Perrone and Hadshinow beautifully restore the Kearny monument you probably didn’t know existed

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It has been there for three quarters of a century. Thousands of people pass by every day. But you’ve probably never seen it. Unless you regularly walk Schuyler Avenue near CVS and Seabras Supermarket.

It is a monument to the employees of the Pollak Manufacturing Company, once a major stronghold on Schuyler near Bergen Avenue in Kearny and according to a local historian was a major defense contractor during World War II.

Belleville Historical Society President Michael Perrone said Pollak was an Army and Navy ammunition manufacturer and received the highest Army and Navy honors for their production in the part of the war effort. Many of the young men employed by Pollak enlisted in service during the war and 28 of them lost their lives.

In 1946, in memory of their fallen colleagues, surviving Pollak employees erected a monument consisting of a reddish concrete column with a large, finely detailed engraved plaque with four soldiers and the names of the 28 men lost.

Originally, the monument also anchored a mast.

What makes the monument unique, according to Perrone, is that the plaque is not bronze or brass like most other plaques.

“When we first visited the monument, we couldn’t understand why the column was made of reddish concrete. But after starting the cleaning, we were shocked to see that the plaque was not made of bronze or brass but rather copper, which explained the matching reddish concrete,” Perrone said. “We had never seen or heard of a copper plate.”

Copper is a soft and difficult metal to cast, and during the war years it was very hard to find as it was used to make ammunition and other military equipment.

“We’ve restored many military plaques over the years and they’re all bronze or brass — except this one,” Perrone said. “It became apparent to us that Pollak employees had used some of their war effort copper stockpile to create the beautiful plaque in honor of their fallen friends.”

The monument sits on property now owned by Russo Development. The Belleville Historical Society contacted owner Ed Russo, who Perrone said graciously accepted the society’s offer to restore the memorial. The company has restored more than 50 veteran and military monuments over the past few years, all for free.

“There are very few options for restoring a monument or a plaque. Either you spend a small fortune to hire one of the few professionals or you let it deteriorate,” Perrone said. “We are lucky to have our own in-house pros.”

The de Perrone family have been in the masonry business for over 40 years and deal in masonry repairs and restorations while Trustee Val Hadshinow, of North Arlington, has been a professional monument designer and engraver for over 25 years old.

“We believe it’s the least we can do to honor those who have given their all,” Hadshinow said.

Like the Kearny Monument, the Belleville Historical Society also recently restored World War II monuments in Belleville and Bloomfield in time for Veterans Day (Friday, Nov. 11).




Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor and broadcaster of The Observer, a place he has worked on and off since 2006. including the weekly editorial), making live broadcasts on facebook live, including a weekly news recap – and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he presented his very first blog to the newspaper, which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year he returned to West Hudson to return full time to The Observer. Click on here to email Kevin.



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