October 25, 2014

Historic Edgerton gas station gets facelift

A vintage automobile and a fresh paint job make Ray’s Service Station seem like a time capsule. Members of the Braun family spent last week sprucing up the historic station. Photo by Charlie Troutner

A vintage automobile and a fresh paint job make Ray’s Service Station seem like a time capsule. Members of the Braun family spent last week sprucing up the historic station. Photo by Charlie Troutner

Charlie Troutner
Special to The Gardner News
Ray’s Service Station in Edgerton has recently received a facelift. Members of Ray Braun’s family have spent the last few days sprucing up and painting the three buildings that comprise Ray’s Service.
Ray Braun owned and operated Ray’s Service Station for more than 60 years. His station was, and still is, an Edgerton landmark. It was featured in the opening scenes of the film, “In Cold Blood.”
Braun passed away in March 2012, but his family still owns the buildings and wanted to brighten up their appearance.
Ray’s wife, Jo, his eldest son Bill, and eldest daughter Mary Jo Sutton, and her husband Gary, have all spent long hours scraping and painting to refresh the appearance of the 82-year-old service station building, the garage, and the carwash building. Bill Braun made sure to mention that though his mom had helped paint some, she was serving primarily in a supervisor’s position and was doing a fine job in that role.

Ray’s Service Station received a fresh coat of paint last week. The iconic station has been an Edgerton fixture for more than 60 y ears. The station was featured in the opening minutes of the film, “In Cold Blood.”  Photo by Charlie Troutner

Ray’s Service Station received a fresh coat of paint last week. The iconic station has been an Edgerton fixture for more than 60 y ears. The station was featured in the opening minutes of the film, “In Cold Blood.” Photo by Charlie Troutner

After Ray’s death, the family attempted to sell the buildings and property, but as of yet, have not found a buyer. So, it is still in the Braun family’s hands. They are planning on keeping the station around for the foreseeable future.
Bill Braun is renovating the inside of the garage building to serve as his personal workshop, and the carwash building, which opened in 1972, will be used for storage. The station building will remain as is, still containing many pieces of local history and memorabilia.
Other than some touch-up work, the family is almost completely done with the painting. They chose the basic color of white, and then put red and blue trim around the garage and station buildings. The red and blue colors were the Skelly Oil Company’s colors. Ray’s Station sold Skelly products. The Brauns also painted the gas island posts in front of the station.
Bill and his mom, both said that while they were painting, several people have stopped by to visit with them and see what is going on. Bill said they have enjoyed answering people’s questions and even talking nostalgia with a few of them.
The family does plan on razing the small house directly behind the service station at some point in the future.
They are also planning on keeping the famous half-car that sits on the eastern edge of the service station property. Ray Braun came up with the idea for that car many years ago, and it has been in many parades and has garnered much attention, even in far-away places. Bill Braun mentioned that quite often people will drive by on U.S. Highway 56, and come back by to catch a better view of the car and take photographs.
For now, Ray’s Service Station will remain an Edgerton fixture, and keep its place in Edgerton’s rich history. The station will continue to honor a man, Ray Braun, who was so loved and respected and did so much for the community of Edgerton.
When asked what her husband Ray would think of the family’s painting  and renovation of the station buildings, Mrs. Braun paused for a moment and smiled and laughe. She said although he might wonder why they spent so much time on it, he would be very pleased and happy about how the place looks. The smile on her face told the whole story.

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