Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hold the Presses!

I opened my mail Monday and was surprised to see two photographs and a handwritten note. It was sent by an owner of a gas station that is featured in our forthcoming book, Fill ‘er Up: The Glory Days of Wisconsin Gas Stations. Perhaps you have seen the small station in the companion documentary Wisconsin Public Television produced. If not, you can watch it online here.

The photographs I received in the mail, shown below, were not labeled. The note said a man in his eighties dropped them off recently at the little Platteville station. The images show his aunt and uncle who worked at the station in the 1930s. They likely spent many hours pumping gas and keeping customers happy.

The note didn’t say who the two were though. It didn’t say if they owned the station or just worked there. No matter what they did, it's likely the little station was a big part of their lives.

For the past two years we were unable to uncover a historic photograph of the station or anyone who worked there. It was pretty funny the photographs arrived just as the book is due in stores, but I am still glad Tom Nodorft of B&B Service chose to send them to us.

I shouldn’t have been surprised at this nice gesture. I am sure it will happen again and again. Jim and I know photographs and stories (and maybe, corrections) will come in after the book is officially published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

Although it’s too late to stop the presses, we want to hear from you. Don’t hesitate to drop us a line and let us know about a station you just saw, photographs you have, or your connection to a Wisconsin station.

1 comment:

bdbill said...

I bought a copy of your book today, and was thrilled to see two photos I let the Society copy a few years back. One was of a serive attendant standing next to three Texaco pumps, I think it was on one of the first few pages, 3rd row down. This was my great uncles station on Sherman Ave. in Madison. He had a grocery store next to it. The grocery store building is still there, but I think the filling station part was torn down and a different building put up. The man by the pumps was Lincoln Borgrud who ran the station for a short time around 1939. It is across from Sherman school.
The other pic was of the Droster Store in Burke. This was run by a few other great uncles, one who moved on and started the store on Sherman, another died in 1934 of a heart attack at age 30, then the last brother who went off to WWII and sold the store in 1945. The building still stands as the Burke Station Tavern on Felland road in Madison.
Your book is a great read, thank you for writing it and using those pictures.
Bill Droster