Morgan Memories – Cady’s Before Cady’s and After Niederman’s
It was quite exciting to come across the above Landis & Alsop picture post card showing J. H. Cady’s Restaurant in early 20th Century Morgan. No one I knew had ever seen it. Mr. James H. Cady, as Morgan-NJ.org readers know, would later go on to open Cady’s House of Seafood which later became one of the now long gone iconic Morgan structures, The Robert E. Lee Inn.
This picture post card is exciting in other ways as well which we’ll discuss here. An important point though is trying to determine exactly what year this image likely shows. I haven’t fully pin pointed the year but we can derive a range of years based on the chronology of things we have learned from this web site about other Morgan topics in this area from the early 20th Century.
The lower bound of what year it might be can be derived by a number of these things we know. First, the Jersey Central Traction (JCT) trolley line with a trolley is pictured in the post card indicating the line was actually in operation. We know the line opened in March 1905. Next we see Morgan Station of the New York and Long Branch Railroad as being located on the south bound tracks to the north of what is now Old Spye Road. Morgan Station was moved to this location in 1913 when the railroad bridge over Cheesequake Creek was replaced.
Pictured on this card, between Cady’s and the water is a building which was the Morgan Dancing Pavilion. Based on info from the South Amboy Citizen newspaper from May 23, 1914, the Morgan Dancing Pavilion opened on May 30, 1914.
Next let’s look at the configuration of the building and compare it to the 1919 Sanborn Fire Map made available on-line by the Princeton University Library.
The map shows a smaller building than we see in the picture post card of Cady’s. In fact, the building in the 1919 Sanborn Fire Map looks very much like this image provided by Joyce Elyea from her impressive Morgan and South Amboy area post card collection. Note the horse drawn carriage moving away from the railroad tracks in the direction toward the Old Spye Inn!
We can’t tell from the above post card what the name of the restaurant was but we know that shortly afterward, it would be named Niederman’s based on the following picture post card also from Joyce Elyea’s post card collection.
We see that the road appears to be more than the dirt road shown in the previous picture post card and there is a beautiful classic car in the image. We know from the August 7, 1915 South Amboy Citizen that road was paved by May 1917.
Beginning at the New York & Long Branch Railroad Tracks and extending to the Monmouth County Line at Whale Creek—to be paved with bituminous concrete on the old macadam base.
It appears as if the front of this building is a little wider than the 1919 Sanborn Fire Map and previous picture post card. Both of these observations would imply that this photo was taken after the previous one.
The building on the water between the Morgan Dancing Hall and the road bridge does not show on the 1919 Sanborn Fire Map implying that the image is from a later date. Note that this building possibly eventually became Lockwood’s which offered boat rentals and bait for fishing. An image of Lockwood’s is shown in the Images of America Sayreville book on page 102. The Lockwood family would later open their still thriving Lockwood Boat Works marina in Morgan.
Diane Norek Harrison, author of the “Remembering the Past” columns for the Atom Tabloid & Citizen-Gazette website, indicated that Cady’s Dining Hall, located near Morgan Station, was listed as a 1922 Morgan business. Additionally, the South Amboy Citizen of July 29, 1922 referenced Cady’s Shore Hotel:
Perth Amboy Typographical Union, No. 658 will hold an outing at Morgan on Sunday. A fish dinner will be served at Cady’s Shore Hotel.
Regarding the upper end of the probable time period in this card, we know that the new Cady’s restaurant opened in the new location after that in April of 1926. We know the road across the railroad tracks was permanently closed in July of 1925 when New Jersey State Highway Route 4 (present day north bound lanes of Route 35) was put in place of the Jersey Central Traction right of way. The Jersey Central Traction trolley line stopped running at the end of July in 1923 (we also know).
We can therefore pretty much conclude that this picture post card of J. H. Cady’s Restaurant likely represents some point in time in the time period of 1920 – 1923.
Please also note two other interesting things about this picture post card.
- You can see the Morgan Beach bungalows and businesses in the top right portion of the card next to the road bridge over Cheesequake Creek.
- There is a pier shown at the top left just above the trolley bridge over the railroad tracks. This likely is the pier some people say was called Perrine Dock. Since Hurricane Sandy, there appears to be no remains able to be seen of it.