31 December 2010

Thank You Central New Jersey

This has turned out to be an amazing year for Walk Now For Autism Speaks Central New Jersey. Together, we have raised over $230,000 to find the causes, treatments, and, ultimately, cures for autism. We obliterated last year's total by more than $50,000!

What is even more astounding is that our own Hillsborough community, led by the members of our Hillsborough's Hope team, was once again so generous and enthusiastic in their support, allowing us to repeat as the 2010 top fundraiser - leading the way with nearly $14,000.


Hillsborough's Hope would like to thank the following for supporting our team's efforts:

Assemblyman Peter J. Biondi

Mayor Frank DelCore

Mr. Scott Rocco, Interim Superintendent of the Schools

Dr. Neil Shusterman, DDS

Dr. Laurene Wolf DMD, MSD

Principal Volpe, Teachers and Staff at Hillsborough Elementary School

Bagel Bistro & Grill, Hillsborough (formerly Bagel BOP) for their in-kind donation for the walk. Thanks, Russ!

Woods Road School Teachers:

Ms. Whitney Impellizeri and Ms. Alyson Williams for joining our team and working with our kids every day!

and to all of the Principals of the Hillsborough Elementary Schools and Auten Road Intermediate School Principal Mr. Carey

All of the families and friends in the Hillsborough School District who have so generously contributed to our fundraising efforts.

Patty and I would also like to thank the dedicated volunteers of Hillsborough's Hope - Kelly Neuberger, Kathy Lang, and Lisa Dickholz - and their families, for giving up their time to work with us on this cause.

Happy New Year!

30 December 2010

New Administrator/Clerk

Former mayor and longtime Planning Board and MUA member Mike Merdinger has been chosen from a pool of nearly four dozen applicants to become Hillsborough's new administrator/clerk. Read the full story here.

Merdinger will begin his new post on January 5th.

Although he will be new to the particular duties of a municipal administrator, the Flagtown resident has many years of private sector management experience in the environmental engineering realm, most recently working on a multimillion dollar waste management project in Kuwait.

This coming year will mark the beginning of Merdinger's fifth decade of service to Hillsborough.

29 December 2010

All the Old News That Didn't Fit

The end of the year is almost here - and I still have so much more to write.

Here are some of the stories I just couldn't find time for in 2010.

  • The murder of eleven-year-old Josephine Krysowaty
  • Forty years of Hillsborough Twp. High School Football
  • Somerset County's "Amazing Race"
  • The history of Woods Tavern
  • Hillsborough's most famous, and outspoken, freed slave
  • Elmer Clawson, boy murderer
  • The tragic murder of Bell executive Andrew J. Morton
  • The railroad that put "Hillsboro" on the map

As is usually the case, the only thing separating a job well done from a piece of garbage, is having the time to do the job right.

The beginning of a new year offers nothing if not time.

28 December 2010

See you on the "Quad"

I wrote about Hillsborough's Meadows development back in 2007 - click here to read the story of one of our town's most fascinating neighborhoods.

Then check out these two original ads from 1977.



27 December 2010

"Tastefully Appointed Luxury..." at Kimberwyck Village

Hillsborough absolutely abounds in "tasteful" apartment complexes. Don't take it from me - read this September 1974 ad for Kimberwyck Village.



That two bedroom duplex with full basement sounds like a good deal at $300 per month - even in 1974 dollars.

23 December 2010

New Jersey First, Last, and Always

It's being reported today that New Jersey faces a $53 billion deficit in its retiree pension obligations. That's a number that, according to the governor's office, could rise to over $180 billion in thirty years - if we don't change the system now.

Meanwhile, Governor Chris Christie is mulling over whether or not to sign the "New Jersey First Act". The bill, passed by the Senate this week, will require new state employees to live in New Jersey, or establish primary residence here within one year of beginning work. Current employees who live out of state would be exempt from the provision.

It occurs to me that these two issues have a lot in common.

If new public employees have to live here to work here, maybe new retirees should have to live here to collect their pensions.

It would be interesting to find out how many pension checks are mailed out of state, or transferred by direct deposit to banks in Florida, or North Carolina. All of that capital leaving the state can not possibly have a positive effect on our economy.

