Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Entry for East Orange in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

East Orange

A city of Essex county, New Jersey, U.S.A., in the north-eastern part of the state, adjoining the city of Newark, and about 12 m. W. of New York city. Pop. (1890) 13,282; (1900) 21,506, of whom 3950 were foreign-born and 1420 were negroes; (1906 estimate) 25,909. It is served by the Morris & Essex division of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western railway and by the Orange branch of the Erie (the former having three stations in the city - Grove Street, East Orange and Brick Church), and is connected with Newark, Orange and West Orange by electric line. The city covers an area of about 4 sq. m., and has broad, well-paved streets, bordered with fine shade trees (under the jurisdiction of a "Shade Tree Commission"). It is primarily a residential suburb of New York and Newark, and has many beautiful homes; with Orange, West Orange and South Orange it forms virtually one community, popularly known as "the Oranges." The public school system is excellent, and the city has a Carnegie library (1903), with more than 22,000 volumes in 1907. Among the principal buildings are several attractive churches, the city hall, and the club-house of the Woman's Club of Orange. The principal manufactures of East Orange are electrical machinery, apparatus, and supplies (the factory of the Crocker-Wheeler Co. being here - in a part of the city known as "Ampere") and pharmaceutical materials. The total value of the city's factory products in 1905 was $2,326,552. East Orange has a fine water-works system, which it owns and operates; the water supply is obtained from artesian wells at White Oaks Ridge, in the township of Milburn (about 10 m. from the city hall); thence the water is pumped to a steel reinforced reservoir (capacity 5,000,000 gallons) on the mountain back of South Orange. In 1863 the township of East Orange was separated from the township of Orange, which, in turn, had been separated from the township of Newark in 1806. An act of the New Jersey legislature in 1895 created the office of township president, with power of appointment and veto. Four years later East Orange was chartered as a city.

Note: The "pharmaceutical materials" referred to in the Britannica were the products of Seabury and Johnson in the Doddtown area of East Orange.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Riding and Driving Club

"The Orange Riding and Driving Club was incorporated June 8, 1892 and rented a riding academy on North Clinton Street for its meetings and for horse riding classes. In February of 1895, the building shown in the photo was constructed at 9 Halsted Street and it then became known as the East Orange Riding and Driving Club. It was an "L" shaped building with a rear outlet onto Prospect Place (which was cut into by the #280 Freeway and the grounds are now the Shop Rite Parking Lot). In its glory days, the club held annual autumn horse shows, races, and offered a place for residents to exercise and stable their horses (which were owned by most residents during that era). By 1918, the automobile was competing with horses for the streets and winning, so the club closed its doors." 

(text from http://www.eohistory.info/EOTimeLine/1895/RidingAndDrivingClub.htm)

The club was next door to the Orange Athletic Club building for a number of years.

Below: a story about the Essex Troop which had its quarters in Roseville:

October 30, 1907 – Last drill in the old armory; the same day the building was razed to make room for the new facility. Construction would take a little more than three years to complete. Temporary arrangements were made at the Orange Riding and Driving Club, on Halstead Street in East Orange. The club’s quarters were much smaller than the armory. Drills were held on Wednesday and Fridays nights, with the First and Second Platoons drilling respectfully.

(My father was in the Essex Troop, formally known as the 102nd Cavalry, in the late 1930's and was in it when the troop was activated in late 1940 to train for what became WW2.)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


In 1893 the Crocker-Wheeler Electric Company Works was built at the intersection of Springdale Avenue and the Montclair branch of the Lackawanna Railroad in what would soon be called Ampere. A train station had been built there in 1890 anticipating the influx of workers and residents. There were few businesses or houses in the area in 1895 (4th Avenue didn't even exist yet) but development was rapid between 1895 and 1905.

The factory in the 1897 photo below was built after the original factory was destroyed by fire in 1895.

                     Above (X2055) and below (X2034) in 1921 just before elevation of the RR

Crocker-Wheeler was an innovator in employing the blind to work in its factory as can be seen in this other post about the Double-Duty Finger Guild.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Palmer House

The intersection at Main Street and Maple Avenue in East Orange was one of the highest elevations between downtown Newark and the foot of "The Mountain" and had been the site of some of the earliest dwellings in the area since the area had been settled by Europeans in the late 17th century. 

The Palmer House, a boarding hotel, was built in the late 1880's at the NW corner of the intersection replacing another large house (it's possible the earlier house may have also been The Palmer House in an earlier version). 

Above: postcard photo with a 1908 postmark

Below: a postcard postmarked 1929 showing the Palmer House as the Hotel Palmer with the front porch enclosed in brick, and the building's central tower shortened

The photo below was taken in 1964 by Dr. Sam Berg as he documented the area shortly before it was bulldozed to make way for I-280. (photo courtesy of the Newark Public Library)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Panzer College

In 1917 the Newark Normal School of Physical Education and Hygiene was founded by Matthias Machery and Randall D. Warden, Directors of Physical Education for the city of Newark. At the close of the school year in 1920, the founders relinquished their interest in the school in favor of Henry Panzer, the Director of the Normal School at that time. The School moved to East Orange in 1925 where the program changed from being a two year course to a three year course. In 1928, a four year course of study leading to the degree of Bachelor of Physical Education was offered. At this time the name of the institution changed to Panzer College of Physical Education and Hygiene. Following Mr. Panzer's sudden death in 1932, Margaret C. Brown, who had served as teacher, registrar and dean of the College since 1921, was elected by the College Board of Trustees as President and Treasurer. Under her leadership the College made great professional advancements, and its reputation for excellence became nationally and internationally known. Through her efforts, the State authorized the granting of the degree of Bachelor of Science in Education in 1939 and the Bachelor of Physical Education degree was abandoned. 

Below: ad from the 1923 East Orange High yearbook; before Panzer College moved to this location in 1925, the property had been the Le Master Institute

Below: from 1942 Panzer College Olympia yearbook
In fiction, the protagonist of Philip Roth's Pulitzer Prize winning novel American Pastoral, Seymour "Swede" Levov, and his wife, Dawn Levov, are graduates of Upsala. The charactor Levov was inspired by the real person "Swede" Masin who attended Panzer College in East Orange.

 Panzer College of Physical Education and Hygiene merged with Montclair State College in 1958. After the merger, the Archdiocese of Newark bought the Panzer buildings and opened the all-girl East Orange Catholic High School in September, 1958.