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Messages - wfreynolds

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Part 2 of the Holman warehouse property

I left off on the second floor of the 435 Main Street warehouse building.  The third, fourth and half of the fifth floor contained storage rooms.  There was about forty or fifty storage lockers per floor.  One of Bob Leafe's demolition photographs shows a steel door with the number 432 stenciled on it.  That was one of many storage locker doors.  The storage lockers were kept very clean.  No dirty or infested storage was accepted.  In all the years I worked there I never saw a mouse or rat in that building.  It was kept meticulously clean.  Storage rooms were swept and sanitized before and after each tenancy.   The fifth floor was only half storage rooms.  The other half contained racks that held bulky upholstered furniture.  The roof was the most fun though.  It provided a great view of the surrounding area including an unobstructed view of the Empire State Building in NYC.  In the 1970's a television antenna was still a requirement for TV reception.  Our antenna was planted on the roof and lined up with the Empire State Building where most or all of the New York TV stations transmitted from.  Boy, what reception!!
 Mr and Mrs Henry Holman had a house at the other end of the property, Maple Ave.  In the 60's it would have been between the furniture store on Main St and Holy Trinity School.  I think the Holman residence was probably built at the same time as the ware house as it was built with hollow tile and stuccoed.  A really pretty house.with a picket fence in front.  Mrs Holman loved that house.  Henry Holman was a well known realtor/appraiser in Bergen County.  He was also an oriental carpet and grandfather clock expert.  A real gentleman who was civic minded and charitable.  I recall that in the summer he would always wear a Panama hat, jauntily tilted to one side.  It really looked good on him!

The Holman's raised two sons in that house, Robert and George B.  Robert was killed in WW2.  The B-17 bomber he was flying in was shot down and the entire crew lost.  George B went on to run the GBH business in the 1960's. 

In the mid 1960's big changes took place at 435 Main St.  An addition was added to the rear of the building.  This addition contained an operations office and scale house, two bay freight dock,  a two bedroom apartment above the office, a 50 ft electronic truck scale and on the north side of 435,  a building containing 201 storage boxes (stacked 3 high).  In addition, a three bay truck maintenance shop/garage was built backed up to Maple Ave (between the Holman residence and the furniture store).

This is probably a good place to leave this post.  Stay tuned for the rest of the story.  Warren
 

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Awhile ago someone asked a question about the Geo. B. Holman & Co. (GBH) fireproof warehouse.  I believe I can answer the query as I lived along with my wife, two young sons and a big German Shepherd dog in the Holman complex.  The question asked was the Holman warehouse originally built as a warehouse or was it something else first.  A good question as many people mistakenly thought the building was a bank. 
The warehouse was the second storage warehouse built by GBH in Bergen County.  The first one was built in Rutherford at 151 Park Ave around 1900's.  This was not a fireproof warehouse but a wood timber frame interior and brick exterior 3 or 4 stories.  The GBH Hackensack warehouse was built in the mid 1920's.  It was poured concrete reinforced with steel rods.  No wood was used in the construction.  The building contractor was Al Hensch of East Rutherford.  Hench was a well regarded contractor and know for strong structures.  They were honest, reliable and did not cut corners.  There are several Hensch built structures still standing in Bergen County today.  The building was typical of many fireproof storage building throughout the country. A larger example still stands a few blocks north of Yankee Stadium on Jerome in the Bronx NY.  This is a much larger structure that the GBH building but looks very similar.  It is the old 7 Santini Bros.  warehouse. 

The GBH Hackensack warehouse was 6 floors including a basement.  The basement contained storage space that originally was used for Packard automobiles and a large 18'inch belt powered "swing arm" saw that was used to make wooden crates.  In later years, the Bergen County Prosecutors office rented that space for evidence storage. 
 The first floor contained loading dock and in the front of the building facing Main St., offices.  The office had a large marble counter that was very imposing and visible from the street.  It was beautiful!.  At the southeast corner of the office was a large walk-in safe.  The door was just like those you would see in a bank in those days.  The vault contained storage foreaverthing from jewelry to oriental  rugs, furs and of course company records.
This vault was very visible from the corner of Main and Anderson hence the building being mistaken for a bank. Mr Henry Holman had his office at the other end of the first floor.  A big desk, grandfather clock.  A typical mid-20th Century executive office that was visible from the street.  It looked like a bankers office.  A mezzanine  floor was just above the offices.  It had an ornate railing and glass panels in the front.  The mezzanine was used primarily for piano storage.  One of Holman's commercial accounts was Steinway Piano.  The grand pianos were disassembled and the pianos were placed on special dollies, keyboard down.  Steinway was a good account and a customer for many years as they liked the quality and level of service GBH provided.
The second floor was open storage and provided space for commercial accounts.  Lipton Tea Product Development, The Irish Trade Board, M & M Mars product development, Marriott Corp., R.H Donnelly, Fairchild Camera, Addressograph- Multigraph, Bendix and others.  You'd be surprised at the number of quality accounts GBH Co served.
That's it for now.  It's lunch time here in Tucson and I need a beer.  I''l  Continue this post later if anyone is interested. 

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