Museum to feature automotive history

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Jim Meineke remembers a time in Craig when there was an ample amount of gas stations, and service -- not speed -- was important.

"It used to be full service," he said. "The customer was the ruler. Their wishes were our command."

Meineke, who ran M and M Standard, said he misses the time in Craig where full-service stations were everywhere.

"I remember the days when I would have three or four high school kids working in my drive all day," he said. "I miss the customer relations."

Now, the only full-service station is Craig Conoco, but not so long ago full-service stations filled the streets.

Meineke said there were 22 full-service stations in 1964, and they all employed at least three or four people.

"There was a lot of job creation, and that's gone," he said.

The first car came into the area when A.M. Seymour brought his in 1904, but Craig only became a service station mecca of sorts in the early 1920s.

Victory Way, named to commemorate victory in World War I, was one of the only roads in America that stretched from the East Coast to the West Coast. It started in New Jersey and ended in California. With so many people traveling through Craig, the need for service stations grew.

Dan Davidson, the director of the Museum of Northwest Colorado, said Craig still had 14 full-service stations in 1971, but it started to see a decline when Interstate 70 began to expand farther west.

"A lot fewer people were coming through," he said.

Since there were fewer people, Craig had to find a new industry, Davidson said.

Meineke thinks the automation process, and people not wanting to spend time at the pumps, are the reasons full-service gas stations are near extinction.

"The American people don't slow down to count to 10 anymore," he said. "A lot of it is a passing way of life I guess."

Meineke calls stations now "faster, but not better." He said he would like to go back to full-service stations, but realizes it couldn't happen with the way people value time.

He is glad he was given the chance.

"I made a fair living for my family," he said. "I think it was a slower paced lifestyle. We were happy."

Pictures of the town's early service stations will be on display at the Museum of Northwest Colorado during the Whittle the Wood Rendezvous. A shuttle will un from City Park to the YoungLife Car Show to the Museum of Northwest Colorado. Admission to the museum is free.

Contact Luke Graham at 824-7031 or e-mail lgraham@craigdailypress.com

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