Remembering Speaker’s Mobil

Photos courtesy of Gary Sosniecki

Top, Tommy Speaker stands outside of Speaker’s Mobil in 1946. Above, Speaker’s Mobil as it appears today.

 
By: 
Gary Sosniecki Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society

Tommy Speaker remembers the day a big four-door car pulled around to the back of his grandfather’s gas station on Route 66 in Lebanon. Three or four people, one of them a woman, got out. They placed violin cases on a picnic table and laid down on the grass to rest. Tommy’s grandfather, Tom Bacon, suspected that the violin cases carried Tommy guns, and that the visitors were Pretty Boy Floyd and his gang.

“My grandfather said, ‘Tommy, you go to the house right now. Don’t run, and don’t look back.’”

Speaker, then a youngster, looked back anyway and saw the car’s passengers in the back yard while his grandfather reached for the phone.

“I don’t know the details, but I know he called (Sheriff) Sam Allen and told him Pretty Boy Floyd was here,” Speaker recalls. 

“Sam told him just to leave them alone. ‘We’re not coming.’” (That Sam Allen, Laclede County sheriff from 1925 to 1928 and again from 1933 to 1936, was grandfather of the Sam Allen who works for the sheriff today.)

Speaker doesn’t remember if Pretty Boy Floyd bought gasoline, but his grandparents did make sandwiches for the gang.

Speaker’s Mobil, sometimes called Speaker’s Station, has been closed since the late 1990s, but Tommy Speaker, 92, and sister Lena England, 88, still go to the station every weekday in case someone needs an old propane part – the family also was in the propane business – and, when friends drop by, to swap stories like the one about notorious bank robber Pretty Boy Floyd.

For the complete article, see Saturdays print edition of The Daily Record, or view the e-Edition online.

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The Lebanon Daily Record

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