By DON STINE
It’s a new beginning at an historic site in Neptune as a new 44-unit transit village is now being built on the site of the former S.S. Adams Co. at Memorial Drive and Seventh Avenue.
The Adams Company, once home to one of the most unique manufacturing companies in the United States, was torn down in 2017 and a new residential, market-rate condominium project is taking its place.
The project, with 10 one-bedroom units and 34 two-bedroom units, is located near both the Asbury Park and Bradley Breach train stations. A transit village is a predominantly residential development with some nearby retail activities planned around a transportation hub, such as a train station, with the intent to make it convenient for village dwellers to get to/from work or run errands and travel via a public transportation network
There is also a 1,400-square-foot commercial space on the first floor. A craft distillery is proposed near the project, said Neptune Business Administrator Vito Gadaleta.
The transit village development area runs from Sixth to Ninth Avenues and from Memorial Drive to Atkins Avenue.
“There could more development in the future. It is a good location in proximity to train stations,” Gadaleta said.
The S.S. Adams Co. building, built in 1932, saw the wrecking ball in 2017.
A 2013 site plan approved by the Zoning Board of Adjustment allowed the developer, Neptune Developers LLC, to convert the historic 68,840-sqaure-foot, four-story building into condominiums or apartments. The site plan called for the building’s exterior, including its unique clock tower, to remain with most of the major renovations being done inside the building.
However, it was later discovered that water damage in the building was so severe that it could not be saved and it was razed. In 2015 the zoning board and the developer used the same original site plan approval to build a new building while still preserving the exterior architectural features of the old building.
The exterior of the new building will match the one on the old building, including the clock tower. One modification approved by the board is to allow a parking area on the ground floor of the building.
The S.S. Adams Company was famous for its gag novelty items and it bought its stately new factory building in Neptune in 1932 during the Great Depression and eventually became the only manufacturer of gag novelty items in the United States
Born in Denmark in 1879, Soren Adam Sorensen moved to Perth Amboy, which had a large Scandinavian community, when he was two years old. Adams found himself eventually employed as a salesman for a dye company. One of the products he sold caused workers to sneeze and Sorensen found a way to extract this derivative from the dye and called this new powder “Cachoo” and launched the Cachoo Sneezing Powder Company in Plainfield.
He eventually changed the name of the company to S.S. Adams Co. and began inventing and manufacturing novelty items, including gag gifts such as the Exploding Cigarette Box, the Snake in a Can, Itching Powder, the Stink Bomb, the Dribble Glass, and the popular Joy Buzzer. He turned down manufacturing the Whoopee Cushion because he thought it was too vulgar and would not sell it – a decision he later regretted.
Sorensen claimed to have devised over 600 different items and patented about 40 of them. He continued to lead S.S. Adams Company until his death in Asbury Park in 1963 at age 84.