Rural Missouri - June 2011 - (Page 36)

N E I G H B O R S by Jason Jenkins jjenkins@ruralmissouri.coop T hese days, with gasoline prices hovering near $4 per gallon, motorists everywhere are on the lookout for the best deal possible when it’s time to fill the tank. So the next time you drive through Stover, try not to hurt yourself when you do a double take at the price of gas at the Skelly station on Second Street. Although the sign in the window may read 11 cents for regular and 14 cents for super, you won’t find any petrol here. What you will find, however, is a gas station so painstakingly restored to its 1920s glory that you’d think it was still in operation. With its vibrant red, white and blue paint scheme, you’d swear that at any minute, an attendant in a crisp white uniform will step out to service your Packard or Model A, topping off your water and oil while filling your tank from one of the two “visibles” on the pump island. That’s exactly what Joe Ryan set out to accomplish when he bought the building in 2009. “It was just a dilapidated shell. It didn’t look anything like it looks now,” says Joe, who has lived in the Stover area for nearly a decade. “Now, it looks pretty much like it did when Gerd Tietjen, the original owner, opened up in 1928.” The Skelly station is the latest in a series of restoration projects the 65-year-old has completed across Missouri during his lifetime. He began cultivating his love for old structures as a young man serving his country during the Cold War. After growing up in Norwood in Wright County, Joe joined the Navy and spent four years aboard the USS Tigrone, a World War II-era diesel-electric submarine that was in Tokyo’s harbor when the Japanese surrendered. While he says much of his time was spent in the north Atlantic Ocean keeping tabs on Soviet vessels, he did spend time in the Mediterranean Sea, which allowed him to tour many European cities. “I’d travel around on leave and visit all the old churches and other buildings, all the Gothic stuff,” Joe says. “I loved it.” After leaving active duty, Joe settled in Massachusetts, remaining in the Navy reserves for another 10 years. Here, he found himself as enam• ored with the architecture of New England as he had that of Europe. Joe eventually made his way back to Missouri where he began his own construction business in Kansas City. His specialty was remodeling and restoring older homes. He’d fix them up, live in them for a while and then move on to the next project. Among his favorite projects was a turn-of-the-century farmhouse he restored near Plattsburg. His biggest project, however, was an 1889 Victorian mansion on Gladstone Boulevard in Kansas City, about a mile from downtown. With 2,200 square feet per floor, this behemoth had everything — parlors, living rooms, dining rooms, even a 1,520-square-foot ballroom. “I spent 10 years restoring that house,” Joe says. “I have no idea how much money I put into it.” Whatever the figure, others took notice of Joe’s skill. In 1995, a knock at the door brought an unexpected surprise all the way from Hollywood. “Robert Altman, the movie director who did ‘M*A*S*H’ was in town to do his next movie, ‘Kansas City,’ and they decided they wanted While Joe Ryan doesn’t keep regular hours at his restored Skelly gas station in downtown Stover, the 65-yearold is never far away and is always willing to answer questions from those who stop by to take a look. Restoring Stover Joe Ryan is bringing life back to Stover’s Second Street to use my house in the film,” Joe recalls. “We worked it all out, and I even got to be an extra in the movie. You’d never be able to pick me out, but I’m in there.” Joe and his significant other, Susan Ryan, decided to retire to the Lake of the Ozarks near Buffalo Creek Winery, but after a brief time on the lake, they moved to Stover, buying a 1904 farm house at the west end of Second Street. After remodeling the house to his likStover ing and restoring the barn, Joe found himself sitting around with nothing much to do. An e-mail from an old friend sparked an idea. “He sent me this message with pictures of restored gas stations, about a dozen of them,” Joe recalls. “It got me thinking that maybe I should buy the old station downtown and fix it up.” Joe admits that, growing up in Norwood, he doesn’t remember Skelly gas, so he did extensive research on the company as he restored the building. He found gas pumps at auctions and refurbished them. Everything that could be salvaged and restored — from the original wood trim around the doors and windows to the fixtures holding the red and blue light bulbs along the roof soffit — Joe put back into working order. “There was 80 years worth of paint on the trim,” he says. “When the inspectors came around and told them they needed to clean the place up a bit, they just put on another coat of paint.” The final touch was to fill the station with as much Skelly memorabilia as Joe could find, from calendars and signs to road maps and oil cans. Besides keeping Joe busy, the restoration project has had an unexpected, but positive, impact on Stover. Though it doesn’t employ anyone, Joe says the Skelly station has really brought back some life to Second Street. “It’s been a real galvanizing situation for the town,” says Susan, who operates Turtle Cove Coffee House & Wine Bar that sits along Highway 52 in town. “Now, whenever there’s an event downtown, like Stover Fest or the Christmas parade, it’s the center of activity. The town loves it.” In fact, last year the Stover Chamber of Commerce recognized Joe for his efforts with a plaque that’s now hanging in the gas station. However, he’s not through yet. Joe’s next project is already underway just down the street from the station. He’s restoring the old Osage Theater, which when completed will include both the original ticket booth window and a brand-new lighted marquee. Joe plans to show classic movies on Friday and Saturday nights, with a matinee for children on Saturdays. In the process of obtaining the building, Joe helped three other businesses get started. He says he hopes the theater will further Stover’s ongoing revitalization. “The town was just drying up. It was dying. After the restaurant closed and the tavern closed, there was nothing left in town at night,” he says. “Now, there’s traffic in town again, and there’s been other people that have brought business into town. It’s really given the town a boost.” You may contact Joe by writing to 612 W. Second St., Stover, MO 65078, or joeryan8@windstream.net. 36 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - June 2011

Rural Missouri - June 2011
Contents
Comments
Columns
In the beginning
The Missouri Lyon hunt
Mail Bag
Beaver Creek Paylake & Fish Fry
Out of the Way Eats
Drowned
Hearth and Home
News Briefs
In the middle of everywhere
Marketplace
Around Missouri
Restoring Stover
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - June 2011

http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202003
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202002
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202001
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201912
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201911
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201909
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201908
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201907
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201906
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201905
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201904
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201903
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201902
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201901
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201812
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201811
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201810
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201809
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201808
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201807
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201806
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201805
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201804
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201803
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201802
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201801
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201712
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201711
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201710
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201709
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201707
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201706
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201705
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201704
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201703
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201702
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201701
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201612
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201611
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201610
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201609
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201608
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201607
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201606
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201605
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201604
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201603
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201602
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201601
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201512
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201511
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201510
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201509
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201508
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201507
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201505
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201504
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201503
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201502
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201501
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201412
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201411
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201410
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201409
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201408
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201407
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201406
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201405
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201404
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201403
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201402
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201401
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201312
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201311
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201310
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201309
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201308
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201307
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201306
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201305
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201303
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201302
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201301
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201212
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201211
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201210
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201209
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201208
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201207
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201206
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201205
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201204
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201203
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201202
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201201
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201111
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201110
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201109
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201108
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201107
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201106
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201105
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201104
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/videotest
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201103
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201101
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201012
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201011
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201010
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com