Gas stations provided full service in former years


Photo of the Pro station owned by Jim and Jean Costello. It was located on the north side of West Main Street, just west of the old hotel.
By : 
MARY JO DATHE
GLIMPSES OF YESTERYEAR

We quote: "Greetings from the Sesquicentennial Committee" which is inside the cover of the 2005 calendar to recognize 150 years since Spring Valley was founded. 

We have been running several pictures of service stations that were part of the streets and corners around Spring Valley.  With the advent of the automobile, necessity required service stations with an emphasis on "service."  The person in charge, be it old or young, pumped the gas for you, checked the oil, topped off the water in the radiator, washed the windshield, maybe inflated a low tire with a boost from the handy air hose nearby, and you were on your way! Or your auto could be parked over the grease pit where the mechanics would do their job efficiently.  Remember when they changed the oil, or fixed a flat tire, or tuned the engine?  Perhaps those days are long gone.

In a photo accompanying this column, we see the Pro station owned by Jim and Jean Costello.  It was located on the north side of West Main Street just west of the old hotel.  It was formerly a Cities Service or Gulf Station.  The building in the late 1980s was used by the city for the ambulance service.  The city has since built the outstanding building on the east edge of town to house our ambulances and much more. Recently the lot has been stripped and it is now the parking lot for folks who rent the apartments at the hotel; it is south of the fire station on Washington Avenue. 

Jim served in World War II; he married Jean Riehl at the parsonage next to the Baptist Church in Spring Valley, formerly at 115 South Section, now on West Tracy Road.  They had five children, Beverly, Barbara, Betty and Brenda, and one son, James, Jr. He retired in 1980; lived to be 95, dying in October of 2013.

The 2005 calendar of 16 service stations was credited to Curt and Barb Osterhus, Dale Klingerman, Jim Costello, Harlan Marchant, Arlen and Joann Berg, Orville Armstrong, and the Historical Society files.  How many of these folks are still up and at 'em? 

Talked with Dale Klingerman -- he has had a Chevrolet Nomad since August 1980.  It has only 100,000 miles on it and he keeps it in a heated garage.  Dale says events involving the Nomad are often, and he keeps busy with many of them. 

Stay tuned for coming events...

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