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Posted By: the poor mans museum HELPING THE HOBBY?!?!?!? - Thu Jul 28 2005 05:02 PM
Helping the Hobby
By Curt Cragg

Several months ago I found myself getting wrapped up in debates about “repops verses originals” or the value of un-restored pumps, or “Is “profit” a dirty word” here on Oldgas. My objective was often to interject humor (and sometimes sarcasm) into the subjects for the sake of a laugh and to try to get people to lighten up a bit. Sometimes this was met with appreciation and sometimes people were offended.

Now before you get worked up because you think that I’m picking on you, realize that there is a moral to this story relative to my own experience and this is not directed at anyone in particular. I’m just relating my experience for the benefit of all of us.

At the prompting or perhaps chiding of another Oldgas member I realized that what I was really doing was “stirring the pot” and in some cases fomenting the debate which wasn’t really helping anything or anyone. It certainly wasn’t doing anything to promote or support my passion for collecting roadside relics.

Coincidentally, it was about this time that I was visiting Mark Mendenhall and he showed me a picture of Highway 101 running through the town of Buellton in the 1940’s. I was intrigued by the “who’s who” of service stations which promoted me to go looking for more pictures.

At the time I had no idea how far this search would lead and what kind of results it would bring about. One of the places that I started my search was the Buellton Historical Society, which is basically a small room that houses a small collection accumulated mostly by one person over the last 13 years. Fortunately she has done a good job and there were many interesting photographs available to add to my collection.

As it turned out this was only the beginning or what I now call “A Petroholics Journey of Discovery”. Those that have followed Oldgas know that I eventually wrote some stories and posted pictures of these old stations on this site. At the prompting of some of the Oldgas readers I submitted the stories to the local newspaper. The paper published the stories and now I write a bi-weekly column about local history, which often includes service stations.

But that was really just the beginning.

And before I lose you, the point I’m trying to make is that several months ago I made a decision based on the input of people I respected and my own perception of how I was contributing to this site, to do something constructive and really “Help the Hobby” in my own way.

The outcome of that change in attitude has far exceeded my expectations.

My collection of local service station images soon grew to include local diners, motor courts and motels since some of these had service stations as well. I soon had more images in my collection than any of the local historical societies, including pictures that had not been seen locally before, as they were from archived or private collections.
Posted By: the poor mans museum Re: HELPING THE HOBBY?!?!?!? - Thu Jul 28 2005 05:04 PM
Another coincidence occurred a few months ago. I was visiting the Santa Ynez Historical Society in my quest for pictures and discovered that they were in the process of creating an exhibit to celebrate the 85th birthday of Buellton. Their collection of Buellton images was small and by then I had collected several hundred pictures as well as a wealth of local historical information about the development of the Coast Highway through town.

I offered to help them in their endeavor, knowing that it could ultimately benefit me in my quest for more pictures. Initially my involvement was going to be telling the story of the service stations and the race track in Buellton. That quickly expanded to include the story of the highway, the motels, diners and Andersen’s Pea Soup. After several months of hard work our exhibit opened on July 10th, coincidentally the same weekend as Jack Mendenhall’s memorial service.
I had planned on dedicating the racing exhibit to Jack months before, not knowing how grave his condition was at the time. Fortunately this proved to be a fitting tribute to one of our local legends and a timely one at that. Our exhibit attracted the largest crowd for an opening that the museum has ever seen, which was interesting since Buellton was the last town established in the area and considered by some to be the least historically significant.

So now that you’re convinced that I’m an egomaniac that only likes to brag about my accomplishments, let me get back to my point. None of this would have come about were it not for this site and the encouragement offered by some of our members. I was motivated to do something constructive as a result of understanding that what I was contributing here was sometimes “destructive” or at least not productive.

Far beyond being able to share some stories of local interest on Oldgas, I have been able to contribute something positive and productive to my community, all because of an interest in gas stations and memorabilia.

When I first visited this site I was not a writer, I could not even post pictures. I knew very little about service station history or local history. I had never helped create a museum display or anything like it. By profession I am a general contractor and a real estate broker.

So here’s the real point. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you do, or how much knowledge or money you have. You can contribute something positive and productive to this site, to Petroliana, and perhaps ultimately your community because of your hobby.

