Two Brothers

Two Brothers

It was 1938. Millions of young men and women were unsettled about their lives. America was still experiencing the economic collapse called the Great Depression, and war was on the horizon in Europe.

Into this setting two Douglas boys, Orville and Stephen Millar introduced a gasoline station, in response to the public's passion for the automobile.

The location was perfect - the Douglas end of the new bridge. The age-old Douglas-Saugatuck swing bridge had been removed and replaced by a modern bridge for a new highway called U.S. 31.

Indeed, the station was proof that the new age of travel had arrived - offering not only to "fill-it-up, sir?" but lubrication, tire sales, and general repair. It was the day when "service station" meant service; windshield washing, oil check, air pressure check for the tires, a ladies restroom, a Coca-Cola machine - and even a credit purchase plan. The records show that some people who got a "fill-up" did not pay up.

The square building was of cream-colored glazed brick and with a large display window. Lubrication took place on an outdoor hoist. Three handsome pumps, including one of the new "computing" types, were surrounded by modern lighting for nighttime service. The brothers became local heroes.

But World War II ended the venture. Only a few weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, the brothers informed the Standard Oil Company that "we are resigning our position as operators of this station." Soon tires and gasoline were rationed. The once-busy Highway 31 Bridge was deserted except for trucks and busses and "essential" cars.

Stephen enlisted in the U.S. Navy and Orville in the U.S. Army. Both returned home in Douglas - Stephen to work for Chris Craft and Orville for Baker Furniture.

Two Brothers
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