Fill’er Up—Stick’em Up

America’s First Gas Station

In Saint Louis, the Automobile Gasoline Company, a subsidiary of Shell of California is credited for opening what people generally consider to be the first purpose-built U.S. gas station. The year was 1905. At these early stations, shopkeepers would fill a five-gallon can from behind the store and bring it to the customer’s car to fill it. Before gas stations, auto owners would routinely get gas from hardware stores or street vendors. Gas was sold for 27¢/gallon. Adjusting for inflation (a dollar in 1905 would be worth $33.73 today), that 1905 era price should translate to a current price of about $9.10/gallon, which is almost three times what gasoline is going for now. So, quit complaining about high gas prices. It should be much worse.

Trick-or-treating on Monday for Halloween was a pretty muted affair. It had rained or misted almost all day, ending only just prior to sunset. Things in the neighborhood were way more exciting earlier in the day. It began in Sunset Hills, one of the 90+ municipalities in Saint Louis County. Sunset Hills, which is about ten miles from us in West County, last made the police blotter when its then current mayor harassed some cyclist, ramming one with his car. This cyclist had filmed the event and the mayor soon became the ex-mayor of Sunset Hills.

Four men allegedly carjacked a woman’s vehicle. This car was apparently LoJacked, because the woman’s son was able to follow the men on his phone. While they were passing our neighborhood, the son who had pursued them, rearended his mother’s car, right in front of our city’s police station. The four men jumped out of the car and fled on foot. The son shot one of the four men in the leg and the police managed to capture three of the four men. There is some question as to whether the shooting was justified, although guns were later found in the carjacked vehicle. Anne was alerted to these goings on via Facebook and warned me about them while I was out at the store. We filled in the details of this story by later watching the evening news. Also, via Facebook, she learned that the nearby elementary school, where Anne had once taught was in lockdown, but that was only because the teachers there were conducting active shooter drills as part of their professional development. 

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