There is certainly nothing wrong with getting involved in a discussion here. That’s the beauty of this site. You don’t have to wait a month for your next issue. You can offer up your opinions and ideas daily if you like. All I suggest is that when you do, think about whether and how you really are “Helping the Hobby” as well as respecting the other members ideas and opinions.
Posted By: Bob Richards Re: HELPING THE HOBBY?!?!?!? - Thu Jul 28 2005 05:46 PM
Well said! I know for my own part you have given me something to think about in reguards to my own little community and it's history. I live in a planed city. In 1923 a Lumber Baron came to this bend in the Columbia River and built a town (Longview, WA) and at the time the world's largest saw mill. Long-Bell is now gone, but the timbers from her drying sheds now make up the beams in the Tacoma Dome ( world's largest wooden dome structure) and are in the lakeside home of Bill Gates. I will do some checking of my local "gas" history. Thanks for the insight to Buellton and the great trips down memmory lane.
Posted By: SODAMAMAK Re: HELPING THE HOBBY?!?!?!? - Thu Jul 28 2005 06:37 PM
I know i am new to posting here on old-gas, but, over the past 7 years, i have been on this site frequently and learned a great many things from so many people by just reading all of your post, sharing stories, and all the old photos of "how it used to look". What a great site this is to help so many people share there stories, time, and friendship to help fellow old-gassers out. I for one, appreciate all of you that helped me, and don't even know it. a BIG thanks to all of you.
Posted By: Thunder Re: HELPING THE HOBBY?!?!?!? - Fri Jul 29 2005 01:12 AM
Curt. Keep up the good work.

As for myself, I really like airplanes. That led me to a museum, in Southern California, where I grew up. Before long, I was working on airplanes. Famous planes. One of the planes that I worked on, the Northrop X-4, is on display at the Air Force Museum in Dayton Ohio. Flying wings, designed by Jack Northrop. Navy attack jets, and fighter bombers. I met numerous famous people. Max Stanley, Northrop test pilot, Bud Mahiron, Korean war ace, Wrong way Corrigan, thats another story, Chuck Yeager, arrogant a**. As well as many other people significant to the aircraft industry. All of this not only lead to being crew chief on a restoration, numerous trips to China Lake Naval weapons Center, but also two speaking engagements to the Northrop Aircraft Boosters Club. And, a short stint as a structural assembly mechanic on the Northrop B-2 Bomber, both in Pico Rivera and Palmdale.

Keep up the good work! You are definitely (sp?) an asset to the hobby! And an inspiration to, at least me.

P.S. When does the book come out?
Posted By: the poor mans museum Re: HELPING THE HOBBY?!?!?!? - Fri Jul 29 2005 02:09 AM
I know you guys keep asking about "the book" and I hate to give in to the pressure, but I have signed a book contract with Arcadia Publishing www.arcadiapublishing.com and I would expect the first book on Buellton to be out before Christmas and hopefully available here on Oldgas.

There will be alot of service station photos to say the least.

Thanks for the support.
Posted By: Dick Bennett Re: HELPING THE HOBBY?!?!?!? - Fri Jul 29 2005 12:17 PM
After you become A STAR, can say WE knew him as a PUP !
Posted By: jrwienri Re: HELPING THE HOBBY?!?!?!? - Fri Jul 29 2005 01:35 PM
I hope the book deal is a winner for you but I also hope the deal does not tie up all of the wonderfull pics you regularly post on this site. Can't say I recall your bashing anyone but there is enough of it going on on this site to go around. That's probably why I keep my posts to a minimum because of it. I know others who used to frequent this site a lot more who are of the same opinion. Interestingly enough those are the guys who have been the nicest and helped me the most. That kind of mentality and greed will in the end push the youngsters like Ethan away and ultimately wreck this hobby. I know when I see a post or reply by Poorman that it will be interesting and insiteful. Keep up the great work Curt you are an asset to this hobby and site.
Kind Regards, Jeff
Posted By: the poor mans museum Re: HELPING THE HOBBY?!?!?!? - Fri Jul 29 2005 03:47 PM

With regard to the photos that I share, my philisophy about history is that it is intended to be shared with as wide a public as possible. I don't believe that I or anyone else should own these historic photos.

If someone wants to print the pictures off the internet and sell them on ebay, I suppose that's their choice. I can't imagine that they would get rich doing it.

Also, I don't believe that I have ever been a basher. I just tried to interject humor into some of the basher posts to lighten things up and sometimes people didn't take it the right way. Some people just can't take a joke!

This is a great site and anything I can do to make it better is worth the effort in my opinion.
Posted By: Lastgas15 Re: HELPING THE HOBBY?!?!?!? - Fri Jul 29 2005 04:25 PM
I want to thank everyone that makes this site great.
Jim, Hubba, Scott for moderating.
Ted, Doc, Neal, Curt, Gary, Hub for hosting our of the month features.
Everyone that answers questions or submits pictures. That's what makes this site great. There's alot of work that goes into this site to make it interesting.

In the rare event there is a negative post please contact a moderator. We'll take care of it.
Bob Drake

[This message has been edited by Lastgas15 (edited 07-29-2005).]
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