As told by family lore, the legacy of Preston’s Station began in 1923 when my great grandfather, George W. Preston purchased a Standard Oil station for $100 for his 4 sons to operate.
The Station was built in 1912 by Frank Fiene, one year before the Lincoln Highway was dedicated. Originally, Preston's Station was located at the corner of 7th Avenue and 19th Street in Belle Plaine. The Station was relocated to its present location at the corner of 4th Avenue and 13th Street, around 1927, when the Lincoln Highway was rerouted through Belle Plaine.
After the Lincoln Highway was rerouted north of Belle Plaine to US 30, The Station continued operation until 1989, becoming a prominent landmark not just for Belle Plaine, but also for the Lincoln Highway.
As visitors approach Preston’s, driving west on the Historic Lincoln Highway through Belle Plaine, they not only arrive at Preston’s, but in essence come upon Preston’s Corner, home to the famous Preston's Station, a three-room motel and garage/roadside museum.
My grandfather, George H. Preston, began covering The Station with a variety of old advertising and road signs as a way to preserve history. Not only did he cover The Station with road signs, he filled the garage next to it, with one-of-a-kind items. The saying, "One man's trash is another man's treasure" holds true for both grandpa and my dad, Ronald. It's hard to tell who collected more.
The Station remains locked in time, much as it did when it closed in 1989. As you walk onto the property, you hear stories of Belle Plaine and the Lincoln Highway being told by grandpa and dad. We are almost certain some of the stories are urban legends, but only grandpa and dad know the truth of their stories. As grandpa said many times, “If you don’t believe me, go ask Blanche (my grandma).”
Grandpa's storytelling even got him on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1990. Grandpa would talk about anything to anyone who would listen. His passion was to keep the history of Belle Plaine and the Lincoln Highway alive.
Dad was just as passionate and dedicated to preserving the history of Belle Plaine and the Lincoln Highway as grandpa.
My husband, Garry and I, are fourth generation owners of Preston’s Station. We're dedicated to preserving The Legacy. Preston’s Station is remaining in our family and intact. Preston's has been an important gathering place in Belle Plaine and along the Lincoln Highway since the early 1920s. My grandpa was one-of-a-kind, having passion like none other to share the history of Belle Plaine and the Lincoln Highway. Dad was just like grandpa in his passion to continue and build The Legacy. The Legacy continues with our passion and involvement to preserve Preston's for all generations to appreciate and be inspired by the past.