Preston’s Gas Station

All Rights Reserved Megan Bannister

All Rights Reserved Megan Bannister

A few weekends back on an abnormally warm January Sunday, a friend and I hopped in the car in search of some roadside adventure. We headed northeast of Des Moines to the stretch of the Lincoln Highway that runs through Belle Plaine to check off the first item on my 2015 bucket list.

Preston’s Gas Station embodies everything I love about road trips and that irresistibly kitschy sense of Americana. For any traveler—Lincoln Highway lover or not—this is a great detour for a photo opp and roadside time warp.And be on the lookout for some quality 1950s-era advertising—my favorite was a small sign that read, “If you must drink and drive… Drink Pepsi!”

A bit of history about Preston’s Gas Station

According to the Lincoln Highway News, George Preston first began working at the Belle Plaine gas station in 1923 when he was 13. Later he purchased the property for $100 and was operational until 1989. When George passed away in 1993, the corner station was preserved by his son, Ronald, until his passing in 2011.

While I wasn’t able to find much about the station since then, the Lincoln Highway News wrote in 2012 that the Lincoln Highway Association and Belle Plaine Historical Society were working to preserve the site for travelers for years to come.

Preston’s Gas Station, 1301 4th Avenue in Belle Plaine, Iowa

All Rights Reserved Megan Bannister

All Rights Reserved Megan Bannister

All Rights Reserved Megan Bannister

All Rights Reserved Megan Bannister

All Rights Reserved Megan Bannister

All Rights Reserved Megan Bannister

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Comments (2)

George Preston was my great uncle, on my dad’s side. As a kid, my mom, dad,brothers,sister, and I would visit him and Blanch at the station and house. He would shower us with pop, candy, and ice cream. He was probably the nicest man I’ve ever known. Always happy. My dad grew up in Belle Plaine, so they were very close. The first time he was supposed to be on the Carson show, he was bumped by Buster Douglas after he beat Mike Tyson. I remember him telling my grandma that he would go on the Carson show after his eyes got better. I had hoped he would not wait too long. He was a HOOT!

How wonderful! What a marvelous memory. Thanks so much for sharing!

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