Riverside Borough Barber
by Cate Murway
In most instances, the old signs that indicated the callings of shopkeepers have been swept away, indicative of a scene that soon will pass from Americana forever.
The old-fashioned barbershop, the last bastion of masculinity, has big leather barber chairs and wood floors. In years agone, the barber was a notable tradesman and a many-sided man of business, for he shaved, cut hair, made wigs, bled, dressed wounds, and performed other services. The red and white stripes on the old-fashioned barber's pole stood for blood and bandages, representing a time when a barber was just as likely to remove molars as hair.
A barbershop is a place where people of all walks of life could come in and mingle as they got their hair cut and enjoy great conversations with the barber and fellow clients, a classic bonding experience. That’s not such a bad throwback to our past! Joseph Peter Cuttone, BHS ‘35, is a gentleman who has been barbering for almost 75 years and continues to do what he loves, snipping and clipping, cutting and styling men's hair the way they used to do it, right out of the days when chrome fenders were hot and Elvis was king! He is an intelligent fellow, with a wit as keen as his razor and confident scissors that are still ready to execute his loyal customer’s will! It is an experience, not just a haircut; a welcome change to today’s impersonal world. Joe’s skill has endeared him to many, as did the humility and human kindness he has demonstrated throughout his life.
“When I was a kid, Bristol was not what it is today, there was lots of open land.
I was raised on goat’s milk and most of the food that we ate was raised in our yard.”
Clifford L. Anderson was the Burgess [1917-1943].
Joe’s dad, Andrew was a farmer and his mother, Francesca [Frances] worked at the [Keystone] Steel’s Woolen Mill. He had responsibilities as the eldest. Joe helped his parents. He kneaded the bread and collected eggs from the hen house and picked the best good green grass for the goats so the milk was richer. “When my dad said something, I listened.”
The family grew all their own vegetables on their property that faced Corson Street and kept the cellar full of jarred tomatoes for the winter months. The Cuttone family was eating the best food and didn’t realize it. He especially enjoyed the ravioli and gnocchi [means “dumpling”] that his mom hand made. “One dish we ate with vegetables like zucchini was snails that she dumped in boiling water. She would fry dough pieces [pane fritto] leftover from the bread in olive oil. They were delicious and she would sprinkle them with sugar. She could never make enough of them!”
He remembers boarding the William E. Doran Ferry boat to Burlington Island for $.10.
In Joe’s childhood, dresses were short and so were a young man's pants. Cord knickers were most common for play and school and he was 8 or 9 when he got his first pair of long pants. He enjoyed sports. Leedoms had a baseball team and the barbers had a team, the Federals. History was his favorite subject in school. He did gymnastics at BHS since he was 6’0 and weighed 130 pounds, “so football was out”! He played baseball in the street with old taped up balls and a stick. “We improvised, I guess.”
They had their first bathroom installed when he was a teenager. Prior to that, he would bathe in the old tin tub where his mother washed the clothes, the tangible reminder of the Good Old Days that nobody wants to go back to, but everybody wants to remember.
Sadness wells in his eyes when he recounts the memory of sparks
from the wood burning stove igniting and burning their frame house
to the ground.
He used to hold his 6-month-old baby sister with the jet-black hair
and olive skin that he lost in a house fire when he was only 5 years old.
Joe has always been ambitious and determined, full of candor
and sharp observations, self-confident and self-reliant and
because of these admirable personal attributes and umpteen others,
his father hoped his son would become a lawyer.
In the early part of the war, Joe was a turret lathe operator;
a form of metalworking lathe that is used for repetitive production
of duplicate parts, at the Hunter Manufacturing Company
and he also performed the duties of staff photographer
for their newsletter, the “Hunter Projectile”.
He was drafted in 1943 to the Navy Seabees,
the Construction Battalions of the US Navy,
and was sent to Williamsburg, VA but received
a medical discharge because his “eyes were not good enough”
and prohibited him from performing the required duties.
and their first date was sharing a sundae in an ice cream parlor
in Camden. He smiled at the memory. He purchased her
engagement ring for $35.00, a week’s wages,
from Clarke’s Jewelry
[current location of the Bristol Borough Business Association].
They have been married for 65 years in July.
Catherine was a seamstress and worked in Camden
making women’s suits. Their first automobile, a tan Oakland
All American Sport Roadster with brass headlights,
had a windshield that folded forward and flat
for that wind in their face experience and a rumble seat
that welcomed extra passengers.
Why has their marriage been so successful?
“It’s very simple. There’s a time to talk and a time to listen.”
They had two beautiful daughters “just like their mother”.
