Gas Station, Dave's Barber Shop and now Debbie 's Doll House
Submitted by Nute Chapman
From Onaway Outlook October 26, 2012
Picture: Shoemaker store in the 1960s before M-68 was redone and raised several feet.
As we switch over to Shoemaker's this week, I am sure that there are many, many of Bill's customers in our midst today.
Bill started the store back up sometime after it was McClutchey's. At this time the back part of Bill's gas station was part of the Pickle Works. (More about the Pickle Works next week.)
Bill served the community for many years before his health slowed him down.
I stopped there many times with my Dad to get sardines for trapping and a pack of Camels. Sometimes we got a chunk of bologna or a ring of red, as Don Preston called it.
Pickled bologna came in 3-gallon jugs. The rings were three times as big as the ones you buy today. Bill would reach into the jug and grab onto one of the rings and pull it out over the rim of the jug and hold his big butcher knife on the bologna and wait for you to shake your head when the knife was at the amount you wanted. He would then throw the piece of bologna, on a piece of onionskin paper, on the scales to price it. He would thenwrap it in white or red paper, tie it with string and write the price on it. Bulk lunch meat was handled in the same manner.
A special treat was for my Dad to buy me a bottle of pop. My favorite was O-SO-Grape. Bill of course had Coca-Cola, Hires Root Beer, Vernors, Ginger Ale, Orange Soda, 7-Up and Cherry Red Pop. The pop used to taste like the flavor it really was.
Next to Bill's gas station was a grease rack that you could walk under from the creek side. This was an open-air rack. It was constructed from two large iron beams that you could drive your car onto. This rack was used many nights and weekends after the gas station closed. You could work on your engine, transmission, your muffler, grease your car and change you own oil. As I remember the ground was oil soaked from the rack to the creek, which was only just a few feet away. I often wonder where M.D.O.T., the E.P.A., the D.N.R. and the D.E.Q. were at this time. Evidently it was not a problem at this time.
In 1948 Cecil Peterman and his brother Cliff operated a car and truck repair business at the gas station. Sometimes they worked late and used the back part of the station to sleep over instead of going home.
Dave Thompson took over the store when Bill's health failed him. Dave got his barber license and opened his shop in the back living quarters. His wife, Nancy, helped him run the store and gas station. They closed the store soon after the local super markets were allowed to sell liquor and beer.
In the late 1960s, Chet McQuaid and Company tore most of the storefront down and built his garage, which still stands today.
In 1975 Dave opened a new shop up town next to the post office. Today Dave still has a barber shop in the Detroit area, but spends most weekends at his home on Glasier Road and plans to retire soon.
The Doll House, owned and operated by Debbie O'Meara today, is part of the living quarters that Dave's shop was in before he moved up-town.
-Onaway Outlook, October 26, 2012, p.3. Retyped by J. Anderson.