So who was where in Hopewell, when, and doing what? We have some annotated maps that help with this (see previous post), and some business directories. And now, as a result of the Lindbergh case (see companion post on our fascination with Lindbergh), we have a 1932 phone directory for Hopewell and the surrounding area – complete with business names and street addresses.
The original list for this 1932 Hopewell Phone Directory was compiled by the New Jersey State Police, who tracked toll calls made from the Hopewell area from January into March 1932 (i.e., leading up to the date of the kidnapping). In 2012, Mark Falzini, Archivist of the NJSP Museum, compiled this work into a report, which he augmented by cross-referencing with the 1930 Federal Census and advertisements in the Hopewell Herald.
The report contains has almost 530 entries, in three tables, grouped alphabetically by name, address, and by telephone number. It also lists public phones and payphone, and, as a bonus, is illustrated with contemporary advertisements from the Herald. The list also has been expanded in a spreadsheet to break out more address fields, and sorted by town, street and house number.
As a bonus, we also have the Hopewell section of a 1910 Bell Telephone Directory to compare back to, that has some of the same numbers, plus other numbers with different formats.
The result provides an interesting profile of the Hopewell area at the time, and a fascinating comparison to today.
Fun With Numbers
A few of the listed numbers still survive to today, albeit changed from, for example, “Hopewell 24” to our “466-0024” – where the “466” came from “HO-6”.
The Hopewell Elementary School was built in 1926 at its current location (Princeton Ave.), and still uses 466-0272.
The Hopewell Fire Department still uses -0060, which was originally the number for Hopewell Borough when it was in the Columbia Hall firehouse in both 1910 and 1932 (now the Theater on South Greenwood), and then apparently moved with the Borough around 1940 to the current firehouse at Greenwood and Columbia.
The only business still recently in operation is Van Doren’s Lumber (Model Ave.), which still used -0032 (which goes back to when it was A. S. Golden’s Lumber in the 1910 Directory). And J.B. Hill & Sons lumber / hardware (Railroad Place), which closed in 2005, also retained its original -0005 (which it had back to the 1910 Directory).
None of the other major businesses – drug store, hotels / restaurants, banks – appear to have retained the 1932 numbers.
Looking back two months later on the “hysteria that struck this borough with whirlwind force,” the Hopewell Herald reported on “the army of news writers, photographers, radio and sound film men which numbered probably 250.”
Gebhart’s Restaurant & Hotel (15 East Broad at Seminary, now the Hopewell Inn and Bistro) became the first press headquarters with the installation of dozens of telephone wires and a branch telegraph station. The railroad station also had one waiting room turned into a newspaper “city room,” and had 18 extra telegraph lines installed.
The 1932 Phone Directory also shows that ten out-of-town newspapers had dedicated phone numbers installed in homes and businesses where they had taken up residence along Broad Street.
Three papers, including the New York American and the Daily News, were based at Gebhart’s, and others were down East Broad at #21 (the other corner at Seminary), at #32 (next to the Museum), and at #53 (now Sourland Cycles). Additional papers were based along West Broad at #22 (near the Old School Baptist Cemetery), and The New York Times was based at #48, H. Mount Williamson’s Hotel (now the Hopewell House).
The State Police also had seven dedicated lines at the Lindbergh Residence.
By The Numbers
The Numbers – The phone numbers start with Hopewell 1 to 99, and then range into the 200s and 300s. There did not seem to be any strong priority or organization to assigning numbers: Hopewell #1 was E.R. Whitehead Real Estate (on Blackwell), Western Union was #2 (at the train station), J.B. Hill & Son Lumber was #5, and the rest of the early numbers were private homes. Bell Telephone itself was #140.
Where – The list has 528 phone numbers, some 314 in Hopewell Borough, and 214 in the surrounding area. Much like the current 466 Hopewell exchange in the 609 area code includes areas in Hopewell, Blawenburg, Skillman, Mount Rose, and Ringoes, among others, the 1932 Hopewell exchange extended in all directions, including Blawenburg, Glen Moore, Linvale, Marshall’s Corner, Mt. Rose, Rocktown, Skillman, Stoutsburg, Wertsville, and Woodsville.
Who – The list includes 69 local businesses and independents and 23 farmers (mostly outside Hopewell). There also are four doctors and three reverends, but no explicit listings for churches.
Addresses – The list also provides and impressive 245 house numbers on streets in Hopewell. For comparison, the 1910 census identified 295 heads of households, and the 1920 census listed 376.
This business and address information is particularly useful for us because the census reports count only the resident people, but not businesses. In addition, the 1910 Hopewell census was the first to list streets at all, and 1920 was the first to list house numbers.
Thanks to Mark Falzini for kindly sharing these materials.
More on Hopewell Phone Directories
Phone service in Hopewell started in 1899 with the Hopewell Telephone and Construction Company, which was acquired in 1904 by the Delaware and Atlantic Telephone Co., part of the Bell System. We have early phone directories from c1910. We also have the 1932 (Lindbergh) Hopewell Phone Directory that was compiled by the New Jersey State Police, who tracked toll calls made from the Hopewell area around the date of the kidnapping.
c1910 Phone Directories
- Early Telephone Service – 1908 Phone Book – Phones come to the Hopewell Valley
- PDF – 1908 Hopewell Area Bell Telephone Directory – Extract of Hopewell Valley & area listings
- PDF – 1910 Hopewell Bell Telephone Directory – Extract of Hopewell listings
- PDF – c1910 Annotated Hopewell Phone Directory (1908-1910) – Merged and annotated listings, 1908-1910
1932 (Lindbergh) Phone Directory