Antique truck adds whimsy to downtown – Washington Daily News

Local couple Robert Saunders and Samantha Polk thought the western entrance to the Washington waterfront needed a little pizzazz, so they parked Saunders’ 1953 Chevrolet 3100 pickup truck outside Old Main Street Station at 315 W. Main St.

Although not a tow truck, the vehicle might remind some people of ‘Mater from the animated movie “Cars” or Fred Sanford’s truck from the 1970s TV show.

No matter how you slice it, the truck became a photo stop on the way downtown. Saunders and Polk brought it in and decorated it for the 2021 holiday season, then left it for the winter.

As spring arrived, Polk, a Washington native, decided to decorate the antique vehicle a bit for renewal season and it turned into a real photo opportunity, especially on Easter weekend.

“We wanted to add something cheerful and uplifting to this side of town,” Polk said of the location across Main St. from Grace Martin Harwell Senior Center and the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad. Museum.

“My great-grandfather, Ed Cherry, worked at Main Street Station in the 1940s, pumping gas, changing oil and cleaning windshields, so this is a great way to honor its memory and it’s a place where people can stop and have their picture taken.”

Saunders grew up on a farm in Washington County outside of Plymouth and helped neighbors Dean and Amy Gurganus by doing chores on their farm to earn pocket money. He ended up spending it on the truck before he was old enough to drive it.

“I was probably 13 when I bought it from them,” the 32-year-old said. “I noticed it under a barn one of the first times I was at their house and always thought it was really cool. I love old trucks and tractors and this one is unique.

The old gas station was put on the market three years ago and the couple bought it without knowing what would become of it. It’s still a work in progress, but Polk, a local realtor, and Saunders, a general contractor, are going to make it useful one way or another.

“We’ve already done a lot of work to make it structurally safe,” Polk said. The place was a mess when we got it and there was a hole from the roof through the ground to the basement. We know we’re going to preserve it one way or another, but we haven’t decided on a specific use yet.

In the meantime, what started as a joke turned into a success.

“I remember driving around Washington with my great-grandfather and hearing stories about him working here and what it used to be in other places around town,” he said. Polk said. “We’re surprised, but really happy, that the old truck has gotten so much attention. Good things are happening downtown and we hope this gives people another reason to come and check it out.

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