Dave Bakke of the Springfield (Ill.) Journal-Register has a great feature about The Old Station in the Route 66 town of Williamsville, Ill.
The owner is Frank Kohlrus, and it sounds like he’s quite a character:
He sells Route 66 memorabilia at his unique Williamsville shop, The Old Station. He also drove a tow truck in Springfield for more than 20 years. He sharpens blades, sells tires and about anything else, changes flats, welds, hauls grain in the fall, buys and sells mowers, does machine work and sand blasting, among a few other things. If it makes a buck or two, Frank’s there. […]
The first unusual thing you might see at The Old Station is the truck, half of it anyway, coming out of the front wall. The truck is for sale, “half off.” Get it?
Or you might first notice Betty Boop, painted by Frank’s wife, Jackie, on the front door. Pictures of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean are inside. Ah yes, inside. There you will find pipes (the smoking kind), bolts, handles, toy trucks, vintage soda bottles, lots of merchandise with Route 66 on it, thousands of things Frank has scavenged, traded for or bought over the years.
It’s “a little bit of everything,” says Frank, who, when asked what he does for a living says — guess what? “A little bit of everything.”
Sounds like Frank fits in with the Mother Road quite well.
The interesting part is Frank’s business saw an uptick when Patty Kuhn of the Route 66 Heritage Project led a charge to have the old alignment of Route 66 through town marked with signs better. It’s more proof that signage makes a big difference in tourism traffic.