Lost to cancer, Frances Esther who invested 40 years of her life
in engineering at Rohm & Haas and Rose Anna Dempsey,
retired from the Intelligencer newspaper, lives in Horsham.
His grandmother and his wife and her grandmother
and his late sister, Catherine Modica all shared the name of Catherine.
a welder and his wife Vera are Vermilion Hills residents
and parents of the late Dr. Andrew J. Cuttone.
Joe always dreamed of making a trip to Italy,
his ancestral home. He achieved his dream and made it reality,
visiting Italy in 1971 and twice more with his wife.
His dad refused to go back, “I made a break and now I’m an American”.
Renowned sculptor Joseph Edward Pavone, BHS ’45 shared,
“Joe was on the committee of the Columbus 500 organization
and we did several projects together. We produced
an Italian Immigration documentary film and
Joe played a very important part, very verbal and such a keen memory.
He is really a Bristol Borough character!
Joe is one of the few who can still speak and write the Sicilian dialect.”
Joe was on the 50 year celebration [1927-1977]
committee and given photographic credits
for the Bristol Pentecostal Church, now the Bristol Assembly of God.
He loaned photographs that evoke a special feeling
and bring back memories to Harold Dodson and
Carol Mitchener for their book,
the June 2000 “Images of America, Bristol”.
His pictures ensure that the borough takes its rightful place
among communities of rich historical significance.
The Mitcheners were honored this past weekend as
Bristol Lions Club “Citizens of the Year”.
Harold confirmed, “Joe is very interested in the history
and photography of Bristol.”
Joe, his dark room is in the basement,
has also preserved air photography images for
Rohm and Haas and for First Federal of Bucks County.
Stuff like pomade, brillantine, hair oil, and hair cream and a rotating Glass Barber Pole have been essential ingredients of his occupational life for ¾ of a century.
Barber Cuttone learned his trade in Brownie’s Barber School in Trenton. He cut Senator Joseph Ridgway Grundy’s hair! He remembers seeing Senator Grundy at election time and he shook hands with him when he registered to vote at age 21. He found Joe Grundy, the benefactor of Bristol, to be a generous gentleman and recalled “for an hour a day, he would have the immigrants learn English”.
Joe is an independent voter but has been a registered Republican all his life just as his dad had been. Another reason for being Republican he shared, “Was for Mr. Grundy because of what he did for the town.” What are you going to do this election? “I really don’t know.”
"Let not your heart be troubled," His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears”
Joe ran for public office as 4th Ward councilman 5 times, also for the School board and as tax collector. His cousin, Anna Bono Larrisey is the Borough tax collector. Anna’s grandfather and Joe’s grandmother were brother and sister.
Peter Mannherz opened the Mannherz Barbershop in 1921 and Mary Jane Mannherz’s late father Nicholas operated it until 1971. Joe worked professionally along with him and the late Frank Pone for many years, as well as Nick Petrucci for the last 20 years.
He stopped tabulating haircuts, over 150,000, not counting the free ones.
Joe also graduated from Weaver School of Real Estate and was involved for a good 2 decades with David Fiori, Inc., and the Charlie McGee and Jadlocki firms, once having a location in the historic Grundy Commons mill complex building on Canal Street.
The Mansion Street residents are “not crazy about the movies” but they always liked the theatre. They especially enjoyed “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial” in the 1996-97 season at the Bristol Riverside Theatre.
Joe’s favorite restaurant? “King George II Inn, I eat whatever is on special. I really like a good pork chop or veal chop.”
He is also a cook! He makes a special tomato sauce with garlic and onion sautéed in olive oil and plenty of basil and loves it served over angel hair pasta.
He likes the color green, “it’s easier on the eyes” and he drives a green Buick Century. It’s a keeper, like him! The last Buick Century rolled off the assembly line on October 25, 2004.
An extremely multi-talented man, he is working on writing a book that will be titled, “My name is Joseph, son of Andrew”.
This Friday child, Joseph P. Cuttone, is loving and giving.
His beautiful wife is very ill. Joe carries within himself a poignant memory of the way they were.
“Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”
The beauty of this simple expression of boundless faith grips his heart and his indomitable spirit.
His most cherished song, the Gospel hymn, "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" was written in 1905.
“I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me”.
Tired of all the hassle you have to go through these days to get a simple haircut or shave? If you're in need of an old fashion barbershop that provides quality work, a relaxed environment and great prices, without all the commotion of a hair salon, Riverside Barber Shop is the place for you!
Riverside Barber Shop
125 Radcliffe Street
Bristol, PA 19007-5011
Hours of Operation:
Tuesday–Friday 10:00a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Would you like your business spotlighted?
e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Catherine R. Cuttone
Catherine Rose (Vitale) Cuttone of Bristol Borough, died peacefully at home Tuesday evening, June 10, 2008, with her family at her side. She was 90.
