George Hanemann Building, 395 Main St – Metuchen, New Jersey

Isaac Kremer/ August 8, 2022/ / 0 comments

George Hanemann built a bakery to the west in 1915 by designs from Alexander Merchant.[1] .

Nathan Robins

The 1876 Everts & Stewart Map shows this land with identification as “Est. N.R.” This was designation as estate of Nathan Robins who died in. Captain Nathan Robins (1782-1858) was forebear of the family. His son, also by the name of Nathan Robins (1811-1875) died on July 13, 1875. That explains why the 1876 identifies this area as his estate.

This postcard dated 1905 shows Main Street with trolley tracks down the middle and after curbs had been put in around 1903.[2] Courtesy John Brinckmann.

George Hanemann

A two-story building was designed by Alexander Merchant, architect. Charles Tansing was contractor and did plumbing and heating. The building was to house a one-story bake house for George Hanemann. Kieser, Huest and Leisen did mason work for the building. Total cost was estimated at $3,464.[3]

Article around time of construction in February 19, 1915.[4]

The 1915 Census of New Jersey shows Pierson, his wife, and daughter living there the same year in 1915

The 1915 New Jersey Census showed Truman T. Pierson living along with his wife Edna and daughter Muriel on Main Street again. This time the location was the new building at 397 Main Street.

When Hanemann’s daughter contracted infantile paralysis in 1916, the bakery was closed and thoroughly cleaned and kept closed until health authorities determined “that the danger of the disease is past.”[5]

The Hanemann bakery and lunch room was closed “owning to the failing health of Mrs. Hanemann.”[6] Philippina, George’s wife, died on November 17, 1931. The funeral was held at the family residence at 37 South Main Street.[7]

Around the same time plaster fell from the ceiling upstairs injuring the tenant. Charles Koenig, the tenant, asked George Hanneman for $15,000 to cover injuries that he suffered when plaster fell while he was asleep in bed, January 7, 1933.[8]

Several years later the property at 395 Main Street was sold at a Sheriff’s Sale on January 27, 1936 for $13,903. Hanemann himself died on December 30, 1949 at the age of 75 at the house of his daughter who lived at 23 Myrtle Avenue.

Hanemann residence, 37 South Main Street.

Metuchen Model Bakery

Advertisement from August 1934.[9]

Ideal Bakery at 395 Main Street was in need of an “Experienced Salesman” in September 1935.[10] A chattel sale occurred at 395 Main Street in June 1935 to sell all the goods and chattels in the store.[11] Formerly of 395 Main Street moved to 418 Main Street and opened August 18, under the same management.[12] After the bakery moved out revival meetings were held in the vacant store in September 1935. Charles and Bella Seale, missionaries from China spoke and charged for attendees to hear their message.[13]

A tax appeal was filed in 1936, lowing the assessment of the land from $1,125 to $1,000 and the building from $5,700 to $4,800.[14] Later in 1936 the Mortgage Management Corporation offered the entire second floor “will remodel into offices for suitable tenants.” At the time the 2nd floor had seven rooms and a bath.[15]

By 1937 the building at 395 Main St was “completely dredecorated” though still vacant and looking for tenants for the store and apartment.[16] An advertisement for “Store – Apartment – Bake Shop” directed people to the Mortgage Management Corp. for people interested in the building.[17] Later that year in 1937 an application for a plenary distribution license was made by Benjamin Gordon of Newark.[18] When opposition to transfer of a retail license was brought up, a petition with 200 signatures was presented the council.[19]

Mortgage Management Corporation

Having difficulty finding tenants to fill the space at 395 Main Street, the Mortgage Management Corporation announced the opening of their office at 395 Main Street in March 1938.[20] By August 1938 they were offering the Store – Apartment, Bake Shop – Garage for forced sale.[21]

In May 1939 article described a one-family house building with an exterior of shingles and a slate roof facing Highland Ave on a lot 70 feet by 120 feet deep. The house was designed by Charles J. Hoffman and the general contractor was John Schwalje of Metuchen. Another “Georgian style dwelling” was being built at the corner of Higland Ave and Huxley road by the Edward W. Hicks estate. Plans for these and a total of 60 large lots were available from Richard McCabe in the Mortgage Management Corporation’s Metuchen office at 395 Main Street.[22]

House at corner of Highland and Huxley, built, ca. 1939.

