JOHN SPLITT holds a 7-Up sign dated 
November 1945 that used to be on the
screen door of the “Old Stone 
Church” gas station at County
Road E and Prairie Road,
where his grandfather
once tended bar.
Ian Stepleton photo
JOHN SPLITT holds a 7-Up sign dated November 1945 that used to be on the screen door of the “Old Stone Church” gas station at County Road E and Prairie Road, where his grandfather once tended bar. Ian Stepleton photo

     A FEW WEEKS AGO, I  asked a simple question.

     Why? Why are things the way they are in Ripon?

     ... One of my greatest curiosities of the whole column was about a single building just south of town. As I wrote:

     “Why don’t I know more about the history of the old gas station out off County Road E south of Ripon? OK, you can’t answer that, but I’d love to know more about that picturesque stone structure.”

     ... Long-time resident Red Smith filled me in.

     ... He gave me a little scare at first.

     “[I’m calling about] a little stone church south of Ripon on E that you referred to as a ‘filling station,’ ” he said when I took the call.

     Wait, what? Stone “church?”

     Red must have been laughing to himself at my reaction.

     “The one out on County E?” I asked.

     “Yeah, and Prairie Road,” he agreed.

     “I was always told that was a gas station. Was I wrong?”

     “It was a filling station, and a bar,”  Red clarified.

     Wait, what? Is it a church, a gas station or a bar?

     That’s when Red explained ...

     To read the entire column, see the Aug. 29, 2019 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.