Pioneer Power


| September/October 1958



2538 Reese Drive Niles, Michigan

'HOW COME?'

That's the nut shell version of the inquiries made at the Fred Heide front door time after time. Drivers on the Niles-Buchanan Road just west of Niles, Michigan, are curious and delighted when they top a little highway knoll to find two brightly painted old time steam engines perched in the Heide's sweeping side yard.

'Well', Fred chuckles, 'some folks like iron deer on the lawn, and some like little colored coachmen. I like steam engines. They're old friends.'

Steam engines provided a living and a way of life for Fred Heide for many years. They saw him add a touch of good will to his business. And now they have become a part of a hobby which takes him on interesting travels and provides an absorbing, history-saving, and colorful interest through the more leisurely senior years.

Fred Heide especially enjoys working on engines of steam. He and his son, Bob, are restoring a Stanley Steamer at the latter's home. Two other Stanley Steamers are part of Fred's fleet of six pioneer automobiles which make frequent parade appearances. There is a 1910 Overland, a 1927 Willys sleeve valve, a 1929 Essex, and a 1928 Hudson. An admirer of the 'saved penny', Fred is especially proud of the Eessex, purchased for only $60. True, it needed parts and repairs, but that happens to be his and Bob's specialty. 'It wouldn't be any fun if we couldn't work on ' a little,' Fred pointed out. All one summer he drove his 'new' car to work and deemed it the smoothest, cheapest riding he could want!