Another house the Mortgage Management Corp. had built was at 3 Beverely Court. This was described as a “Completely Modern House” in a “Desirable location.”[23]

Middlesex Hardware

Property that Middlesex Hardware was located on was transferred June 15, 1961 from Alberta Crowell, widow of Ralph Crowell, to Edward E. Drake and Mamie E. Drake, his wife. Three tracts were transferred included 395 Main Street (63 feet south of south line of Robins Hall). Conveyed by Borough of Metuchen to Alberta Crowell by deed on December 22, 1942, Book 1231, Page 288.

A certification of Middlesex Hardware was filed by Edward J. Drake of Fords where he was proprietor of one other hardware store.[24]

They operated at the location for many years. In 1958 a suit for $250,000 was brought against the Middlesex Hardware Company by James Yannetta of Bridgewater. He claims the owner Edward J. Drake invited him to look at some materials in the basement. While descending the stairs he struck his head and face against a beam or obstruction which crossed the stairway. Yannetta charged the defendant with negligence and states he was permanently injured. He sought $250,000 for hospital and medical expenses and loss of income.[25]

An attempted breaking and entering occurred at Drake’s Hardware Store during a 10-minute period between 10:20pm and 10:30pm. A rear door had been opened and the hinges unscrewed from another door.[26]

Death of partner appeared to be a precipitating factor in the closure of the business.[27] Middlesex Hardware stopped operating around 1981. After that co-proprietor Robert Drake became a salesman for E&B Mill Supply Co. Drake died October 26, 1984.[28]

Quality Care

Apartments upstairs gave way to offices. An advertisement offered a “350 sq. ft. upstairs modern office date.”[29] Advertisement for Quality Care appeared in March 1975. The business sought RN’s-LPN’s, Nurses Aides, and Home Health Aides to work in hospitals, nursing homes, and private homes.[30] They occupied one of the upper floor offices, for references cans till be found for Drake’s Middlesex Hardware on the ground floor.[31]

Metuchen Dance Center

Rehearsal space at 54 Martin in Metuchen and frequently did shows at Forum Theater.[32] By the 2010s they had taken on the space at 395 Main Street.

1876 Everts & Stewart Map showing former Railroad Depot (from ca. 1850) on railroad right of way and north of that “Est. N.R.” for estate of Nathan Robins.

  1. 501, RR depot – former
  2. 502, Vacant lot, Estate N.R.
  3. Meat Shop
  4. Post Office
  5. 507, Barber Shop
  6. 508, Harness Shop
  7. 510, Residence
  8. 511, Hotel
  9. 512, Harness Shop

Chain of Title for 395 Main St, Metuchen

Block 116, Lot 29

YearActivitySource
 Metuchen Dance Academy openMDA
   
   
2017 Feb 2Deed from Staley E. Lease and Richard F. Plechner, trading as P&L Investment Company to P&L Investors LLC for $1.Book 6963, Page 832
1986 Jan 24Mortgage from P&L Investment Company and the lender Edmae Realty Corp.Book 3157, Page 767
1985 Jun 17Deed from Edmae Realty Crop to Stanley E. Lease and Richard F. Plechner, trading as P&L Investment Company for $350,000.Book 3440, Page 790
1985 Jun 17Mortgage from Richard F. Plechner and Stanley E. Lease, trading as P&L Investment Company and the lender Edmae Realty Corp. for $261,200 at 10.5% interest. 
   
