilton, the father of Mr. James Hamilton and Mrs. Claire Mehok, was raised
in the little house. Many years ago the little house stood in the front of their property. Two
huge maple trees shaded the front of the home, and a white picket fence surrounded the
house and the trees. When Alexander Hamilton was twenty-one years old the small house
was moved to the back to make room for a new and larger house for the family. The big
house is about seventy-five years old.
The century old house had four rooms, later the kitchen was taken off Boards for the
house were cut from large trees and were hand hewn, very different from the lumber we use
today. Wooden pegs, which were used in place of nails in those days, can still be seen in the
beams in the attic.
The large red brick fireplace is still in the house and nothing about it has been changed.
The fireplace covered one whole wall in the parlor.
Even though the first owners were painters they never painted the house; they white-washed
it. Every year on Decoration Day everything was white washed. The rocks around the trees
were also given a fresh coat of paint.
Many years ago there was an apple orchard where the Acme now stands. The
family planned putting up a hotel but they never got around to doing it. There is a large
Dutch elm at the corner of the property. When the little house was built the Dutch ehn was
planted. The tree is over a hundred years old and is still thriving and healthy today.
LOCAL UNION #270
What used to be the Grace Lutheran Church Parish House on King George Road is now
the home of Local Union #270. This is the only labor union local in Fords.
It was started in 1901 in Perth Amboy. Then in 1958 it moved to Fords. The purpose
of this local is to train young men to become competent craftsmen and to supply building
contractors with skilled mechanics in the plumbing and pipefitting business; also to improve
living standards and conditions of the working men.
This is an organization of apprentices, plumbers, pipe fitters, and pipe welders.
The president of this club is Aloysius C. Beatty. The vice president is Leroy Buchan. The
recording secretary is Willard Neary. The financial secretary is John V. Mansfield.
Nels John Lauritzen, Chief of Woodbridge
Township Police is the second of Ford's sons
to rise to this position. He has steadily prog-
ressed through thirty-four years of service to
the department by earning his promotions
through Civil Service, from patrolman to head
man, being the only chief who has experienced
service in each of the given ranks along the
way. Chief Lauritzen lives at 41 Egan Avenue,
Fords. He expects to retire from his police
duties in .September, 1964.
Detective Daniel C. Panconi, secretary to
Chief of Police Nels Lauritzen is also a Fords
man living at 68 Maxwell Avenue, Fords.
IN MEMORY OF WILLIAM J. WARREN
who served the community of Fords wisely
and well, as a fire commissioner, and for twelve
years as a Township Committee Member. Mr.
Warren was appointed to the Board of P'ree-
holders and was elected to office for four terms.
He departed from this earth May 28th, 1964,
the day "Fords Yesterday and Today" went
to press. May his soul rest in peace.
It was not our purpose to write a history of the venerable and fruitful
area of Woodbridge Township, alluring and challenging as the prospect
might have been. However, we did try to identify the community of
Fords, one of the vital segments of Woodbridge Township, with
a heritage that is more or less its own, so that the boys and
girls growing up and going to school in the town, might push their
roots deep into the nutrients of the past and thus nourish the paths
they follow into the future, so that their fledgling growth might
be accompanied by a feeling of belonging and a desire to participate
in those educational, recreational, civic, cultural, social and spiritual
activities, which by nature of their significance, can color and enrich
their experiences today, simultaneously enabling them to pattern their
maturing personalities toward becoming those kinds of citizens that
this changing world commands them to be tomorrow.
Dorothy F. D. Ludewig
"FORDS, YESTERDAY AND TODAY"
printed and published by the
Lawrence F. Campion, Publisher
18-20 Green Street, Woodbridge, New Jersey
in cooperation with
Mrs. Dorothy F. D. Ludewig
Principal — School #7, Fords
Woodbridge Township, New Jersey
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