Remembering the Past: 1920s South Amboy Memories

by Diane Norek Harrison

SOUTH AMBOY—These memories were given to me by former South Amboy resident Adam Kierst and are from the 1920s:

When Adam was in 3rd grade, he would walk to St. Mary’s School on Augusta Street from his Ward Avenue home. He would start on Ward Avenue, go down by the hospital hill, across Catherine Street to an open field on Leffert and Feltus streets where an Italian lady kept her eight goats. He would stop and look at the goats, give them a handful of grass, continue on past the lumber yard on Leffert Street to Ted McDonough’s (sp?) horse barn on Pine Avenue and Leffert Street.

Here is an early 1900s South Amboy postcard. Check out the trolley and trolley tracks. The scene is on Broadway right before Augusta Street looking south. Photo courtesy of Rose Ann Pawlik.

Mr. McDonough was getting his horses ready for work. He would let Adam give the horses a handful of hay; then the boy would continue across Pine Avenue. Sometimes Adam was delayed because the Raritan River Railroad train was coming across Pine Avenue. He would run across Pine Avenue, to Augusta Street to St. Mary’s School yard where all the classes were assembled and the bell was ringing. He would make it to the end of the line in time to go to the door before it closed.

Mr. McDonough once dug a foundation next to Adam’s home on Ward Avenue and he sat on a pile of dirt he scooped out. He asked Adam to get him and his horse water and paid him 10 cents, which was a huge sum of money in 1926. Ten cents went a long way in the penny candy store.

I share the same memories as Adam, with regards to getting caught waiting for the Raritan River Railroad train to pass on Pine Ave in the 1960s walking to St. Mary’s School.

If you have similar memories from any of the towns listed below, don’t hesitate to send!

If you have your own memories or past information for Carteret, Edison, Metuchen, Perth Amboy, Sayreville, South Amboy or Woodbridge you can email me at or send “copies” of your material to me at CMD Media, P.O. Box 1061 Rahway, N.J. 07065.

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