Strathmore marks 30 years

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					                                                                                                                                                      THE INDEPENDENT, APRIL 21, 1993 3

 Strathmore marks 30 years                                                                                                                            way since her. family moved here.
 Many residents                                                                                                                                           "I remember the Board of Education
                                                                                                                                                      building was over a stationery shop on
 sending last                                                                                                                                         Main Street, and the superintendent of
                                                                                                                                                      schools was a former township judge. I
 mortgage check                                                                                                                                       can just picture him now, leaning back in
                                                                                                                                                      his chair, wearing suspenders," she re-
 By Lauren Jaeger                                                                                                                                     called.                                ..'.;.
    Staff writer                                                                                                                                          She feels that the trees were among the
                                                                                                                                                      development's greatest assets.
       A little more than 30 years ago, about                                                                                                             "There was a great number of shrubs
  2,300 prefabricated Colonial-style homes                                                                                                            and bushes," the resident said. "Levitt put
  sprung up on farmland in Aberdeen, ful-                                                                                                             in apple, peach and pine trees. I remember
  filling the dreams of parents who previ-                                                                                                            my daughter would sell the peaches from
  ously watched their children play on cast-                                                                                                          the trees for 25 cents each."
  iron fire escapes above busy city streets.
                                                                                                                                                          In addition, when the land upon
       The new residents — who came at a
                                                                                                                                                      which the houses stood was still vast
 time when the now congested Lloyd Road
                                                                                                                                                      plains of mud, the Levitt corporation put
  still had not yet received blacktop or traf-
                                                                                                                                                      out all of the grass seed. When two rain-
  fic lights —changed forever the quiet
                                                                                                                                                      storms followed and swept away all the
 place then known as Matawan Township.
                                                                                                                                                      seeds, the workers reseeded all of their
      Today, many of those "newcomers"                                                                                                               lawns.
 are still around, and have recently passed
 a milestone — they sent off their last                                                                                                                  "That was unusual, even for back
 mortgage installment check.                                                                                                         Rich Schultz    then," she said. "We also got all our appli-
                                                  BLISS IN THE 'BURBS — Paul and Prudence Marino, original residents of the                          ances, such as the washing machine,
      The Strathmore development, de-
                                                  Strathmore Development in Aberdeen, celebrate the last payment of their 30-                        dryer, dishwasher, stove and refrigerator."
 signed and built by the William Levitt
 Corp., which developed the concept of            year mortgage.                                                                                         One drawback, however, was when the
 prefabricated communities, had more than                                                                                                            home was being built, and Gruft detested
                                                  safe here now," she said. "I reaped the          struction when she moved in toward the            the standardized, gray asbestos tiles that
 just back yards and gardens. Complete            benefits of living here."                        end of 1962; and when it was finally com-
 with a pool club, parks, churches, syna-                                                                                                            the workers were putting on the floors.
                                                     Prudence Marino remembers breaking            pleted in February 1963, the mothers re-          She offered to pay for her own tiles and
 gogues and schools, each section of the          the happy news in 1962 to her envious            ceived a personal tour from Roger Tucillo,
 project even had streets with names that                                                                                                            have them put in instead, but the workers
                                                  Bronx coffee klatch that she and her hus-        a fresh-out-of college teacher. Today, Tu-        said that was against the rules. After the
 all began with a certain letter.                 band, Paul, along with their two kids,           cillo is the high school's principal.
      Sometimes, it seems that the develop-                                                                                                          tiles were set, she replaced them with ones
                                                  were planning to move to the country.                 "Everything was brand-new, and the           to her liking.
 ers used all their linguistic resources in          "I was really looking forward to mov-         new library did not have even one book in
 trying to come up with exciting names.                                                                                                                  Payments for the home came to $161
                                                  ing out of that tenement," said Marino,          it," Marino laughed, recalling the empty          a month. The family paid $600 a year in
 Take the "I" section, for instance. There's     who knew that Strathmore, was where the           but shiny shelves.
 Idaho, Icemeadow, Idlebrook, Idlewild,                                                                                                              taxes back then, she recalled. Today,
                                                 family belonged after reading a newspaper              But some drawbacks were in store for         someone looking for a home in
 Idolstone, Imbrook and Indigo Lanes, as         advertisement — even if there were some           the new and optimistic residents.
 well as an Idol and an Incline Place. The                                                                                                           Strathmore could expect to spend
                                                 doubts as to whether they could afford it.             Although they were living out their
 "A" section has names like Andover,
Ardmore, Asbury, Ambler, and Ayrmont.
                                                     Marino quickly sent in a $100 check to       dreams, this new influx of city folk was a          £ee related story. Page 10
                                                 reserve a house in the family's name.             little startling at first to longtime residents
      One resident has a theory as to why the        "I signed the check," she laughed.           of the township.
streets are named the way they are.                                                                                                                  $150,000 or more. In the 1960s, Gruft
                                                 "Just to show you how times have                       On the third day of her new life in Ab-      recalled, families needed an income of at
      "Levitt had a method to his mad-           changed, they returned the check and             erdeen, a neighbor with a car offered to
ness," said Anne Barker, who moved to                                                                                                                least $9,000 a year to buy a home.
                                                 asked for a man's signature."                    take Marino and the other mothers out to               Gerald Holland moved to Idlewild
Intone Lane with her family from New                 After much deliberation as to which of       "the town," which was Main Street in
York in August, 1963. "People who didn't                                                                                                             Court in 1962 with his wife and four chil-
                                                 the five model homes they wanted — Mr.           Matawan. However, while looking in the             dren. The whole family was living in city
know where they were going cut down on           Marino liked one model, she liked another        five-and-dime store for curtain rods, one
speeding. Many of the streets wind                                                                                                                   quarters with his in-laws, he recalled.
                                                 — the Marinos chose the ranch. Total             salesperson gave the unfamiliar faces the              "We were one of the first to move
around."                                         cost: $16,990.                                   cold shoulder.
      Barker found the social aspect "unbe-                                                                                                          here," he said. "We picked the largest
                                                     Then the Marinos had to decide which               "I could understand that they didn't         home, called the 'Country Club' with four
lievable" when she moved out to                  plot of land they wanted their home to be        want city folk living here. But the city folk
Strathmore, she said.                                                                                                                                bedrooms." The cost was $25,000.
                                                 built on. Pondering a large, sectioned map       wanted to come to the 'country, so every-              And yes, things have changed dramati-
     "We raised five children here, and ev-      in the developer's salesroom, there was          one came bustling in," said Marino.
eryone had children. During the summer,                                                                                                              cally in Aberdeen Township, he said.
                                                 the answer — the picturesque-sounding                 "I heard that they called us the Strath-          "The taxes. Have you ever heard of
they'd go to the Strathmore Pool and Ten-        Autumn Lane, which made the young                morons," said Janet Gruft, who had been
nis Club, which was very well-organized,                                                                                                             taxes going down? They've gone up, and
                                                 mother think of the song, "Autumn                living in an apartment house in Elizabeth          they'll continue to go up," he said.
and the kids learned how to swim there.          Leaves."                                         with her husband and 5-year-old before
     "It's a lot more crowded now, but I felt                                                                                                            However, Holland's overall sentiments
                                                    Marino also remembers that the                the big move to Avondale Lane 30 years             echo those of his neighbors: "We have no
safe living here back then, and I still feel     Strathmore School was still under con-           ago. Gruft has seen the town come a long           plans to move."

