Morgan Merchants – The Morgan Lumber Company
So I was minding my own business a scant few years ago while cruising Facebook when I found the “I was and always will be a MORGANITE” group. While perusing though the list of offenders, I encountered someone with a name that I remembered from my days in Morgan and my less than stellar times as a player on the Morgan Panthers Pop Warner Football Team. Shortly after I sent the message, I received a series of fantastic correspondences and photographs from Christina DiPoalo Olender. I very much remember Christina’s father, John DiPoalo, and his brother Danny DiPoalo for a number of reasons. My father was actively involved in the Morgan Panthers, in the capacity as President at times, and worked closely with Mr. & Mr. DiPoalo. All three were fantastic community minded people that made places like Morgan a wonderful place to grow up. Mr. & Mr. DiPoalo were also significant contributors in other ways to the Morgan community. Like the apple and the tree, Christina is also very community minded and is an absolute pleasure to correspond with.
The following is what Christina provided to us about the history of The Morgan Lumber Company. You will soon see why Christina is uniquely situated to write about it. She also provided us with additional information for other topics which have been and others which will be used in other postings. I’m very appreciative of Christina’s enthusiasm and her willingness to contribute to this web site. When I started this web site, I had hoped that many other people would eventually contribute postings to it. Christina has been fabulous!
While working at the Morgan based McCarthy Lumberyard in the mid to late 1950’s, John DiPoalo started a side business selling wholesale lumber from his home on Lorraine Avenue. A short while after McCarthy Lumber closed it’s presumably wooden doors, Mr. DiPoalo started the Morgan Lumber Company on an open lot on the south bound side of Route 35 between Lockwood’s Boat Works and Weber’s Garage. John was joined by his brother Danny and for several years Morgan Lumber operated as a retail lumberyard selling lumber, plywood, building supplies and paint. They also sold guns and ammunition. Their main business however was supplying wholesale lumber and building materials to several area home builders, notably Zimmerer in the Holmdel & Colts Neck areas and Joseph Polguy who built homes in the Sayreville area.
In the early 1960’s Morgan Lumber began to supply lumber to Henry Luhrs Sea Skiffs in Morgan. At this time, Mr. Luhrs was producing 1200 boats a year! By the late 1960’s they began to phase out the retail store and concentrate on the wholesale business. Along with providing building materials to the Luhrs Company, Morgan Lumber also manufactured boat shipping cradles that were used by the boat builder during the manufacturing process.
In the 1970’s, the baby boomer housing market began to wane and Morgan Lumber stopped supplying the homebuilders and focused on the boating industry. Along with the Luhrs Company, which had expanded to include the Silverton Marine and Mainship Motor Yachts companies and had moved to Millville, N.J., Morgan Lumber also supplied lumber and cradles to the Viking Yacht Company in New Gretna, N.J.
Although the business changed over the years, one constant was Sylvia Cullum who worked in the office for many years in the capacity of Secretary and Bookkeeper. Sylvia and her husband Bob became long time friends of the DiPoalo family.
Many will remember the large stack of boat cradles that lined the property but those living in the area during the 1960’s may also remember the unusual rocket that was perched up on poles alongside the building. John, a decorated WW II and D-Day invasion veteran, was no stranger to the German V-1 “Buzz Bomb” (see the page about the V-1).
Anyone who grew up in Morgan during the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s will also remember that each year there was a Halloween parade where the children with the best costumes would win a prize (usually a shiny silver dollar). It was originally held at JesseSeloverSchool then later moved to the near by Little League field on Woodland Avenue. For all this time it was always on the flat bed of a Morgan Lumber truck where the judges sat to view the children as they paraded by.
Morgan Lumber stayed in business until the late 1990’s when John and Dan decided to close the business and retire. The building remains and the property is now occupied by a number of business including U-Haul, Central Jersey Starter & Alternator, and New Jersey Partyworks which provides amusement equipment ranging from fog and bubble machines to tents, popcorn machines, and inflatable bounce houses.