Owner, Preston's Station
The Legacy Begins
Preston’s Station legacy began 95 years ago when our Great Grandfather, George W. Preston purchased the Standard Oil station in 1923 for $100. The Station was built in 1912, one year before the Lincoln Highway was dedicated. It was originally located at the corner of 7th Avenue and 19th Street and relocated to its present location sometime in 1921 when the Lincoln Highway was rerouted. Grandpa, George H. Preston, started working in the family business at age 13 along side his father and brothers.
As visitors approach Preston’s Station driving west on the Lincoln Highway through Belle Plaine, they not only come upon Preston’s Station, but in essence they come upon Preston’s Corner; home to Preston’s Station, a three-room motel and a garage. The Station remains locked in time much as it did when it closed in 1989. As you walk onto the property, you hear Lincoln Highway lore being told by grandpa and dad, Ronald. I am almost certain some of the stories are urban legend but only grandpa and dad know the truth. As grandpa said many times, “if you don’t believe me go ask Blanche.”
Grandpa started 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 signs; he filled it with one of a-kind items, while filling the building next to the station as well. The collected items, which most would throw away but grandpa’s intuition told him otherwise. Grandpa said he only once threw something out, a radio, but a few years later the same radio made its way back to him, and without a doubt it is someplace on the property.
After grandpa passed in 1993, dad became the caretaker. Dad had a keen sense of the importance the property played in history not only with the Lincoln Highway, but also with Belle Plaine. Dad had the same passion and intuition grandpa did and continued collecting memorabilia until he passed away in 2011. I honestly don’t know who collect more, grandpa or dad.
Continuing The Legacy
My husband, Garry and I are fourth generation owners and operators of Preston’s Station and are dedicated to preserving the legacy which began in 1923. Preston’s Station Historic District will remain in our family and intact.
We are working with Ryan Prochaska, Prairie Rivers of Iowa, the Iowa Lincoln Highway Association and Lincoln Highway Association, city of Belle Plaine, Belle Plaine Historical Society and Belle Plaine Community Development Corporation to preserve Preston’s for all generations to appreciate and be inspired by the past.
Preston’s Station Historic District is a 501(c)3. Our mission is to preserve and restore Preston’s Station Historic District while raising awareness and drawing visitors to Preston’s Station, Belle Plaine and the Lincoln Highway becoming a viable economic resource to the City of Belle Plaine.
Your support is important to us to be able to continue our work. We appreciate your interest and support of Preston’s Station Historic District.
Mary Helen and Garry
Preston’s Station Historic District
402 13th Street
Belle Plaine, IA 52208
Cell 816-868-3336 (Mary Helen’s)