Monday, October 29, 2012

A Resident of Crescent Junction, Utah Tells the History of the Place



The Book Cliffs, near Crescent Junction, Utah

A Resident of Crescent Junction, Utah Tells the History of the Place

In 1955, if you pulled into Crescent Junction, Utah, the following is what you would see. The neon tower sign read; “CJunct. Café – Good Steaks – Lunches”. The “C” in the sign had a purposeful tilt, looking like a crescent moon. Across the top face of the building, a painted “Crescent Junction” left no mistake as to where you were. A lighted neon clock stood on the front face of the building.

In addition, hand-painted on the front of the building were the words, “Cold Pop, Beer and Lunch (in larger letters). A Pepsi “button sign” hung near the Construction of the first building at Crescent Junction, Utah (ca. 1930's) - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)front door. On the left side of the building, a large painted “Lunch” appeared near the top of the wall. “Cold Drinks” and a Coke “button sign” gave the façade a classy look. Added more recently, at window height were, “Candy, Cigarettes and Beer”. Apparently, the liquor laws in Utah were more lenient in 1955.

To the left and behind the original store rose a new and larger concrete block building. In front of it were two AMOCO fuel pumps, each with a lighted glass globe on top. On one of the two pumps a sign reads, “Diesel Fuel”. Between the two pumps is another sign, which reads, “ATLAS” in vertical letters, with “Tires, Batteries and Accessories” listed below. Partially hidden by the two fuel pumps is a new gas-island, with new fuel pumps still in their crates. A recently strung high voltage electrical line is visible in the background. Between the two buildings, there is a glimpse of the majestic Book Cliffs.

The original Crescent Junction Cafe and gas station under partial demolition in 1955. The new building is under construction in the background - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com) Thank you to Lani Lange Asay for providing these historical photographs of her “hometown”, Crescent Junction, Utah. Following is Lani’s recent letter to me:

Jim,
My name is Lani Lange Asay and I am one of three current residents of Crescent Junction, Utah. I would like to give you a little history you do not have about Crescent Junction.

Brendel is the railroad siding at Crescent. I think Brendel was the name of one of the railroad officials or engineers.

The name Crescent Junction came when my Grandfather and family moved from SLC to Crescent to build the business. The original business was one building with ten bar stools inside and two gas pumps outside. In 1955, the current two buildings were built.

The name Crescent Junction came from the junction of the roads there, originally US 6 & 50 and US 160, (now I-70 and U.S. 191) and the original narrow gauge railroad, which formed an arc along the Book Cliffs above the junction. I could go on and on with the history. The private land held around the junction was an original homestead by my two great aunts.

Lani (Lee Anne Lange Asay)
Mother: Bette Wimmer Lange
Grandfather: Edwin Wimmer

An eastbound train on the Union Pacific Railroad line near Crescent Junction and Brendel, Utah, with the Book Cliffs in the background - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)
Although I will not be in Crescent Junction again until spring 2014, I will make plans to visit with Lani, her sister Keven and brother Kerry at that time. I am sure that she will have many more stories about two of my favorite places in the desert – Crescent Junction and Brendel, Utah.