Not everyone was happy when development came to town
    ABERDEEN — It started off as a ru-           it, and he did a hell of a good job," re-            "I was proud to see it built," he added.           Former Aberdeen Police Chief and
mor. People whispered that somebody was          called Waters, who now lives in Lake-               George Hausmann, a resident of Ab-              lifetime resident John McGinty also re-
buying up several acres in the township          wood. "Thirty years later, it's still a very     erdeen since 1948 and a current council-           members the township changing from ru-
and wanted to build hundreds of homes.           nice section.                                    man, was not as happy to welcome                   ral woodland, farms and swamps, with a
    "I heard it and said, 'That's a lot of           "I said, 'I'm all for it, and I will be as   Strathmore, however.                               few sections of houses, into a thriving
nonsense,' " said Peter Waters, 79, who          much help as I can be to you, sir' — yes, I         "The taxes went sky high," he said.             suburban community.
served as mayor of the township back in          called him sir — even though a lot of peo-       "When I moved here, my taxes, mortgage                 "We had to increase the Police De-
the 1960s.                                       ple living there back then thought I was         and insurance totaled $50 a month. Today,          partment," he said. "When you get 2,000
    But soon — after being invited to the        going to louse up the whole township,"           my taxes alone are $5,400 a year.                  homes all of a sudden, it's quite a substan-
office of lawyer David Wilentz of Perth          Waters said.                                        "There was only one First Aid build-            tial increase. The only problem was, (we)
Amboy, a representative of the William               "Nothing in Matawan Township was             ing, and it was in Cliffwood on Prospect           couldn't keep pace with the growth. We
Levitt Corp. — Waters found out that yes,        worth talking about back then," Waters           and Amboy avenues," Hausmann added.                had to catch up at a later date. We'd added
the rumors were true. Shortly thereafter,        said. "The Strathmore development put            "They had to serve Strathmore until                one officer a year, sometimes two, and
Levitt and the mayor had a meeting.              Matawan Township on the map. I knew it           Strathmore started its own station around          sometimes three."
    "I wooed Bill Levitt to go through with      was the best thing that could happen.            1969."                                                                      — Lauren Jaeger

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