A Tankful of History

Note – This article is about the almost completed, brand new Service Station Exhibit in the Town Square. One important piece is missing though – a gas station served trucks!  The Museum needs your help to #BringHomeTheTruck – keep reading to discover how one lonely gas station changed the face of Buffalo Grove.

As long as there have been cars, there have been gas stations, and in the early 1930s, Buffalo Grove got a station all its own.


Located on what would one day be [exact address of Boston Market on 83], the Welter Service station was the only commercial stop for miles in any direction. The building itself was originally a part of St. Mary’s rectory, but was detached and sent down the road when the rectory was remodeled. Surrounding it was farmland, open fields, and not a lot else – Buffalo Grove was known back then as the dairy supply for Chicago.


Meet Frank Welter, b. 1887, and his wife Josephine Hoenner, b. 1893. They opened this lonely gas station in the early 1930s, and would have served the cars and gas-powered farming equipment of the entire county. In their shop, patrons could by a few things, cigarettes, cans of oil, the occasional toy, but for the most part would have to make the additional trip to the Weidner General Store for supplies. Unlike today’s busy shopping malls and commercial buildings lining Route 83, fueling the truck or purchasing train tickets would have been quite the event.


As you can see from this GoogleMap image, Buffalo Grove has grown a bit. Like many suburbs and cities across the country, gas stations have sprung up on one (if not all four) corners of many major intersections. They fit into our daily commutes and schedules without much thought – driving longer than 10 minutes to fuel the old pickup is today’s ‘inconvenient trip.’

One fill’er’up in a county may seem inconvenient today, but Frank Welter’s station was a critical step in the development of Buffalo Grove. The eight years that the Welter station operated saw a plethora of changes in its time: this lonely little station paved the way for more domestic settlements, made travelling downtown for work and fun more feasible, and allowed for greater variety of consumer goods; now supply trucks could make the trip out from the major supply routes, refill and be on their way again. Big impact from a little station!

After Frank and Josephine closed the station, the building once again changed professions. Having gone from rectory to homestead gas station, it then became the home of the Welters’ youngest daughter Gladys and local barber Ed Gerschefske. After they married in June of 1943, they moved into the old service station and operated a barbershop together.


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Help #fuelthetruck with #TruckBucks! Donate to the Friends of the Park HERE (Designate to the Raupp Museum!) and complete the exhibit – Let’s bring the truck home!

Today, gas stations have cropped up at most major intersections, and fit into our daily travel paths and schedules without much thought – but this way of life was only possible after the first stations paved the way. Help us preserve this important piece of Buffalo Grove’s History!

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Press Play: History has a Soundtrack


The museum’s temp exhibit is ready for viewing in the lower gallery. “Press Play: history has a soundtrack” features a brief history and science of sound and music. Learn about how hearing and radios work. Find out which President released a record album and more.

The exhibit will be up through June 2016.


New Exhibit: Buffalo Tales


P1090579The new temporary exhibit in the lower gallery is now officially open. Discover Buffalo Grove’s seldom told history, mysteries, and folk lore.

See the oldest object in the museum and find out how a local snake made national headlines. We also settle once and for all whether or not Buffalo actually grazed in the area. This exhibit runs through April 30. As always, museum admission is free.

You’ve got mail

Do you, perchance, practice deltiology? If so, then this is certainly a big week for you! It is National Postcard Week, as any good deltiologist would know. The study and collection of postcards likely began with the establishment of the first postal service. In 1873, plain pre-stamped “mailed cards” with address on one side and a message on the other, began finding their way into the US mail.. Since they were considered mundane pieces of mail, only a few survive today.

P1080817Picture postcards debuted at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago to extreme fanfare.  Collecting, mailing and trading postcards as a hobby took off. Lithography, photography, and printing companies could hardly meet public demand. At the height of their popularity in 1908, over 677 million were mailed in the US alone! Some were specially printed for holidays or businesses, but many were specific to a locale, anywhere from Chicago’s public swimming pools to Egypt’s private pyramids.

Today the postcard seem a little quaint compared to the technologically sophisticated, real-time social media options, but the postcard still remains relevant in its own right. As long as people still enjoy sending and receiving snail-mail greetings from distant places, postcards will live to see another day. Just ask any of the 500,000 members of the internet deltiology club “Postcrossing.”

Stop by the museum to check out the picture postcards on display in the main gallery or share some of your own on the museum’s Facebook page.

Junior FLL Celebration at the museum

Jr.FLL_Poster_2013The museum is excited to host a Junior First Lego League expo event again this year. The Junior FLL is a youth program to foster interest in science and innovation by designing Lego robot models to solve real-life problems.

The museum will be hosting the Lego robotics celebration on Saturday, April 12 from 10-12.00 showcasing robots and project demonstrations from local teams from area that participated in the Disaster Blaster challenge this year.

If your team is interested in signing up, more info can be found in the registration packet below or by contacting Debbie at DFandrei@bgparks.org. Registration and a $30 team fee (covers certificates and medals for each team member) is required for participation. If you’re just interested in seeing neat Lego robotics, this event is free and does not require registration so just stop in and check it out!

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New Town Square Crossroads exhibit

After a permit mishap delayed construction back in October, the museum can proudly announce installation of the new town square exhibit is nearly done! The official opening celebration is scheduled for Saturday, March 8 from 1 to 4 PM. We have refreshments, activities and giveaways planned for the event. No need to RSVP, just come over!

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