Pension checks received in New Jersey are likely to be spent in New Jersey, benefiting our economy.

Perhaps there is a formula where part of the pension could be awarded as a property tax credit - sell your house, move away, and lose the credit.

What do you think?

22 December 2010

Barking Up the Right Tree

I had to read the MyCentralJersey.com Hillsborough dog license fee story through a couple of times, and do some math, before I figured out what was going on.

It's not obvious from the story, but with some multiplication and division, I was able to determine that there are about 3,600 dogs in the township. The $7 license fee established twenty years ago just has not kept pace with the amount Hillsborough pays annually for state mandated animal control services. In 2010, pet owners contributed $25,000 toward the $60,000 fee, with the balance being made up out of the general fund, i.e. your tax dollar.

Don't get me wrong, I don't believe dog owners should shoulder the entire cost for animal control - especially since it is expected to be as much as $126,000 by 2012. After all, the entire town benefits from these services, even if you don't own so much as a goldfish.

Still, the Hillsborough Township Committee's proposal to gradually raise the license fee to $20 over the next two years will mean that leash holders will be covering about 55% of the expenditure - which seems just about pawfect.

20 December 2010

Nixle

Here's a nice tool to stay on top of road closures/motor vehicle accidents in Hillsborough.

http://local.nixle.com/city/nj/hillsborough/


Sign up to receive email alerts from the Hillsborough Township Police Department.

17 December 2010

Get Employed Sooner

Contrary to Assemblyman Alex DeCroce's assertion that the unemployed are "gaming the system" by not taking jobs, I would offer that the majority of people receiving unemployment benefits are making valid economic decisions for themselves and their families.

Look at it this way - a person who has been out of work for more than a month or two has probably taken the kids out of daycare, started cutting his own lawn, saved a bunch of money on gas, tolls, and lunches, etc. And I haven't even hit on all of the other opportunity costs of having to get up to work your nine-to-five job - or the stress that comes with the daily grind.

In order to go back to his previous lifestyle, that person will need to find a job that pays significantly MORE than unemployment. The trick is to hit that sweet spot - and it's different for everyone.

If the goal is to prod people back to work, the New Jersey legislature should start by creating a system where the tipping point comes sooner rather than later - perhaps by reducing benefits over time, making an undesirable job at week five look like a great job by week fifteen. Only then will we be able to fix this mess.

15 December 2010

"These People"

"Who ARE THESE PEOPLE?" That's not the tag line from Jerry Seinfeld's latest stand-up routine. It's what Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver is asking Minority Leader Alex DeCroce.

While speaking about unemployment insurance benefits, DeCroce used the term "these people" to refer to unemployed individuals who were "gaming the system" to continue receiving benefits instead of looking for work.

Oliver was quick to play the race card. Whether or not she is particularly sensitive to the words "these people" is unclear. What is clear is that she lost no time in seizing this opportunity to turn a real issue - New Jersey's broken unemployment insurance system - into politics as usual.

And yes, Seinfeld fans, there IS something wrong with that.

09 December 2010

"Fake Farmers"

There are two interesting stories in today's Courier News about the New Jersey farmland assessment program. State Senator Jennifer Beck from Monmouth County is once again calling on lawmakers to reform the outdated program whereby property owners with as few as 5 acres of land can get a significant tax break - up to 98% off! - by selling as little as $500 worth of farm products.

Senator Beck goes so far as to call these people "fake farmers". I think she may be right.

The key statistic for me - and these stories were full of stats - is that people are paying up to $1 million per acre for some of these "farms" - and paying just a few dollars in taxes. Obviously, the land's value doesn't derive from being a farm. It's value is as a buffer for a grand estate, or as a potential development. Take a look at this farm for sale in Titusville to see what I mean.

http://www.lisajamesotto.com/172-Pleasant-Valley-Road-a188957.html


There is a simple first step that NJ lawmakers can take to fix this broken system. The $500 threshold was created in 1964. Simply allowing for inflation would raise that number to $3500. At that amount, a property owner might have to have some sort of real operation - some kind of "real farming" - and not just a half dozen beehives, or a couple of alpacas.

08 December 2010

Irrational, Cynical, Adulthood

It was April 1970. Must have been just after noon, as I was in PM Kindergarten at Burlington Road School. We were getting settled at our desks when a classmate whispered, "the Beatles broke up, my sister told me."

I remember thinking, how old is this girl's sister? how would she know if the Beatles broke up? this doesn't make any sense.

"The Beatles are NOT breaking up." I was as defiant as a six-year-old can be. None of my friends' parents were divorced, everyone had two grandmothers and two grandfathers, and the Beatles will never break up.

That ten year period brom April 1970 to December 1980 was my whole rational, idealistic, childhood. I'm not sure what to call the last thirty years. Irrational, cynical, adulthood, perhaps?

07 December 2010

Goodbye, Mercury

Now that the last shipment of mercury has left for Nevada, it might be pointed out that thirty years ago, the General Services Administration's South Somerville Depot was just one of 117 Federal depots charged with stockpiling 93 strategic commodities. Among the 35 materials stored at the Hillsborough Township location on Route 206 just south of the Doris Duke estate were antimony, asbestos, beryllium metal, cobalt, copper, crude rubber, iodine, tin, and mercury - an inventory that was then worth a half billion dollars.
Photo from The New York Times, 25 May 1978

Originally intended to store enough materials to fight the first five years of a war, cutbacks under President Nixon reduced the nation's stockpiles to less than three years. President Ford initiated a program to rebuild the stockpile - a program that was continued by Jimmy Carter.

Photo from The New York Times, 25 May 1978


When a New York Times reporter visited the depot in May 1978, managers were quick to point out the dangers posed by many of the materials. The more than 1,000 tons of crude iodine was said to be particularly hazardous, as was the 12,000 tons of crude asbestos stored in burlap bags. Employees were required to wear protective clothing and follow other OSHA regulations when handling such materials.

As you might expect special mention was made of the 2,659 tons of mercury stored in steel flasks. An electronic sniffer that could detect mercury odors as small as between one and two parts per million was employed in the warehouse. It was noted that inhalation of mercury vapors "can damage the brain and kill."

Good riddance!

06 December 2010

Hard to Swallow - But Worth It

Since I endorsed Chris Christie for governor, people have been asking me if I still support him. The short answer is "yes".

Does this mean that I agree with every decision he has made? Actually, It's hard for me to think of one I DISAGREE with. Certainly, losing $6 million in state aid for our Hillsborough Township Schools - including $800,000 of our surplus - was tough to swallow.

But look - it's not a cop-out to ask, "what's the alternative?" When I was a kid, I didn't like swallowing that awful spoonful of cough syrup, but it had to go down.

What Christie is doing has got to go down, too. The state will be better for it.

30 November 2010

"Extravagant, Luxurious..." Beekman Gardens

Here are some 1977 ads for the Beekman Gardens and Beekman Village apartments and townhouses.







Rents that started at $260 per month 34 years ago are now at $1000.


29 November 2010

A "most beautiful" Complex

Here's an ad from January 1975 for Hillsborough Gardens, one of the many apartment and townhouse developments in the Triangle Road - Farm Road area.




According to the real estate websites, monthly rents have more than quadrupled over the past 36 years, with an 872 sq. ft. apartment now starting at $985.


25 November 2010

"Bring Your Own Turkey? Sure!"

It's Thanksgiving in Hillsborough, circa 1960. I hope you brought your appetite -and your turkey!

November 1960 Ad for Thanksgiving Dinner at the Town and Country Inn
Click on the image to enlarge the menu.

18 November 2010

Shovel-Ready, 1897

When the members of the Bridgewater Township Committee were roused from their beds by phone calls and messengers just after midnight on October 24, 1897, they probably weren't expecting to hear that they were in the midst of an invasion by "a thousand men from Baltimore", but that was exactly what was happening.

New York Times headline, 25 October 1897

The New York and Philadelphia Traction Company had been involved in a bitter three-year dispute with the Brunswick Traction Company over who had the legal right to build and operate a trolley line between Bound Brook and Somerville. Earlier that evening, a train left Baltimore for Finderne carrying enough railroad track for two and a half miles of road, a trolley car, and 1,000 laborers, foremen, and engineers under the employ of the New York and Philadelphia Traction Company - with orders to build the railway, and let nothing stand in their way.