She was the beloved wife of Joseph P. Cuttone. Married July 26, 1942, they were a devoted and loving couple for nearly 66 years.
Born June 1, 1918, in Camden, N.J., she was the daughter of the late John and Rosalie (Santangelo) Vitale.
Mrs. Cuttone retired in the mid-1970s from the Burlington Coat Factory.
She enjoyed traveling with her family, sewing, cooking delicious Italian dinners and always giving love and three kisses to her beloved extended family.
She was a lifelong member of the Bristol Assembly of God Church.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by a daughter, Rose Dempsey (Joseph) of Horsham; a sister, Mary Wasko and a nephew, Bill Wasko, of Cherry Hill, N.J.; and a brother-in-law, Sam Cuttone (Vera) of Levittown. Also surviving are four grandchildren: Christina Cooper (Jay) of Bristol, Elaine Grauel of Doylestown, Heidi Margiotti (Vincent) of Chalfont, and William Grauel and his partner, of Eagle Rock, Calif.; and eight great-grandchildren: Cory, Erin and Derek Cooper, Zachary and Peyton Groff, Andrew Specht, and John and Joseph Hance. Loving nieces and nephews also survive. She was preceded in death by a daughter, Frances Cuttone, in 2005; a sister, Elizabeth Rizzo; a sister-in law, Catherine Modica; and two brothers, Paul and Louis Vitale.
Relatives and friends are invited to her viewing at 7 p.m. Friday, June 13, at Bristol Assembly of God Church, Wood and Walnut streets, Bristol, PA 19007, where a morning service will begin at 10 Saturday, June 14. Interment will follow at Bristol Cemetery, Route 13, Bristol.
Donations may be made to Bristol Assembly of God Church at the above address or to Vitas Hospice, 1740 Walton Road, Blue Bell, PA 19422.
The family wishes to thank the staff of Vitas Hospice for their kind, generous and much-needed support. Carter Funeral Home, Bristol
October 12, 2009
Joe's Bristol on exhibit
By: KATE FRATTI
Bucks County Courier Times
Years ago, I was the editor of a small weekly newspaper and hired freelance news photographers when the budget allowed. Over time, I started to think I could tell one photographer's feelings for the subjects I assigned, even if he never shared their opinion. It was all right there in the picture.
If the photographer disliked a local pol, for instance, the man always turned up looking a little shifty in the photos, even if he was snapped smiling and kissing babies. If the photographer believed in the guy, well then, the subject always appeared to me in better light, handsome and trustworthy in the shot, even with a bad haircut, five o'clock shadow and shaky reputation.
This particular photographer never took a bad shot of a woman. Even plain girls got a boost through his lens.
Maybe I was projecting. But I had the same thought all these years later while looking at some of the hundreds of photos taken by lifelong Bristolian Joe Cuttone, 94. He began taking photos in Bristol in 1930 with a Roloflex camera he bought used at Nichols. Later he fell in love with a Minolta.
Joe's work resonates with good humor, curiosity, but mostly adoration for his family, friends and his hometown, a mill town in Joe's day - one that beckoned Irish and Italian laborers anxious to make decent life for themselves. Joe couldn't get enough of Bristol. And when he'd photographed everything up close on the ground, Joe wheedled his way onto a plane to photograph the borough from a bird's eye view. He loved this corner of the Earth and it shows.
You're invited to have a look back at Joe's Bristol on Saturday when his work goes on exhibit for the first time as a collection at the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library. It's all part of the Historic Bristol Day street festival. There will be an invitation-only reception the night before. Joe will be on hand to greet well-wishers and old friends. The photographer has donated more than 100 pieces to the library, where they will be archived using professional archiving standards. It is a collaborative effort between the library and the adjacent Grundy mansion museum.
Joe still works five days a week in his barber shop on Radcliffe Street next door to Canolli Coffee Bar and Gelateria and directly across from Bristol Riverside Theater. It makes for a much visited corner in 2009.
Mary Jane Mannherz, director of the library, also on Radcliffe Street has close ties to Joe through the barbershop, and was the one who first talked with him about letting his photographs become part of Bristol's preserved history. Mary Jane's grandfather, Peter, opened the barbershop in the 1920s, and her dad, Nicholas Mannherze was the one who hired Joe, who learned his craft at Brownie's Barber School in Trenton in the 1930s.
In his shop, is a photograph of him taken by a friend. Joe's a teenager in the shot, posing on a Harley Davidson. He is dashing. He'd made a down payment of $100 for the bike. He then coughed up $3 a week to cover the $215 owed. A payment book on the barbershop wall with the photo shows he missed a couple payments and was charged 32 cents in late fees. The book tickles Joe.