1936 Jan 27Sale of mortgaged premises on January 27, 1936. Edward W. Hicks, Albert S. Johnson and H. Richard Segoine, surviving trustees, and defendants George Hanemann, Edmund Hersh trading as L.F. Hersh & Bros. Sale of mortgaged premises for $13,903. 
1919 Apr 2Deed from George and Philippina Hanemann to Abram MillerBook 645, Page 426
1910Lunch & cigarsSanborn
1903Lunch & cigarsSanborn
1876 Everts & Stewart Map
1868 Beers, Ellis, and Soule atlas of Middlesex County
1861F. MerrittMap
1850R.R. DepotMap

Covenants and agreements

1919 Apr 2Deed from George Hanemann and Phillippina to Abram MillerBook 645, Page 426
1918 Dec 2Deed from Nathan Robins to William A. CrowellBook 645, Page 426
1918 Dec 2Mortgage from George Hanneman to Manning Freeman and Son, Inc.Book 573 of Mortgages, Page 323

[1] Building in Metuchen, Perth Amboy Evening News, February 19, 1915, p. 5.

[2] Metuchen, The Central New Jersey Home News, July 17, 1903, p. 3.

[3] Building Agreements Placed on File, The Daily Home News, November 19, 1914, p. 2.

[4] Building in Metuchen, Perth Amboy Evening News, February 19, 1915, p. 5.

[5] First Case in Metuchen, Perth Amboy Evening News, July 15, 1916, p. 1.

[6] Obituary Mrs. George Hanemann, The Daily Home News, November 18, 1931, p. 2.

[7] Died, The Daily Home News, November 18, 1931, p. 2.

[8] Non-Suit Verdict, The Courier-News, November 10, 1933, p. 13.

[9] Metuchen Model Bakery ad, The Daily Home News, August 18, 1934, p. 2.

[10] Ideal Bakery ad, The Central New Jersey Home News, September 11, 1935, p. 16.

[11] Chattel Mortgage Sale, The Daily Home News, June 4, 1935, p. 15.

[12] Metuchen Model Bakery ad, The Daily Home News, August 18, 1934, p. 2.

[13] Evangelists Conduct Services at Metuchen, The Daily Home News, September 8, 1935, p. 20.

[14] Metuchen Appels, The Daily Home News, October 1, 1936, p. 23.

[15] Advertisement for Mortgage Management Corporation, The Daily Home News, October 2, 1936, p. 23.

[16] Advertisement for the Mortgage Management Corporation, The Daily Home News, April 10, 1937, p. 15.

[17] Real Estate, The Daily Home News, April 10, 1937, p. 15.

[18] Metuchen Body His Short Meeting, The Courier-News, November 2, 1937, p. 13.

[19] Granting New License to Be Heard Monday, The Daily Home News, November 21, 1937, p. 10.

[20] Advertisement for Mortgage Management Corporation, The Daily Home News, March 20, 1938, p. 28.

[21] Advertisement for Mortgage Management Corporation, The Daily Home News, August 9, 1938, p. 12.

[22] New Metuchen Residence Now Being Erected, The Daily Home News, May 14, 1939, p. 23.

[23] Advertisement for Mortgage Management Corporation, The Daily Home News, September 30, 1939, p. 11.

[24] Trade Names Filed, The Daily Home News, March 9, 1945, p. 11.

[25] Hardware Buyer Sues for $250,000, The Daily Home News, October 21, 1958, p. 9.

[26]

[27] Notice, Home News, September 16, 1980, p. 23.

[28] Robert Drake of Metuchen, 58, once YMCA official, store owner, The Home News, October 27, 1984, p. 13.

[29] Advertisement, The Daily Home News, April 4, 1970, p. 20.

[30] Advertisement for Quality Care, The Daily Home News, March 23, 1975, p. 72.

[31] Advertisement for Drake’s Middlesex Hardware, The Daily Home News, September 25, 1975, p. 13.

[32] Advertisement for Summer Dance & Theater, Home News Tribune, Aprily 7, 2004, p. 7.

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About Isaac Kremer

Isaac D. Kremer, MSARP, is a nationally recognized expert in the revitalization of commercial districts. Professionally he is the Executive Director of Experience Princeton, a business improvement district in Princeton, New Jersey. Kremer is a sought after speaker having been invited to speak at over 30 conferences. The prior two downtowns he managed were named Great American Main Street Award (GAMSA) Semifinalists, and Metuchen, New Jersey where he and his family live was named a GAMSA winner in 2023 by Main Street America.

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