I remember growing up in Newark's Third
Ward on Montgomery Street in the 1920s. The street ran eight blocks,
east to west, from 683 High Street to 101 Belmont Avenue.
At the foot of Montgomery Street, at 683 High Street, was the
original St. Barnabas Hospital, with its main entrance on Montgomery
Street. It was only a block over from the original Beth Israel Hospital
on West Kinney Street.
We lived over a candy store, at No. 29, in a wood frame house
near Quitman Street, a block up from High Street. A lot of the candy
store business came from hospital visitors. I understand that the
people who bought the store paid $300 for it with stock and fixtures.
A block up from Quitman was a branch store of an early grocery
chain, The Eagle, at No. 41 (Eagle Grocery Company). It sold butter
in chunks cut from a wooden tub, and sugar and many other items
in weighted brown bags of one, two or five pounds. It was also a
place where nickel candy bars sold 3 for 10 cents. The manager's
name was Bill Kutcher.
Between Monmouth and the next street up, Somerset Street, was
the neighborhood coal depot and ice dock--The Montgomery Coal Company
at No. 54, run by Max Lomachinsky.
On summer days I would trot over to the ice dock with my home-made
wagon (an orange crate nailed over a piece of 2 X 4 on a skate)
and buy a 10 cent piece of ice for the family ice box. No one had
At the ice dock, after I handed Mr. Lomachinsky my dime, he would
lead me to the insulated ice storage room where he would scratch
across a half-portion strip of a 300-pound block of ice with an
ice pick. He would then use the ice pick to separate my piece of
ice from the strip, and with a pair of tongs lift it, carry it out,
and place it in my wagon.
On the next corner, at 57 Somerset Street, was the Wilderotter
& Sons dry goods establishment, which in later years would move
to Springfield Avenue and then expand into a large appliance chain.
Insofar as I can recall, being well under 10 years of age, Wilderotters
was the only owner of a motor vehicle on Montgomery Street, an open-back
Up another block was Montgomery Street School at No. 90, which
drew children from the neighborhood. In the 1920s, it already had
a substantial black population, white students apparently favoring
Monmouth Street School, less than 2 blocks away and nearly all white.
After Barclay, going up Montgomery was Broome Street with Katz's
kosher butcher shop just in from the corner, at No. 87. The corner
was frequented by varied black women apparently trying to sell their
bodily wares to male passers by.
One more block up at 101/102, was Prince Street, the daily shopping
hub for Newark's large Jewish population (approximately 50,000).
Its wood block paved street, some eight blocks long, was lined on
both curbs with wooden push carts selling everything for the Jewish
home maker at bargain prices. Back of the curbs were stores with
large sidewalk outdoor displays covered over by huge awnings.
Going up Montgomery another block to Charlton Street, on the left-hand
side of the street was Newark's Yiddish theatre, at No. 117, opened
in 1925 by the Elvings, a family of actors from the Yiddish theatre,
It was called Elvings Metropolitan Theatre.
Opposite Elvings theatre at No. 110, was the
Montgomery Public Baths, operated by the City of Newark for neighborhood residents
living in coldwater flats, many with outdoor outhouses. Three cents
bought a piece of soap and a towel.
Montgomery Street ended one more block up at 101 Belmont, a street
of commercial establishments, factories, a large commercial bakery,
and the Krueger brewery.
The business on Belmont facing the end of Montgomery Street was
the Greenberg Sash and Door Supply Company. It had a store front
in front and in the back was a woodworking shop where skilled union
carpenters working off blueprints from building contractors built
window and door frames and other building parts. My dad was one
of those carpenters
Also on Belmont was a movie, The National, near Spruce Street,
where I saw my first movie in 1929. I believe it was Douglas Fairbanks
in The Man in the Iron Mask.
So many happy memories as a kid of seven or eight, growing up
on Montgomery Street in Newark's Third Ward in the 1920s.