The few police officers the township committee had at their disposal were completely ineffectual, so they called on the Somerset County Sheriff - who quickly recruited 50 "special deputies". He was joined by Edward Radel, the president of the Brunswick Traction Company, who arrived a short time later with 50 men of his own, and an injunction from a Superior Court Judge.

The New York and Philadelphia men, who outnumbered the locals by ten to one, kept right on working - digging up the street, setting sleepers, laying rail, and setting poles - despite a pouring rain all day. Fueled by coffee, and the occasional "stronger stimulant", the laborers worked at an incredible pace. By the afternoon, they were already stringing the overhead electric cable.

President Radel made one last stand at a 1,000 ft. stretch of land bordering a farm which he owned, but his men were easily overpowered and the work went on.


Main Street Somerville with Troilley Car, circa 1900
Somerville, NJ circa 1910 showing trolley
New York lawyer John B. Shaw, a supporter of the New York and Philadelphia Company, recently had a large dynamo installed at his magnificent residence in Finderne, supposedly to supply electric light. It was from this location that power was supplied to the trolley line.


By the following morning, the invading army had left for Maryland, eager to be out of the state before any legal action could take place.

And that's how a shovel-ready project was completed in one day in 1897.

Let's see how long it is before the first number 7 train pulls into Secaucus. I'm guessing ten years, minimum.

17 November 2010

"Next stop Secaucus - Watch the closing doors"

Now that Governor Christie has sunk the ARC rail tunnel, plans are being floated by the Bloomberg administration to turn New Jersey commuters into straphangers by bringing New York's Number 7 subway line under the Hudson.

New York City's 7 train with the Newark skyline in the background

The line, which runs from Flushing, Queens to Times Square, is already undergoing an extension project which will bring the tracks right up to the Hudson River waterfront at 11th Avenue and 34th Street.

The main advantage this plan has over the ARC tunnel is the cost to New Jersey taxpayers. The overall price tag is estimated to be less than half the amount of the NJ Transit ARC tunnel, plus, other jurisdictions - New York City, Port Authority - would be expected to chip in this time.

The disadvantage is that the ARC tunnel promised a "one seat ride" into the city for many commuters, whereas the new plan would have commuters switch to the 7 train at Secaucus.

The proposal appears to be sound. In fact, it really is not very different than the PATH trains that already run under the Hudson in two separate tunnels - and require jumping on and off at Newark or Hoboken.

Hillsborough Township commuters know that potential reactivation of NJ Transit's West Trenton Line is wholly dependent on increasing Hudson River tunnel capacity. This proposal does the trick, and would potentially allow West Trenton Line trains to deliver passengers to Secaucus for transfer to the subway.

31 October 2010

Happy Halloween

Everett's Farm, October 2000

Time for pumpkins at Everett's Farm on Beekman Lane - ten years ago this month!

Pumpkins are slow growers - unlike that redhead in the middle.

Norz Hill Farm, October 2010

20 October 2010

Conveniently Located

This small ad ran week after week in the autumn of 1961.


PartridgeRunAdSept1961


Oxford Place residents take note - proximity to Route 206 is a selling point!

13 October 2010

All's Well that Ends Well - in the Well

Nothing gets your name in the paper - or your story on the 24-hour news channels - like falling down a well. From Tikki-Tikki-Tembo to the trapped Chilean miners, the price paid for your 15 minutes of fame can range from several hours to 69 days.


As the miners are being rescued this morning - practically 23 years to the day after "Baby Jessica" took her tumble in Midland, Texas - we can reflect on Hillsborough's entry into well lore. Here's the New York Times headline form October of 1932.

William Richter, a 53-year-old German immigrant from Union City was spending the weekend at a farm he owned in Hillsborough when he decided to investigate whether or not an old well on the property could be made serviceable.

Richter enlisted the aid of local teen Benny Kukuruza to help him get a ladder down the well. Richter went first, and was able to get to the bottom, but as Kukuruza started down, the walls of the well, built with rocks that had been dry-fitted without cement, began to crumble, trapping Richter.

Several of the larger stones pressed against his face and chest, immobilizing him. Fortunately, Kukuruza escaped the cave-in and was able to call for help.

After five hours of digging, rescue squad members Edward Haring and Harry Lambert were lowered into the well where they secured Richter to a rope which allowed the weekend farmer to be pulled to the surface.

Not surprisingly, it was the rescuer Haring who was taken to the hospital after the ordeal - suffering from nervous shock.

12 October 2010

Sold on Sonic?

Sold on Sonic?

Try turning the clock back to 1964 for this tasty treat.

Hillsborough Dairy Queen Ad, June 1964

I'd love to see a Dairy Queen re-open in that location.

How about you?

11 October 2010

If You Build It, They Will Camp, part 2

The mission of the Somerset County Parks Commission, going all the way back to its formation in the mid 50s, is to provide recreational opportunities for county residents. To that end, they have built facilities for tennis and golf, hiking and fishing, baseball and bocce. But one recreational pastime oft-mentioned as a projected use of Somerset County parks has been lately overlooked.


Overnight camping.
Hillsborough Cub Scout Pack 89 Fall Camping Trip, Teetertown Preserve


Yes, I know, you can get a permit for group camping for scouts at Colonial Park, but I still believe this falls short of the Parks Commission's original objectives.


In 1973, as the county was about to purchase 900 acres to add to the original 700 acres of what would eventually become the Sourland Mountain Preserve, the commission reiterated their desire to include overnight camping as a component of the park. Sadly, despite the preserve growing to 3000 acres, that has never come to pass.


Thirty years later, we are getting a second chance. With the pending cleanup of the former GSA Depot, Somerset County - which co-owns the properly with Hillsborough Township - will have an opportunity to allow camping on the edge of the Sourlands by incorporating the facilities needed into the plan for the proposed park.


What do you think?

10 October 2010

If You Build It, They Will Camp

I had the great pleasure to spend last weekend camping with the cub scouts of Hillsborough Pack 89 in the comparative wilds of northern Hunterdon County at Teetertown Preserve.

It was a super weekend with perfect clear blue skies and night time temps in the adventurous mid 40s - but there was one frustrating aspect to this trip....

...it wasn't setting up the tents...


Hillsborough Cub Scout Pack 89 Fall Camping Trip, Teetertown PreserveHillsborough Cub Scout Pack 89 Fall Camping Trip, Teetertown Preserve

...or the three mile hike...

Hillsborough Cub Scout Pack 89 Fall Camping Trip, Teetertown PreserveHillsborough Cub Scout Pack 89 Fall Camping Trip, Teetertown Preserve

...or getting the campfire going...


Hillsborough Cub Scout Pack 89 Fall Camping Trip, Teetertown Preserve
Hillsborough Cub Scout Pack 89 Fall Camping Trip, Teetertown Preserve

....or feeding the hungry hordes...

Hillsborough Cub Scout Pack 89 Fall Camping Trip, Teetertown Preserve
Hillsborough Cub Scout Pack 89 Fall Camping Trip, Teetertown Preserve

...or even losing to the ten-year-olds in the tug-of-war!

Hillsborough Cub Scout Pack 89 Fall Camping Trip, Teetertown Preserve

The most frustrating part of the entire weekend was the convoluted drive up into the Hunterdon hinterlands on the devious Cokesbury-Califon Rd. - guaranteed to fool your sense of direction, and your GPS.


If only the Somerset County Park System had a group campground somewhere nearby.....
(to be continued)

07 October 2010

"It's Somerset, N.J."

"It's Somerset, N.J."  That was the headline of the Franklin News-Record fifty years ago this week, as the paper reported the decision of the Franklin Township Council to name the township's first central post office after Somerset County.

When Hilsborough got its first central post office four decades later, there was never any doubt that the post office would be called "Hillsborough".  The Franklin Township councilmen of 1960 were faced with a much more difficult choice.  Federal regulations precluded naming the post office "Franklin" because of other communities in New Jersey already using that name - although Franklintown would have been an acceptable name, and was in the running.

Other possibilities under consideration included Somerfield, Rockingham, Middlebush, which was the name of the post office that would be closed when the new one opened, and Wilson, which was the choice of the Franklin Township Chamber of Commerce.

After several names were eliminated on successive ballots, the nine councilmen were left with a choice between Somerfield and Somerset.  The final vote was five to four.

Now, when someone tries to tell you that Somerset is a section of Franklin Township, you'll know where to send them your response!

04 October 2010

Claremont Hills, Middle Child

Here's an ad from June 1962 for the second of the three Hillsborough developments bearing some iteration of the "Claremont" name - the original Claremont Hills.

Claremont Hills ad, June 1962

Not to be confused with the mid-rise and two-story Auten Rd. condominium complex of the 1970s, or the Millstone River Rd. development from the 1950s, these houses can be found on the south side of Amwell Rd. between the high school and Pleasantview, and on the north side of Pleasantview.

By 1964 they had dropped the prices from $21,900 to $19,900 - but for a real bargain, you could have one of these exact same models in Manville for just $16,900!

See if you can spot all three models the next time you're in the passenger seat.

01 October 2010

Claremont Hills, Take Two

Did you know there are three residential developments in Hillsborough bearing the name Claremont? the first was Claremont Homes on Millstone River Rd. built in the 1950s.

This is the third - Claremont Hills, now commonly known as Claremont Towers. Here is an ad from June 1973, touting the luxury condominium's proximity to Princeton.

Claremont Hills Ad, 1973









The following ad from 1974 takes the form of a telegram to Gerald Ford, pledging their support of the President's plan to fight inflation by maintaining their 1973 prices and by offering mortgages "well below the allowable maximum"!

Claremont Hills ad, 1974






















The 1975 ad gets into the spirit of "The Godfather" by making "an offer you can't refuse".


Claremont Hills ad, 1975






















The second Claremont development is also called Claremont Hills, and was built in the 1960s. I'll give you a couple of days to guess where this development is. One clue - even a newcomer to Hillsborough has probably already driven past these houses hundreds of times.

22 September 2010

Own it all at Brookside Square

Welcome to Hillsborough's Brookside Square, circa 1976, where the dreams of home ownership all come true.

Brookside Square Ad, 1976


Own your townhouse. Own your lot. Own your membership in the private club. Own your full basement "suitable for dozens of uses". All for the low, low price of $37,990.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

18 September 2010

Check, Check, Check

I imagine one of the most frustrating aspects of working in local government is the inability to provide residents with the instant results they deserve - and that you would like to give.  Often, an elected official is given little or no grace period before he hears the cry of "broken promises!"  Go a little beyond that, and the conspiracy theorists begin their insinuations that the work was never intended to be done - or worse.

The fact is that some things take time.

Establishing railroad "quiet zones" at the Norfolk Southern crossings required much more than money.  Navigating the bureaucracy of the Federal Railway Administration took time.  And the payoff, notwithstanding a few stray horns this past week due to signalling issues, has been worth it - at least to my ears.

The concept of a new limited access highway through Hillsborough probably goes back more than 50 years to the initial construction of Interstate 95.  This "Somerset Freeway" took many forms over the decades, until finally being scuttled in the 80s.  Renewed plans for a 206 bypass have been around for more than ten years.  Interesting to realize that the first shovels went in the ground the same month that the missing link of Route 95 has at last been mapped out.

Hillsborough's "mercury problem" has also been around for decades, but it wasn't until 2001 that our township committee became aware, inadvertently, that most of the nation's stockpile was being stored in our backyard.  Hillsborough officials not only navigated the usual Washington bureaucracy, but also had to deal with the trepidations of the stockpiles new home.  The announcement by Hillsborough mayor Frank DelCore that one-fifth of the mercury was trucked to Nevada earlier this month, and the rest will be going soon, should come as no surprise to those who knew that this issue was much more than a perpetual campaign promise - it was actually a top priority.

Sometimes, those priorities take time.

03 September 2010

"...formerly known as Hillsboro"

On November 7, 2006, the village of Toms River swallowed Dover Township.  That was the day township voters approved a measure to change the name of their municipality from "The Township of Dover" to "Toms River Township".  Already generally known as Toms River by the public - and the Post Office - the change made sense.

Nearly 100 years ago, the village of Manville may have been on the verge of gobbling up Hillsborough.  Even though Manville didn't exist as an actual municipality until its separation from Hillsborough in 1929, the Boro was known as Manville right from the start.

