Collection: James Whitlow
Source: Digital Camera
Budgie Little’s Service Station Today
James and I recently had the privilege of a private tour of Budgie Little’s Service Station courtesy of Budgie’s son Dennis Little. Dennis’ daughter Kim was also there that day. Budgie’s father bought the gas station in 1945 and it has been in the family ever since.
If you’ve been in this station buying gas, purchasing fishing licenses, worms, crickets, or cold sodas since the 1940s, it has absolutely not changed a bit. It is a living time capsule that brings back instant memories of my youth. I grew up right behind this station on Annie Street until the 5th grade, then moved a few blocks away on Lawrence, so spent lots of time in the bottom part of the station.
I never had the fortune to be upstairs before the other day, but did not realize how large it was. There are 10 separate apartments upstairs with 2 community bathrooms on the west end. The walls are all plaster and the building’s inner walls and floors are constructed of steel and concrete covered with plaster. It is rock-solid and there are no cracks in the walls even though the railroad track is just across the road.
In the early 1900s, this block had another 2-story building at the same location called the Eagle Hotel. In the late 1920s, the Eagle Hotel was owned by T. R. Robins. Robins sold the lot to Jacob E. Ring and he built the present building also in the late 1920s. The upstairs was equipped with ten private apartments with separate bathrooms at the end of the hall.
J. B. Little purchased the building in 1945 and his son, Budgie Little, took over the business in 1956 until recent health issues required him to close.