Dorn and Ester Plaster
Lisa Plaster Copeland sent this story about her grandfather, Dorn Van Plaster, pictured here, in front of his gas station and trading post in Watonga. 

Following is an interview given by Ester some time ago:

Dorn Van Plaster, January, 1902 - 1958
Ester Kelly Plaster, March, 1908 - 1996

"We moved to Watonga in 1936.  We had two children, Carlene and Kennith.  We rented a building and opened a station and grocery at the southwest corner of the four corner intersection.  Gas was 10 and 11 cents per gallon.  The building had to be torn down and moved back for Highway 33 to be paved.  Isaac Morles owned the land, Tim Roever rented the land and built a 2 story building with living quarters in back and on top story, which Dorn rented from him.

"In January 1942, gas, oil, tires, butter, sugar and meat was rationed as a result of World War II.  Stamps were mailed to people to use for these items.  Dorn felt it was to complicated to keep up with, so sold out stock in station and store and left.  In August of 1945 after war ended, we returned to Watonga and bought 5 lots on block 16.  There were no businesses on Highway 33 at this time.  Dorn built grocery and station together and then later built a separate building for station.  Dorn bought a cement cast mule in San Antonio, and brought it to put on top of station.  The business was named Dorn's Trading Post.  We sold all types of food items, complete meat market, souvenir items, Indian jewelry, etc.

In March, 1946, we built a home on lot just west of business.  In 1937 margarine first was available, it came white in 1 lb. blocks and had a red pill in box to mix with it for color.  We bought eggs from farmers and they would trade out in groceries, gas and kerosene.  They used kerosene for lamps, cook stoves, heat stoves, and brooder houses.  It sold for 10 cents a gallon.  We sold malt to make home brew.  Store hours were 6 am to 11 pm seven days a week.

Dorn would never charge to anyone.  If they didn't have the money, he would take out his billfold and say, "I will loan you the money".

People would pick or chop cotton and they would always stop to buy groceries for lunch, they would be paid each evening and cash the checks and buy groceries for evening meal.

Farmers would come into town with pick-ups and take workers out to fields.  For a time, quite a lot of broomcorn was grown and they worked pulling it.  Dorn would go to Oklahoma City Farmers Market and haul fresh product and grocery items from Griffins Wholesale most every day.

Dorn was always interested in promoting Watonga.  He bred and raised quarter horses and mules.  He was always a participant in parades, booster parades, Watonga Trail Rides held at Roman Nose State Park the first weekend in May each year, rodeos and horse shows, and Pioneer Days in September.  He built a stagecoach to take to out-of-town parades to promote Watonga and also used it to bring Santa Claus to town.

After Dorn's death, Kennith bought the station; Carlene bought the store which she later sold to Willy Cruts."


I don't know what date these newspaper articles are, but they are very interesting.





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