Library and museum officials hope that photos, diaries and other assorted records belonging to other longtime Bristolians also will be turned over for safekeeping. The alternative, Mannherz and others fear, is that the memorabilia could be tossed into landfills, lost in attics or ruined in wet basements simply because family members have forgotten them or aren't aware of their importance.
Some of Mary Jane's favorite Cuttone photos are the aerials he took after he linked up with a guy who ran the 3M airport. Joe cut workers' hair in exchange for a lift into the air. Another favorite is the photo used on the reception invite - two young men at a snazzy gas station in the Harriman section of town. The new Mercury in the photo says the year was 1939.
You don't have to have lived in Bristol to enjoy this look back in time. Especially, since the time is recorded through the eyes of a man who lived it.
Bucks County Courier Times
Joseph P. Cuttone of Bristol Borough passed away Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010,
at Methodist Hospital, Philadelphia, in Vitas Hospice, after a brief illness.
He was 94.
Born Dec. 3, 1915, in Bristol,
he was the son of the late Andrea and Francesca Cuttone.
He worked as a barber for almost 80 years, including nearly 70 years in the Borough at The Riverside Barber Shop, formerly owned by Nick Manherz. This is how he will always be remembered and cherished.
A U.S. Navy veteran, he also was a licensed realtor and insurance agent. However, it was his capacity as a photographer that was most important to him. After donating his maps and photos pertaining to Bristol to the Margaret R. Grundy Library, he had a showing on October, 2009. His joy of his beloved town and photos will live on in memory of him.
He was loved and respected by so many who will never forget the gentleman and man of God he truly was. Above all, he lived his life loving his family. This was always his top priority.
He is survived by his daughter, Rose Dempsey and her husband, Joseph, of Horsham; his four grandchildren, Christina Cooper (Jay) of Bristol, Elaine Grauel of Chalfont, Heidi Margiotti (Vincent) of Chalfont, and William J. Grauel and his partner of California; eight great-grandcildren, Erin, Derek and Cory Cooper, Andrew Specht, John and Joseph Hance, and Zachary and Peyton Groth; his brother, Samuel Cuttone (Vera) of Levittown; his sister-in-law, Mary Wasko and her son, Bill; his nephews, Joseph Modica (Ronnie) and Andre Modica (Dena) and family; and numerous relatives in Sicily and Italy. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Catherine, in 2008; his daughter, Frances, in 2005; and his sister, Catherine Modica in 2004.
We will never forget his compassion, love of everything Sicilian, his joy in his Lord, and his vital life force.
Relatives and friends are invited to his viewing from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, Aug. 9, at Bristol Assembly of God Church, Wood and Walnut streets, Bristol, where his funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Interment in Bristol Cemetery will be held privately.
The family wishes to thank Vitas Hospice for their invaluable help. Carter Funeral Home, Bristol
August 6, 2010
Samuel A. Cuttone
Bucks County Courier Times
Samuel A. Cuttone passed away
peacefully on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011,
at Aria Health, Bucks County Campus,
in Falls Township. He was 93.
Born the son of Andrew and Frances (Messina) Cuttone,
he resided in Bristol Borough until moving to Levittown in 1956.
Sam was the cherished father of his late son, Dr. Andrew Cuttone.
He was the beloved brother of the late Joseph Cuttone and Catherine Modica.
He was a retired employee of Eaton Corp. in Philadelphia,
and later worked in his retirement years as a 'greeter' at Shop-Rite
in Levittown until 2010.
He was a member of the former Holy Name Society of St. Ann Church and
St. Joseph the Worker Church.
Sam was a devoted family man who loved his wife, son, and grandchildren.
He was a consummate jokester and enjoyed being with people;
especially family and good friends.
He was broken-hearted by the passing of his only son, Dr. Andrew Cuttone.
Sam will be greatly missed by his adoring wife of 67 years, Vera (Scancella); his grandchildren: Christopher and Shawn Cuttone, Gina Braum and Katie Elizabeth Cuttone; his brother-in-law, Louis Rossi; his sisters-in-law, Mary Cugasi and Angelina Scancella; several nieces and nephews; his doctor and nephew, Dr. James Rossi; and devoted friends, Patricia and Bill Barnette.
Relatives and friends are invited to call on Wednesday from 9 to 10:15 a.m. at the Galzerano Funeral Home, 3500 Bristol-Oxford Valley Road, Levittown.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated 11 a.m. at St. Joseph the Worker Church. Interment will follow in Resurrection Cemetery. Galzerano Funeral Home, Bristol