by Kevin Walsh

I keep meaning to explore Newark, NJ more frequently since I have made only a few forays into NYC’s westerly neighbor; I have visited Jersey City, Hoboken and even Hackensack more frequently and even worked in Hoboken for a year. In November 2018 I rode Newark’s venerable light rail, formerly called the City Subway, for the first time in 20 years (I will have a FNY page on this sooner or later). Walking back to the PATH train at Penn Station (Newark also has one) I spotted this painted ad on for Coleman Business College on Academy Street between Washington and Halsey. Over the past 20 years, NYC has gradually eliminated its inventory of historic painted signs as every crook and nanny gets developed and gentrified, but there are still some very good examples of the genre in Newark.

This ad catches your eye immediately. The serifed lettering has a generous swash in a bygone style. It’s painted on 45 Academy, the building in which the school was located from 1890 until it went out of business around 1915, though the taller building on 17 Academy in back of it is also called the Academy Building. This is one of two similar painted signs for the Coleman school in the area; a second, even larger one can be seen around the corner, at Raymond Boulevard and Halsey.

The school itself was founded in 1862, but when Prof. Henry Coleman purchased it in 1882, it was renamed for him.

“The 14,000 square foot school included a typewriting department with over 100 typewriters, a commercial department, and a day school. It was notorious for its racist and discriminatory admissions policy.” [Jersey Digs]

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”



Peter February 16, 2019 - 9:04 am

For a sign that’s at least 114 years old it’s amazingly well preserved. You even can see the logo of the sign company, though I can’t make out the name.

Chris S July 17, 2021 - 2:10 pm

I was born in Jersey City and grew up in Kearny, a “suburb” of Newark and Jersey City. The best way to tour the area is to use the bus lines and then walk about. Newark has many treasures but also some uninteresting areas of which some you have to be a little careful (definitely not as bad as it was back in the 1980’s and 90’s where you would be chased off a block)>

One tour could be based on a bus line. I am thinking the 40 NJT bus would be good for a portion of it – Newark Penn/Ironbound/Red Bull Stadium-Harrison/Kearny-Kearny Ave with a stop by the Library and one or two eateries. YOu can pm me at my Facebook –


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