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  • Writer's pictureThis Is Rutherford

This is Jack Falat

By Jennifer Ersalesi

Photo credits: Jack Falat

Although Jack Falat was not born and raised in Rutherford, New Jersey, he became very familiar with the area while he was employed with the New Jersey Bell Telephone Company.

Throughout his years working with the telephone company (throughout the 1970s), Jack took photos that now help residents in Rutherford, as well as many other towns, remember the ways things were "back then." This is Rutherford spoke with Jack to learn more about his extensive archive of photographs.

TIR: Were you a Rutherford resident?

Jack Falat: I had thirty-two years as a non-resident servicing Rutherford for New Jersey Bell Telephone Company.

TIR: When do you remember first discovering that you enjoyed photography?

JF: When Doctor Land's Polaroid Model 20 "Swinger" instant progressing film camera debuted in 1965. The most exciting aspect was always being in complete control of your own processing. Every payday would find me at Gunther's Camera Shop across the tracks for film and chemicals. Each bulk film 100' roll of color transparencies & Monochromes would fill 20 cartridges that lasted for a week.

TIR: You have a fifty-year archive of photos of various towns in New Jersey. What made you decide to take all of those amazing photographs that capture much of NJ’s history?

JF: The Bell System afforded me the opportunity to be where the general public had virtually no access.

TIR: Some of your photographs were taken in Rutherford, which is, of course, of particular interest to our readers. Why did you choose to take photographs of Rutherford?

JF: Even with its close proximity to New York City it still had that small-town feel.

Photographs below from left to right: F.W. Woolworth Company (52 Park Ave), Gordon Henderson's Leaded and Stained Glass Shop (55 West Erie Ave), Rivoli Theatre. Spring Dell and Sylvan Street, and a Seaplane (350 West Passaic Ave).

TIR: What do you find most interesting about Rutherford’s history (as you have archived through your photos)?

JF: The variety of residential architecture versus the surrounding towns.

TIR: Can you tell us more about the photos that can be found on your website What made you choose the particular towns and communities that you have photographed through the years?

JF: Having repeat visits to many of these locations and seeing all the changes made for interesting documentation.

To see more of Jack's photos, click here for his website.

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