Cranford History

In Our Own Words – Oral Histories

The Cranford Historical Society has captured many oral histories and a selection of them are available at the Cranford Public Library in the Reference Collection.

CranfordHistory.org has made one Oral History available online, Mary Ludeking’s interview, with the hopes of moving additional files to a digital format in the future.

Year Who

1974

 Mrs. Mary Ludeking……Mrs. Mary Ludeking discusses life in Cranford from the turn of the century to the early 1970s. She recounts memories of her childhood and adult family life, and she comments on the many changes she witnessed over the years. She was interviewed by Messrs. Dorian, MacKay, Burditt and Durand.

1983

 Charles Dooley…..Mr. Dooley recalls his boyhood growing up in Cranford, New Jersey. He discusses his schooling and teachers; jobs he held; the police and fire departments; the doctors and health of the townspeople; racial and ethnic relations within the town; some of the families he knew; and business development within the township, including his family-owned funeral business. Mr. Dooley was interviewed by Messrs. Dorian, Rosencranz and Durand of the Cranford Historical Society. 

 

1982

 Homer Hall…Dr. Hall discusses the history of the “West Fields” of Elizabethtown, including: the origin, history, politics, people, boundaries, etc. of the area. The lecture was originally presented at the old Cranford Community Center; it included a slide show by Stephen Gmelin.

1982

 Harry Page…Mr. Page, a former officer with the Cranford, New Jersey police department, recalls members of the force, residents, and many incidents occuring in the community between 1929 and 1982.

1981

 Richard McFadden…Mr. Richard N. McFadden, longtime resident of Cranford, New Jersey, discusses his family background and reminisces about life in the township from the early 1900s to 1981. He recalls local families; schools and principals; jobs he held as a boy; and local sports, such as playing ice hockey and trapping muskrats on the river. He also discusses the effects the Depression of the 1930s had on Cranford residents. Mr. McFadden mentions how the business district has changed over the years, especially since the inclusion of the new banks and theater. Mr. McFadden was interviewed by Ella Pethick and Messrs. Dorian and Durand of the Cranford Historical Society.

1981

 Henry and Henrietta Dreyer…Mr. and Mrs Henry Dreyer discuss their Germany heritage and recount their experience of coming to Cranford from Secaucus, New Jersey. They recall many aspects of life on their Cranford farm, including: the labor involved and the hiring of outside labor to help other local farmers; taking their produce to market; the types of animals raised and the restrictions placed on farm aniamls, and the transition from farming with horses to the use of tractors. Mr. Dreyer also speculates on the future of farming in New Jersey and recalls his boyhood and church activities. Mr. and Mrs. Dreyer also discuss their sons’ interest in farming and how their military duty affected farm life. Mr. and Mrs. Dreyer were interviewed by Messrs. Dorian, Rosencrantz and Durand of the Cranford Historical Society.

1980

 Philip Power…Mr. Philip Power recounts life in Cranford during the early years of the twentieth century. He recalls the arrival of the automobile, the River Carnival, the fire department, Droescher’s Mill, and the Sperry home. Among other topics, he also discusses the effects of both prohibition and early race relations on the town.

1980

 Philip Welles Hall…Mr. Philip Welles Hall recounts life in Cranford during the early years of the twentieth century.

1979

 Mrs. George H. Jackson…Mrs. George Jackson recalls much of her youth growing up in Cranford during the early 1900s. She discusses her father’s experiences as a local doctor, his patients, house calls, fees, etc. She reminisces about many places and events of the time, including: the River Carnivals, banks, and shopping in Elizabeth and New York City.

1978

 Dr. Fletcher Gilpin…Dr. Fletcher Gilpin recalls his childhood in Cranford, his father who was a well-known physician in town, as well as his own years as a physician and surgeon. He also discusses many advancements he’s witnessed over the years both in town life and in medical science.

1978

 Julius Woerz…Mr. Julius Woerz recounts his family’s arrival in Cranford, as well as his childhood activities. He remembers the family dairy and delicatessen; the public school system; working in the bank, the railroad and on the trolley lines. He also discusses the townspeople’s attitude toward German Americans during the war. Mr. Woerz was interviewed by Messrs. Dorian and Durand, and Mrs. Harold Vogel.

