Shell Station

August 25, 2020
The array of businesses at the southeast corner of California and 5th streets were once home to a Shell service station as early as the 1920s owned by R.A. Childers and R. McKee. Although Jacksonville was becoming a backwater, “automobile-ing” was popular and the town even boasted a “car camp” where you could park and sleep overnight. The station was subsequently sold to Otto Heckert, and in 1950, Liz Shrout Legg Pursell and her first husband, Dick Legg, purchased the Shell station. Liz helped run the gas station, doing whatever was needed: picking up and delivering customers’ cars, chasing parts, doing the books, etc. The gas station (and liquor store) became known as the last stop heading out of town. The Leggs closed it when Rasmussen’s gas station opened less than a block away at the southeast corner of California and 4th street. The Leggs divorced. Liz joined the post office and became Jacksonville postmistress before retiring. Always a community activist, she especially focused on creating a Jacksonville Community Center and served as Secretary of its board until the new center opened. Liz passed away on July 9th at age 95. We will miss this longtime Jacksonville “fixture” who has been so much a part of its history.