More Than Just A Gas Station

1 decade 1 year 8 months ago Thursday, June 07 2007 Jun 7, 2007 Thursday, June 07, 2007 2:30:06 PM CDT June 07, 2007 in News

Everyone knows everybody in small towns. Martin Bryan agrees.

"Bud Bell, he told me he learned more at the station then he learned four years at the University of Missouri," said Bryan.

He opened the gas station in 1939 and owned it for almost three decades. So the New Bloomfield Historical Society turned to him and several other old timers when they decided to open a museum in the town.

Historical Society President Gracia Backer said, "It brings families together, it brings old friends back together and it's just been really interesting of how people have wanted to participate."

And those participating aren't only locals.

"We were contacted by a lady in Columbia who had purchased a quilt made in 1931 with people's names from New Bloomfield, and she gave it to us, to put into the museum. So it's just great to have a place that we can call home for our memories," said Backer.

Long-time resident Ruby Bryan said, "I just think that these younger people do not know the stories and even the layout of New Bloomfield. They're going to learn that there was a lot more to New Bloomfield before they came into the world."

For example, you might not know that Ruby Renner Bryan was crowned Miss Callaway County back in 1937.

Ruby says keeping memories alive is kind of like keeping marriage alive. She would know, since she's been married to Martin for 65 years.

"Take the good with the bad, the bad with the good, and really we wonder where the time has gone," said Ruby.

And that's what they'll do at the new museum, because not all memories are good ones.

"They had a cross burning out west of town and my older brother, it was back in the day, he went to town on a horse and he came by, he saw this fire up in the field and he rode his horse up there and a couple of fellas came out and met him and said, I expect young man you had better go home," said Bryan.

Martin has stories to remember as well.

"The county fair was held here from about 1906 to 1915. And they rushed to bring trainloads of people into the fair and it was a big deal."

The price of gas is about $3 higher, you pump fuel from electric tanks instead of manual, and there's a new owner.

Bryan's gas station opened in 1939 and is still a big part of New Bloomfield's history. It will be preserved with many other in the new museum.

The New Bloomfield Lion's Club donated the land for the building and the historical society raised nearly $50,000 through donations, membership fees, and fundraising.

Members are still accepting donations and will begin construction this month.

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