If you could somehow pluck a citizen of Butler, NJ, off Main Street a century (or more) ago, and plop him down in the same place today, he’d immediately recognize his surroundings. Butler is one of those towns which hasn’t changed substantially over that time. (Compare with any photo of downtown Manhattan, where very little remains from the past.)
Not only is this really cool to a history buff, it also makes it easier to pair the businesses of then to the businesses of now. Here’s what I know:
Judging by the car, this is early 1900s.
The large gold sign on the store reads “Goldstein Bros” … currently there is no third & fourth story, due to a fire. This is the large building formerly occupied by Levine Bros clothiers.
The store next door, closer to the photographer, has no large sign, but you can read “Soda” at the bottom of the window. This is the building currently occupied by Butler News & Candy Shop (150 Main St) — largely unmodified since this postcard!
The building closest to us is at 144 Main Street, currently occupied by Alvino’s Barber Shop.
The building to the left of Goldstein’s would then be the WCTU building (156-158 Main St), currently occupied by Mizuki restaurant. It appears the roof was rebuilt and is, today, higher than in this photo. Indeed, it appears that the WCTU sign is there, hung above the second-story porch.
The next building beyond, a house, at 160 Main Street is currently Vanderhoof & Sons Custom Heating.
And note you can see the RR station at left, down the block.