Gas Stations & Garages – A Stroll Down Memory Lane
“I remember when an old black Chevy drove into the station and the driver asked to have the air in his tires changed, including the spare. I did what the customer asked,” Fred Mason remembers.
This is just one of the memories and stories included in the Slater Area Historical Association’s latest in their Stroll Down Memory Lane Series, Gas Stations & Garages, a look back on the
history of the gas station and the auto garage in small town Iowa.
Service stations were the heart of small business before the onset of the big corporate convenience stops. In the 40’s and 50’s, and the early part of the 60’s, a customer could drive up,
roll down his window, ask to “fill’er up”, and get his windows washed, his oil checked, his tires filled, and 5 gallons of gas for a dollar. If he ventured into the station itself, he was greeted by his
friends and neighbors, helped himself to a Pepsi and maybe a snack, and proceeded to catch up on town news.
If there was no one there, he could pump his own gas, sign his name in the spiral notebook on the counter, and check on who else had made it into town that day.
The exhibit will also feature garages and auto dealers, with many memories of the big celebration every year when the one new Chevy went on display. In a small town of 500, as
many as 450 people would show up to kick the tires, have some coffee and a donut, and generally enjoy the show.
The program will be Thursday, October 17, from 1-4 p.m. with the unveiling of the extensive exhibit and a sharing of memories. Some of the old cars will be on display also.
Everyone is invited to Heritage Hall Museum, 318 First Avenue, Slater. You can call 515-480-9789 for more information.