There was sadness, but mostly good memories shared by those who watched the demolition of Trailways Cafe in Montevideo on Monday morning.
The cafe, located at the junction of highways 7/59 and West 212, had been a popular dining spot since 1962. Trailways and the gas station closed for business on May 29.
Participating in the “ceremonial destruction” by pushing levers on the heavy equipment were Jack Bittner, Curt Hanson, Juni Weckwerth and Jim and Cheryl Curtiss — all people with long-time ties to Trailways.
Bittner was the original owner of the cafe and truckstop when it opened in September of 1962.
Hanson leased the gas station under the name of Curt’s Direct Service from its opening until September of 1986. Hanson recalled that the price of regular gas in August of 1962 was 31 cents per gallon. It was a full-service station, with Hanson and his employees washing windshields and checking oil levels and tire pressure. Hanson’s first regular trucking customer was from Billings, Mont.
Weckwerth said it took his eight-man Weckwerth Construction crew several months to build the truckstop after a long search to find the right location.
“The biggest piece of equipment we had was an Ford 8N tractor. It’s just amazing to see the equipment they have now,” said Weckwerth as he watched Dennis Larson level the building in about four minutes with his huge excavator.
“A lot of coffee went through this place,” said Weckwerth, who seldom missed a day having coffee or lunch at Trailways over the years.
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