1977

 Victor D. Shaheen…Mr. Victor D. Shaheen discusses his Lebanese family background and culture, and other Lebanese families in Cranford. He recalls many aspects of Cranford Life, including: his schooling, sports, and the boys’ camp, his father’s business, the mill construction, political life, clubs (i.e. Lions and Rotary), the First Aid Squad, and the blood bank.

1977

 Mrs. Amelia Rhodes…Mrs. Amelia Rhodes, a life-long Cranford resident, speaks of town life in the early 1900s. Her father built the family home here, and she recounts many memories of Cranford citizens, businesses, schools, doctors, etc.

1977

 Michael Colaneri..Mr. Michael Colaneri, a life-long Cranford resident, speaks of town life in the early 1900s. He discusses the friendliness of the people and the activities of his youth. He was a semi-pro football player, a boxer, and a general all-around athlete. He recalls his plumbing business and sources of water within the township (especially wells). Mr. Colaneri was interviewed by Ira Dorian, K. C. MacKay, Mrs. Harold Vogel, and Edwin Deraud.

1977

Mrs. Christine Reusch …came to Cranford with her parents in 1911; she was seventeen years old. She recalls many Cranford families, as well as her husband’s family bakery and details of the bakery business. Mrs. Reusch was interviewed by Messrs. Dorian and Durand.

1977

 Mrs. Joseph Plummer… recalls life in Cranford from 1913 through the mid-1970s. She relates her experiences commuting to her teaching job in New York City; her interest in Girl Scouts; the Canoe Club; the high school, trips to Sewaren, New Jersey and the Atlantic shore, and other social events in Cranford. She also discusses the effects of both the influenza epidemic of 1918 and World War I on the town.

1976

 Mrs. James Strong,… along with her daughter, Mrs. August Grube, recall life in Cranford from 1918 through the mid-1970s. Mrs. Strong relates many aspects of town life, including: town schools, parades, churches, and social occasions. She also discusses the effects of the influenza epidemic of 1918 on the town.

1976

 Herbert and Isaac Sperlock …discuss life in Cranford in the early 1900s including the influence of home life, religion and schooling on them. They also recall the old ice house, dance hall, railroad level crossing, scout troop, businesses, and the influenza epidemic of 1918.

1976

 Mrs. Bedford Lydon …discusses early interest and efforts to bring concerts and other cultural events to Cranford. She also discusses the Friends of the College organization and she recalls the many individuals who gave assistance to the programs.

1976

Joseph and Anthony Iaione …recall life in Cranford from the early 1900s to the mid-1970s. Mr. Joseph Iaione arrived in Cranford in 1902. Mr. Anthony Iaione, Joseph’s nephew, arrived in 1922. They both recall early life in their native Italy, as well as life after their arrival in Cranford. They were interviewed by Messrs. Dorian, Bartlett and Derand, and Mrs. Harold Vogel, Jr.

1975

 Miss Della Van Sickle …recalls her early days as a schoolteacher in surrounding towns; her knowledge of Cranford prior to World War I; her kinship to Captain David Lyons of Revolutionary times; and her family connection to Droescher’s Mill. She was interviewed at her home which was located at 107 Cranford Avenue. Present during the interview were Messrs. Dorian and Derand, and Dr. Kenneth MacKay.

1975

 Mr. Samuel Smith…, owner and publisher of Freneau Press discusses his research on Revolutionary battles, especially those of New Jersey. In particular, he speaks of some forty letters written to General Washington between January and March 1780 from “Crane’s Mills.” On side B, is a taping of a radio broadcast of station WJBM 1530 regarding Cranford Heritage Corridor. Present during the taping were Robert Brooks and Homer Hall.
Walter Meth…http://access.cjh.org/home.php?type=extid&term=302039#1
Kurt Steiner…http://access.cjh.org/home.php?type=extid&term=529088#1


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