Newark, My Home Town!


by Greg Reissner

 

Newark, my home town! 
 
Let me start by thanking Jules Spohn for the picture of St. Annís Church. I attended St. Annís from the age of 6 to 13. Along with my brother and sister I made my communion, was confirmed in St. Annís. I was married to Francesca in that church. 
 
As it turned out Francescaís sister married John Geisheimer. Johnís father Gus is a cousin of Glenn Geisheimer.  
 
Back in 1945 living on 12th street between 16th ave. and 18th ave. was a different world. Each morning I would walk down 16th ave. to school at St. Annís. The street would be filled with kids walking to to school. There was a public school on 10th street(I think). The #1 Newark bus was on itís way downtown to Broad and Market street. Brown bagging was the order of the day. Sun, Rain, or shine we would walk to school past the synagogue on 10th street, and Paulís barber shop near 7th street.  
 
16th Ave was filled with people all weekend. On Saturday people would be walking to the synagogue. Sunday people would be walking to St. Annís. A suit and tie was mandatory on The Sabbath. 
 
I lived on 12th street next to Star Beverage soda factory. Star Beverage was a small factory but it gave Hoffman (The Bottle on South Orange Ave) a run for their money. It saddened me greatly to turn on the news one night and see the house I was raised in, in flames. The last time I was to 12th street (About 15 years ago) the street on which I lived my youth was gone. Blocked off on both 16th and 18th ave the houses were all gone. 
 
During the summer West Side park was my second home. The park provided pick up baseball, football, and basket ball. Weekends the base ball leagues would take over the field on 16th ave and 13th street side of the park. When we got tired of playing ball the lake offered hours of fun trying to catch goldfish. Free Concerts and dances were held in the park all summer. The concerts were by the the band that played at Olympic Park. Wish I could remember their name. 
 
When I finished St. Annís I went to Madison junior high and from there to West Side High. Met my wife at West Side. Next year my wife and I will attend our 50 year reunion of West Side. While at West Side I worked part time in Colliers Clothing store on Broad street. I remember riding the 31 South Orange bus downtown. 
 
Wanna know how a nice boy like me got to live in Newark? Even if you donít want to know Iím going to tell you. 
 
Freiderich and Friedericka of Merchingen Baden Germany had a son Louis George back in the late 19th century. Louis saw fit to join his sisters already in Newark early in the 20th century. His sister had married Fred Krueger (No not the movie Freddy Krueger) a relative of the famous Krueger Beer Krueger It seems Fred was also from Merchingen. 
 
Louis George had apprenticed as a black smith while in Germany, and opened his own shop on Hunterdon st and 15th ave. in Newark. My father told me a story about my grandfather taking care of the fire horses from the fire house on Springfield and 16th ave. He would walk the horses up and down Hunterdon street to exercise them so they would not get lazy.

Louis George met Elizabeth and had 12 (That's right 12) kids. My father was one of them. Dad met Mary (Mary lived on High St. near the Court House) and that's how I got here. As an aside Mary's grandfather was from Austria. I met Fran when she lived on Gladstone ave. under the Pabst Blue Ribbon sign on South Orange Ave. We married and moved to my father-in-laws house on Alexander street. Our sons went to Alexander street and were baptized at Sacred Heart Church on South Orange Ave.

Louis and Elizabeth are buried in Fairmount cemetery across the street from Hoffman/Pabst, . I will finish on a sad note. I was driven out of Newark under automatic gun fire. My ancestry is held hostage by the destruction of an Historic City.

 


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