Today’s installment of Old Mission History comes to us from Mel Winnie, who posted a picture of his family’s gas station on Facebook a few weeks back. The gas station was located on the northeast corner of Center Road and Old Mission Road – the same location of the infamous “Leaning Barn” photo sent by Mark Melichar a couple weeks ago (see it here).
This is a little before my time. I was born in 1960 and grew up just around the corner on Mission Road, and Mel thinks this gas station came down sometime in the 1950s. So I don’t have any first-hand knowledge of it.
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But he says it was located where the little guest house/studio is located on that lot now, out by the road. When Sharon Olson and her husband owned the house, they built the studio as a workspace (where the gas station was), probably in the 1980s or 1990s.
Anyone familiar with Old Mission history knows there are a LOT of Lardies through the ages, many of whom owned stores and gas stations. That includes George Lardie, who owned Lardie’s Grocery in Old Mission (now the Old Mission General Store). Tim wrote about him over here, and Vi Solomonson talked about Pete Lardie’s store in Mapleton here.
So sorting out the Lardie’s would require a large wall of photos, newspaper articles and connections, but I’ll do my best with this little part of the family. (Feel free to correct me in the comments section below).
Mel’s parents are Robert “Bob” Winnie and Ada Smith. Bob passed away in 2016. Bob’s parents were Robert Gordon Winnie (known as “Gordon”) and Opal Frances (Lardie) Winnie. Opal’s parents were Frances Roy Lardie (known as “Roy”) and Florence (Warren) Lardie.
Mel says that Roy and Florence owned the farm there, while Gordon and Opal ran the gas station. Roy and Florence lived in the house next to the gas station.
In this photo below, you can see a “Winnie’s Service” sign on the top of the building. The gas pumps say “Mobiloil” with the iconic flying horse logo, and behind that is a stack of oil cans with the sign, “Mobiloil” and “The World’s Quality Motor Oil.”
On the fence to the right is a sign reading “Philip Morris,” with some other words I can’t make out and a picture of someone probably smoking a cigarette. My car guy husband Tim says those are oil bottles in the wire baskets between the gas pumps.
In the photo below of Mel’s dad, Bobby, you can read the sign above the door, which says “Groceries, Candy, Cigars, Tobacco,” with a “Coca-Cola” sign on the bottom of the door and a “Nehi” soda sign on the right.
Mel says his dad was born in 1933, and this photo was taken on Easter morning, probably in the late 1930s or early 1940s. You can indeed see that he’s holding Easter baskets.
Here’s another picture of Mel’s dad, Bobby, at the gas station. He appears to be a little younger in this photo.
On a related note, when our friend, Barney Kramer, lived in the house there, he let Tim use the basement of the gas station to work on his sports cars in the 1970s. The gas station was long gone by then, but the basement remained, with the door to the basement on the east side.
Thus began Tim’s long career of restoring and working on sports cars; he was also the last person to use the Mapleton Garage as a “garage” before it was turned into the Peninsula Grill.
Also, Larry Hains, a board member of the Traverse Area Historical Society, sent along this photo of the Winnie Garage ad in the 1945 City Directory. Mel says he believes this is when Gordon moved the business into Traverse City, at 237 E. State Street, across from the Sampson Funeral Home at 232 State Street (later, Martinson Funeral Home, and later still, the current Covell Funeral Home).
Do you remember this gas station on the Old Mission Peninsula? Leave thoughts (and corrections!) in the comments section below.
A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and magazines like Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So of course, I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the Old Mission Peninsula. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb