Monday, April 23, 2012

"Murder Station"

I have been driving by this odd little building off to the side of the county road for a few years and always thought it looked out of place with it's steep roof and sits alone except for a  nearby farm.
Today was such a beauty of a nice April afternoon I decided to stop and have a look. Once I got on the other side of it (not visible from the blacktop) I could plainly see that it was an old gas station which is what I had suspected all along. And I could see where the old road used to go on the other side of it...
I looked down the long driveway and saw a man in his yard so I drove down to ask for permission to snoop around. He was friendly and told me quite a story...
I asked when the old station had closed and he said 
"it was August of 1962 and a day I will never forget"
It seems he lived in this very same house back then and had loaned his truck to some friends in the nearby town of Superior, NE (about 2 miles away) and when he was done with his chores for the day he walked down the drive to the station to ask the owner and operator  John Maxwell who was in his 80's for a ride to town when he closed his station for the evening to get his truck. "Sure no problem he replied" and "I'm getting ready to go pretty soon" and about that time some other buddies of his pulled in to get gas having just come in from the nearby lake fishing and he rode with them instead and bid Mr. Maxwell goodbye. 
It was only a few minutes later that a man drove up in a 1960 Chevy car and asked him to fill up his tank. And when he was done the guy in the car tried to leave without paying and an argument started and he shot Mr. Maxwell twice with a 22 Beretta and killed him, then took his wallet containing $105 cash.
A manhunt by the KBI ended with a capture and the man was tried and sentenced to life in prison at Leavenworth. 
So, to make a long story short my new friend would have possibly been killed that night too if he hadn't left just before that fateful event.
He paused after telling me the story and I could see it was etched in his mind forever. 
He said "I own the old Texaco station now and we sell fireworks there in July each year." It sits right by the state line.
He told me to help myself and look around and take whatever photos I wanted. So, I did....


The door was open on this day so I went inside for a look around...
Not much to see really, mostly just alot of shelves for fireworks and some tables in the other room...
But then I saw an old Coca Cola opener near the door and imagined an old Coke machine that would have sat near there...
and the old light switch was of the old twist style not seen anymore...
and I went back outside and looked at the full service gas pump island where the business was conducted for many years...
And then, it was time to move along and continue my journey. 
I pondered the whole story as I drove away....all I did was stop to look at an old building and learned some more history...and this time it was not happy memories.....

2 comments:

  1. What a sad story but I love how you are capturing so much history around the Midwest.

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