Counterfeiting scheme foiled at Route 66’s Rock of Ages station

Rock of Ages Conoco Station

US-66
Arcadia, OK
Service station relic

Stories have it that the back window was an entrance to a secret room where they counterfeited money. (Oh, and be careful pulling on and off the highway.)

It goes like this: Back in the days when Al Capone was terrorizing folks in Chicago, a so-called salesman came by the station offering to sell the owner a way to make a lot of money – a set of plates for counterfeiting $10 bills. The owner was convinced and bought the plates. He built a small room behind the station in which to hide the printing materials and a place to work. The only entrance into the room was through the window you see on the back wall today. A solid wood covering was kept over the window and most customers never knew the room was back there.

He would press one plate on a piece of paper with green ink and let it dry for 24 hours. Then, the next day, he would print the back side. One day, someone was caught passing one of the counterfeit bills. With identification in their pocket, they were traced back to the Luther area, and back to the station. The plates were found and the owner was taken to jail.

The station closed and never re-opened. Years later in the 1940s, in an unrelated event, a murder victim’s body was found in the abandoned station and was never identified.

The station had two pumps, one for regular and one for ethyl. Oil was sold from a 50 gallon drum laying on its side in a wooden cradle. Cold soda was only sold on days when the ice man came by. Hard candy was available year-round, but chocolate was only sold in the winter, for obvious reasons.

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(Photos © copyright 2006-2014 Kelly Ludwig, all rights reserved. Details taken from websites and notice posted on-site, and wayfinders.com)