If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Please enter your email and we will send your username and password to you.
BY MIKE AVITT
The Conoco station was closed on August 11, 1998 when this photo was taken. The event was a fund-raising car wash to pay for a trip to the Fiesta Bowl. Korbie Rinehart, Shannon Norris, Josh Rusk, Rachel Derscheid, Megan Petersohn, and Josh Smith performed in the Fiesta Bowl football game in 1999 on behalf of the Southwest Iowa Honor Marching Band.
In the summer of 1939, Earl Dugan hired Leonard Rusk to build a Conoco Station on the new route of Highway 3 (2) in Mt. Ayr. Dugan had previously operated a service station on Monroe Street in Mount Ayr. Harold Webb bought that station when Dugan moved to the highway.
The new Conoco Station opened the second week of October and formal opening was held October 28, 1939. Additions were built onto the station but I don’t know when.
Ed Mercer had married Earl’s only daughter, Helen, on May 9, 1936. Ed began working for his father-in-law when Earl was still on Monroe Street and, in 1955, Mr. Mercer would be the next owner of Dugan’s Conoco.
On February 1, 1978, Gerald Summa and Bill Stull leased Dugan’s Conoco from Ed Mercer as Ed retired. Gerald and Bill had worked together for many years at the station and would have a few more years there.
In December 1990, another change took place. Don Sickels retired, creating an opening for Bill Stull. Stull became the manager of the MFA plant and bulk tank driver. Gerald Summa would stay on at the service station but there would be a name change; Dugan’s Conoco became Dugan’s Service. I’m guessing the station was now selling MFA fuels and products.
On February 1, 1998, Lynn Rinehart bought Dugan’s Service from Helen Mercer and Gerald Summa left the firm on May 2, 1998. The station continued to operate selling only gas with no tire or repair services until May 30. At this time, Lynn began offering limited hours for full-service gasoline at his Texaco station next door.
In 1970-71, when I had my Des Moines Tribune newspaper route, I stopped at Dugan’s every weekday to have a Pepsi. I remember wondering why Pepsi was sold out of a Coca-Cola machine. I also remembered Ed, Bill, and Gerald. My last memory of Dugan’s is seeing Rev. Charles Wieman, Eldon Dillenburg, and Gerald Summa working the driveway. And, of course, they washed my windshield.