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From the desk of Alison Gibson, Director
Over the years we have been asked if we had a picture of Donald’s Ten Pump gas station just outside Ripley on Route 52. Recently the library was presented with this copy of a photograph and we had to share it with our readers. No information as to the date it was taken. Carl Donald was the owner/manager for many years, closing it down in 1982, shortly before he passed away at age 86.
We weren’t able to quickly find the opening date of the gas station—in 1940 Carl Donald objected to the change in Route 52 near his station, commenting that his dad John H. Donald had to repair thousands of dollars of damage when the route had been altered 15 years earlier. (1925). Unfortunately, we do have some serious gaps in our 1920s Ripley Bees. John H. Donald was very active in the boat building business, active in coal yards, lumber, horses and more. There is no mention of the gas station in John’s 1934 obituary, but he was very well known for his barges, towboats and other river related activities.
We’re sure there are many stories about the gas station— just browsing the Ripley Bee there were several news bites including in 1946 the All-American Pickup plane accidentally dropped a bag of mail onto one of the station’s islands, missing Carl Donald by about 3 feet! Of course, then one gets interested in the mail delivery service…the All-American Pickup Plane service started here in late April of 1946, flew between Maysville and Ripley 4 times a day as part of the regularly scheduled service between Pittsburgh, Huntington, Cincinnati and intermediate points. It may have been part of the All-American Aviation company that ran an airmail service with bags of mail suspended on ropes and hooked up by the flying planes. (1939-1949) This company eventually became American Airlines.