Rasmussen’s Super Serve

October 23, 2018

For most Jacksonville residents, the northeast corner of California and 3rd streets has always been home to Rasmussen’s Super Serve. Established by Ernest Rasmussen in 1950 as a combination gas station and car repair shop, the gas station portion has long been closed but Ernest’s grandson Steve still operates the popular local repair service. However, that corner has an older history of servicing local transportation needs. David Cronemiller, a native of Pennsylvania, arrived in Jacksonville in the early 1860s, and opened a blacksmith shop on that site in competition with the successful Patrick Donegan smithy diagonally across California Street. Business must have been booming since Cronemiller’s original smithy was soon replaced by a large, well-equipped blacksmith and wagon shop. He was described as “an excellent mechanic,” “always kept busy by satisfied patrons.” Donegan had closed shop by the late 1800s but Cronemiller continued to operate successfully until 1904 when his health began to fail. Cronemiller died in 1910, mourned by many for both his “honest and upright” nature and “his gentle forbearing ways.” Cronemiller’s smithy and wagon shop were torn down in 1929.