Skillman General Store and Post Office – c1950

This is the Skillman General Store, with the attached Skillman, N. J. Post Office, around 1950. These wonderful photos are from the collection of Eleanora Kolbert, who grew up in Hopewell on East Prospect Street as part of the extensive McAlinden family, and then moved to Skillman in 1952.

The collection goes back to the early 1900s, including family photos showing still-existing and some now-gone streetscapes along Model Avenue, on East Prospect, and at St. Alphonsus Church.

== View the Kolbert / McAlinden photo album in the Image Gallery ==

Updated 4/6/23 – Harry Kolbert photo is in the “old shack” post office

Skillman General Store and Post Office – 1940s

The first two photos from the 1940s show the Skillman General Store building, and the attached Skillman, N. J. Post Office as part of the rather ramshackle addition on the left. The main building (but not the additions) still stands on Skillman Road near Fairview Road (where it becomes Camp Meeting Avenue).

Skillman General Store and Post Office, 1940s
Skillman Post Office by General Store, 1940s

The store has an impressive amount of display advertising, though you need to zoom in and check both pictures to appreciate them all:

  • “Drink Coca-Cola” sign for James Bros. General Store – between the windows on the second floor
  • Coca-Cola signs – below the display windows and on the porch pillar
  • Salada Tea on the display windows
  • 7up signs – on the base of porch and the left addition
  • “MODEL Smoking Tobacco” signs – in the right display window and on the base of the porch
  • Phillies (cigars) oval logo to the left of the front door
  • Canada Dry sign – under the windows on the right addition
  • Canada Dry Spur soda sign – on the right addition (Canada Dry crest with two projections and crown above)
  • Esso gas pump – to the right of the building

“New” Skillman Post Office – c1951

The first photo below, dated 1951, shows the Skillman postmaster, Harry Kolbert, working in what the family called the “old shack” post office attached to the General Store, a rather small and cramped space also remembered for its rather tilted floor.

The second photo shows the window of the “new” Skillman N. J. Post Office, added around that time as a separate building on the same property as the General Store. The Post Office window decorated for Christmas.

Harry Kolbert, postmaster, in Skillman Post Office, c1951
Christmas decorations in Skillman Post Office, 1951+

Eleanora married Harry Kolbert in 1952 and moved to Skillman, where Harry was postmaster from around 1951 into the 1970s.

Eleanora’s father, Merritt Joseph McAlinden, also was postmaster in Hopewell from 1942 to 1958. Eleanora worked as a substitute rural mail carrier in Hopewell starting in 1949 – driving a 38 mile route, with only six miles paved, and with some 400 stops:

  • From Hopewell – South to Mount Rose, West to Marshall’s Corner
  • East in Montgomery to Stoutsburg, Skillman, and Zion
  • North and west in Amwell to Rileyville and Snydertown

We welcome additional information, photos, and materials on the Skillman store and post office, and on our local history in general.

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