The Bird Farm from Newark

by Charles McGrath


I always had a love of animals and back in the early 1950's I would go to a bird farm on Englishtown Road in Old Bridge. It was owned an operated by an old German by the name of Jack. He had exotic birds that were trapped live in both Africa and South America. I bought many birds from him and was lucky enough to breed some of them.

This area of Old Bridge was very rural at that time. My father once asked him how did he get started here in that business. He told us during the late 1920's he owned a confectionery store on Court Street in Newark. That was during Prohibition. He said one day a couple of guys came in his store and wanted to use him as a front to buy sugar. He told them he wasn't interested. They told him to think it over and that they would be back the next day. He contacted the authorities but no one wanted to get involved. That night he and his family left for Old Bridge. He went on to say that for several years he lived in seclusion. One day he walked into South Amboy. He almost fell over. He saw liquor stores and taverns. Prohibition was over!

In the early 1960's my family and schooling obligations limited my available time for raising birds. I gave them to the Newark Museum. They put some of them on display in the children's section. It was a glass enclosed woodland scene with a small pond and running water. Jack's live birds found a new home. For many years the children from both the city and suburbs enjoyed this exhibit.

While Jack never returned to the City his birds did.


Email this memory to a friend.
Enter recipient's e-mail: