By William “Skip” Deegans
The corner of Washington and Lafayette Streets in Lewisburg has had businesses serving vehicles for well over 100 years. While Bud and George Simms have owned service stations and garages in this location since 1985, Aquila Lipps may have been the first. Born in Frankford in 1856, he became a Lewisburg entrepreneur. In the late 1800s, he sold and repaired wagons and had a milling business. The wagon shop was where Simms’ lot is now, and the shop may have been in the same building as the mill. Lipps was a skilled wheelwright and sold Birdwell wagons. In the 1890s, a one-horse Birdwell wagon sold for $61. The “Mountain Model” cost $88-$141. Lipps died in 1923 and is buried behind the Old Stone Church.
As the corner lot changed hands several times, it continued to be referred to as the “Lipps shop property” in deeds. Eventually, it became the site of service stations and garages, most of which sold Standard Oil gasoline under the brands Standard Oil, Esso and finally Exxon.
Photo: Courtesy of Greenbrier Historical Society.
Sources: The Greenbrier Independent, The History Museum (South Bend, Indiana), Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps.