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BY MIKE AVITT
This is one of those businesses that I had information on, but no picture. That ended last week when John McGilvrey allowed me to use his photo for this article.
Dave Neptune was so popular, he was featured in the June 12, 1896 Twice-A-Week News shortly after coming to Mt. Ayr from Chariton. The newspaper stated Mr. Neptune could fix anything from a needle to a threshing machine. His first repair shop was located about 116 N. Taylor Street.
Neptune’s success continued and he was located about 200 N. Taylor when he decided to build a fire-proof garage next to the alley in the 200 block of W. Madison.
Work on the new repair shop started in April 1912 and was finished by July. The cement block building was 44’ x 60’ and called Mt. Ayr Auto Company. The location was the southwest corner of the lots Mount Ayr’s post office sits on today.
In September 1914, the firm was leased to S. L. Frazier. Neptune retained ownership of the building. Frazier added electricity to his business in October 1915.
In August 1916, W. Guyer Fisher bought Dave Neptune’s building and called his new repair shop Safety First Garage. Employees included John Markley and Guyer’s brother Orr Fisher.
Guyer sold the business to John P. Drake in September 1918. Drake then sold the garage to Harold “Shorty” Davis and Andy Yashack in September 1919. A November 2, 1921 Record-News newspaper announces Davis and Yashack have added a ten-gallon gas pump to their garage.
In October and November 1939, the Davis Garage building was torn down to make way for the new Mount Ayr Post Office. Harold Davis relocated to 110 W. Adams Street. Davis stayed here until retiring in, probably, the early 1970s. Syd Comer had a welding business at the former Davis Shop beginning in December 1976.
Now, a little more about the photo. “Harold Davis Garage,” is painted on the window glass, so Yashack was out of the business by 1936. Hopefully, you can see the statue of a white bird on top of the gas pump. This indicates the garage sold White Eagle Gasoline, a company that was connected to the Standard Oil Co.
Also, the building on the immediate right was the veterinary office of Dr. E. C. Sheumaker, who had erected his building in 1913. That building was razed in 1939, too.
Dr. Sheumaker relocated to 113 S. Fillmore, the current location of Tyler Insurance. Thanks, again, to John McGilvrey for a wonderful picture.