Garners: final reflections
Difficult to drive past and look at, and probably most difficult for my parents to see on a daily basis, the building quickly began to fall into disrepair. Strange what only 10 years can do to a building. The rear roof formed a leak that led to the kitchen ceiling collapsing. Small trees began to sprout up from joints in the asphalt to the point where a few trees were easily 6" around near the building and at the fuel pumps.
Two years ago it got the attention of the county health department because windows and glass doors had been broken out. These were boarded up, but the building sat easy prey for vandals. It was about that time that I stuck my head in the back door and in many ways was sorry I did.
The owner sold it again to someone who was more speculative in nature....due to the new U.S. 31 being planned with the building near the end of the interchange. And it was that thought that made the county realize the potentially valuable property should be cleaned up. So, a demolition order was placed on the building prompting the current owner to demolish it himself to avoid a lien. Except for the roof, the entire building was masonry construction....and it made a large debris pile.
Two weeks before it was demolished, knowing what was planned, I took my wife and kids into the building for their first and last visit. I think they questioned why on earth they were there. But since it was such a big part of my life and our family's history....it seemed the right thing to do. While my kids never saw it opened, five generations of the family did.
My sister called me frantically last Wednesday to let me know that they had started demolition. We thought we had another week. With permission mom and dad and my sister were pulling material out of the building....a few remaining chairs, a table, glass block from the counter and our specials board. By the time I could get there to see it on Thursday morning, the station had already been imploded. I walked around and took a few shots that morning.
So, I say good bye. I still have pictures and memories, but there was something in me that had always hoped that it would stay there. It was a solid enough building-the walls would have stood forever. It had already taken on a bit of a "ruins" ambiance; I'm not sure that's how I would have wanted to see it, or remember it. I think most of us who are grounded in any way at all have these kinds of places.....maybe it's home or our grandparents farm. For me, it was the truckstop.
Easter rolled around and my brother and I were talking about it and we decided to go up to the building and scavenge around. We brought home all of the original sandstone ashlars that remained....they're now in a heap at our house....along with some brick and glass block. I plan to sponsor an exhibit at the Historic Crossroads Museum, using the glass block to construct part of a counter.
I guess I just wax nostalgic for the time when we were about real neighbors, farm communities and living slower, simpler lives.