Look at this newspaper ad from October of 1912.  This was before the Johns-Manville plant was even finished building.




At least Hillsborough, or "Hillsboro", gets top billing.
 
More telling is this newspaper story from the October 26, 1912 edition of the New Brunswick Times:

Terence P. Murphy, of this city, who is connected with the Brooks & Brooks Corporation of New York, which is developing the land at Manville, Somerset county, has arranged to take a number of people from this city to that place tomorrow, who are going there to look over lots. The car will leave this city tomorrow afternoon at 1.08 o'clock. At Bound Brook there will be a special train on the Lehigh Valley to run from that place to Manville. Tickets have been furnished to all those who are going to make the trip.  There have been factories recently erected at Manville at a cost of $8,000,000 and employing  3,500 people. Manville was formerly known as Hillsboro.
Check out the last sentence.

How do you think this played out with Hillsborough's farmers and villagers?  Was "Hillsborough" nearly wiped off the map?  Brooks & Brooks, who no doubt penned this press release-type story for the newspaper, obviously preferred their new name.  And I am sure Johns-Manville would have had no objection to the change either. 

02 September 2010

Now with....Expanso!

Here's a May 1955 ad for Hillsborough's first post-war development, Green Hills.
























I'm all over the Expanso.

01 September 2010

City Sewer Coming Soon!

Here's an August 1958 advertisement for the brand new Claremont Homes development on Millstone River Road.

18 August 2010

So Good, They Banned It

Check out these two ads from 1962.  Hillsborough's Village Green was the first post-war cluster development in New Jersey.

Cluster-zoning allowed for smaller individual lot sizes than the one to three acres usually permitted, with the remaining acreage being reserved for parkland and recreation.







Cluster-type developments were so innovative - and successful - that after Village Green, Hillsborough promptly disallowed future development of this type - a ban that lasted for many years.


16 August 2010

"...sleeping late...and...good living..." at Country Club Homes

Barbecues, fishing - sounds good.  But what really intrigues me about this September 1956 sales pitch for Hillsborough's Country Club Homes is the promise of "sleeping late".  Fifty-four years later, who among us wouldn't pony up $13,990 for a couple of extra hours in the morning?  





















Why were the 1956 Country Clubbers able to sleep so late?  Well, you have to read the small print for the answer.  According to the ad, our forebears only had a 3-minute ride to the train station!  And Manhattan was just 45 minutes away!

The above ad features two models - the Lanai, and the curiously named Foursome.  I'm hoping this model was supposed to have a golf connection - otherwise, I'd be inclined to wonder what the Threesome model looked like!

Need something a little smaller - or just looking to save $500?  This ad from 1957 features the charming "Nantucket Cape".






















The last time I was in the Country Club Homes development, I believe I spotted a few of these "Capes" in pretty near original condition.  Not bad, not bad at all.

13 August 2010

Happy 50th "Island" Park!

Somerset County residents and VIPs who came out on a rainy Saturday morning fifty years ago today for the grand opening of Somerset's first county park may have done a double-take when they looked at their programs.  What had been often referred to as "Raritan River Park", and most recently as "Island Park" had a new name.
As recently as August 11, the Thursday weeklies were touting the upcoming dedication of "Island Park".
The News-Record even provided a map, showing the location of Island Park on Old York Rd.

But careful readers may have noticed a second news story in the same newspaper - on the same page!


The Park Commission had just selected - indeed had received permission - to use the name "Duke Island Park".  Permission was granted by Doris Duke, who had already been instrumental in getting the park up and running even before the groundbreaking back in February.

The heiress, who resided just across the river on her Hillsborough estate, had provided $30,500 to repair the Headgates Dam, and had donated 55 acres of land - plus trees, shrubbery, and maintenance equipment.
 
 
It's obvious that Doris Duke felt an attachment to the park that bore her name. Less than four years after the park was dedicated, she magnanimously gave the county a staggering $493,000 for repairs and improvements - no strings attached.

12 August 2010

Scenes from the Hillsborough Family Campout

Hillsborough Township Parks and Rec held their annual Family Campout August 6th and 7th at Ann van Middlesworth Park.

I brought my camera.