How many folks fit on the running board of a 1923 Pierce-Arrow towing truck? It depends if they are children or adults! In this charming photograph from about 1926, the Stewart family of Kingston, New Jersey are posing on the running board of the Kingston Garage’s 1923 Pierce-Arrow towing truck. The Kingston Garage was founded by Benjamin R. Stewart in 1919, and is currently owned by his grandson. Most likely this picture was taken by Ben Stewart, across from the garage on the corner of Academy Street and Route 27 (Lincoln Highway), at the Kingston School. From left to right are: standing – Thomas R. Stewart (Ben’s brother); Fluffy the dog – with young George Kaltschmidt; Mrs Kathryn Kaltschmidt, holding her daughter; Maude Eisenberger Stewart (Ben’s wife); Evelyn Stewart (Ben’s daughter); Walter “Spike” Herrman (Ben’s nephew); and Mrs. Lillian Heilman Stewart (Tom’s wife).
Above, Tom Stewart is posing in front of the wrecker. Brothers Ben and Tom Stewart lived next to each other in a two-family house on Academy Street, right behind the garage owned and operated by Ben Stewart. Hard workers, they were on call 24/7, to help out friends, neighbors, and strangers that needed their automobiles and trucks towed after accidents or break-downs. They also repaired vehicles and pumped gas. Looking at the 1930 Federal Census on ancestry.com, in Middlesex County, South Brunswick Township, Village of Kingston, all of the folks in the top picture can be found enumerated within a few lines or pages of each other. Benjamin Stewart (1893-1968), is listed under occupation as “Operator of Garage”. His wife, Maude, and children are listed with occupation “None”. Tom Stewart is listed as “Mechanic Automobile” and is living with his wife, Lillian, and his father, Benjamin Stewart Sr., age 65, is listed under as occupation “Laborer Gas Station”. George and Kathryn Kaltschmid, are listed with their children, including George, Jr., as next-door neighbors. Walter “Spike” Herrman is listed living nearby with his parents, Walter and Hazel Stewart Herrman (1894-1995), and also his siblings.
Here is one more picture from that day showing George Kaltschmidt in the center with Walter “Spike” Herrman and Evelyn Stewart. What sweet faces the children have. The front of the vehicle seems to have a face also, with two big googly eyes for headlights.