Former gas station has an interesting history

If these walls could talk, what tales they could tell of customers filling up gas tanks, needing air in the tires, then the parade of people who rented it and laughter, love and even death.

The house at 280 1/2 Muskingum Drive definitely has seen better days, when it originally was built as a gas station in the early 1930s.

Behind the gas station is a two-story blue house – the original 280 Muskingum Drive.

This was the place Hilda Leora Mulinex Schneeberger called home for nearly 30 years until her death, according to the home’s current ower, Phyllis Spires.

According to information from the Washington County Public Library’s Local History and Genealogy Department, the original gas station was likely the Lone Pine Service Station. In the 1940 census, Finley O. Roach was listed as a service station proprietor. His obituary stated he was with Standard Oil for 30 years.

Harry Fitzgerald, 83, of 119 Rathbone Road, remembers that block of Muskingum Drive had a few gas stations, including two owned by his father.

Fitzgerald said Harry Schuff, a contractor, built both buildings and operated the gas station. Schuff also helped to other buildings around town, including the Women’s Home on Third Street, which opened in 1885.

Schuff was a large German man with a booming voice, and he used to scare the children, Fitzgerald said. His grandchildren, Dick and Dave Schuff, would visit during the summers. All the children in the neighborhood would play “Kick the Can” in street, in the days before all the heavy, tractor-trailer traffic.

“Those were the days,” Fitzgerald said.

Spires, of 2667 Indian Run Road, has owned the house for at least 20 years. She bought it from former Marietta Times editor Andy Elliott, who was known for his love of baseball and founding the Bantam Baseball League in 1949. He died Oct. 31, 1995.

Perhaps the home’s longest resident was Schneeburger, who no doubt kept a warm, comfortable home in the former gas station as her obituary stated she loved quilting, flower gardening and crafting. She lived in the building for about 30 years until her death Nov. 19, 1995. The building had been converted into a duplex after a gas station no longer was needed there, probably after 1963. Polk’s City Directory lists Bryon’s Shell Service Station at 280 1/2 Muskingum Drive.

Spires said she made some repairs, including a new roof, new water line and new gas line.

She’s tried to do more of the necessary renovations or repairs throughout the years, but she said she cannot find anyone to do the work. She said she wants to raze the house behind since it fell into disrepair at the hands of a family of renters. However, the mortgage company won’t allow that.

Spires said she’s very unhappy about the condition of the building. She said she would like to fix the place up and live there herself, but she’s pretty particular.

The building is a two-story structure covered in stucco paint in brown with trim painted with a much darker brown. Still dominating the building is the traditional portico supported by archways. The concrete pad still exists at the front of the portico on which one or two gas pumps stood. The gas pumps might have been of the variety that contained clear glass vessel on top with markings to show how much gasoline had been dispensed by each customer. More than likely, the top of each pump had a frosted glass lamp displaying the brand or type of gas. The archways still have the outlets for a light to dangle from each archway. Inside, the building has two apartments-one upstairs and one downstairs.

“I enjoy this place, but I have to sell,” Spires said. “I love history. Would you call this a landmark? I like stuff like that.”