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History of Millburn Township
Photo Post Card: Main Street, Millburn, N.J.

Suburban Essex County Real Estate Ads – great schools, wonderful atmosphere and only 37 minutes by train to NYC!

By Oliver Chamberlain

Photo circa 1900: Main Street, Millburn, NJ.
Photo features an electric trolley, center; horse-drawn delivery, right, and carriage, under bridge; sign advertising Wine & Liquor, right; store on left advertising Chew (Keystone?) Tobacco, a Bell Telephone sign, indicating a public phone, and a sign in front for a leading regional newspaper, the Newark Daily Advertiser.

The trolley appears to be electric and tracks can be seen in the street. The electric wire for the trolley seems to appear diagonally in the upper foreground, but no structure to carry the wire can be seen. The seven cross-members on the poles would seem to carry many wires, but they cannot be seen. Seven wires, a group of three and a group of four, seem to be crossing the street right to left in the upper middle foreground.

There is a horse-drawn delivery cart with a barrel on the open back opposite the trolley to the right. Just beyond that is a sign advertising Wine & Liquor, presumably for a store selling Spirits.

In the background, under the bridge crossing Main Street, is a one-horse, two person open carriage. Can anyone identify the bridge - is it a street or railroad tracks? That would give a closer idea of exactly where this portion of Main Street is located.

On the left at the structure in the foreground is a keystone-shaped sign on the building with "chew...tobacco." I assume it might be Chew Keystone Tobacco, since there was such a company. Higher on the front of the building is a Bell Telephone sign, indicating that there is a public telephone in the building. In front, perhaps on a tree, is a sign showing "Newark..ily....tiser." I take this to be for the Newark Daily Advertiser (founded March 1, 1832) The Newark Public Library and the N.J. State Archives have runs of microfilm of this paper through 1907. That would indicate that this regional paper was published for 75 years through most of the nineteenth century and offered for sale at this shop.

The above can be seen on the face of the card. The reverse has nothing other than "Post Card" and "Place Stamp Here." There is no publisher given and no writing, it was not mailed, so no postmark date.

If it can be assumed that such photo post cards were not published newly each year, but were offered at Notions and Dry Goods shops like the one in the left foreground, and sat on racks for several years, then I would propose a date for this photo circa 1900, based on the sign offering the Newark Daily Advertiser, and the date 1907 that seems to be the last date of publication.

If someone can date the photo more precisely from other photos or documents, I would be happy to know that. Also, if someone can give more detail of the section of street and what shops or homes were located there, it would add greatly to the understanding of what this section of Main Street, Millburn, was like.

If someone can identify the bridge, perhaps the section of Main Street can more closely be located.

Millburn – Short Hills

08/18/2012 11:10 PM
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