“There’s a lot of history that got lost last night,” said Denise Simpson, looking at the remains of one of the main buildings at Country Classic Cars, destroyed in a Tuesday night fire.
More than 100 cars built for the open road are now smoldering in a lot of ashes.
“It’s really a sad situation,” said Staunton resident Butch Huhsman.
Dozens of people came by to remember their own pieces of history at the lot.
“We brought the kids out here all the time to look around and play in the cars,” said Rettig.
“[It’s] my favorite place to go with my dad,” said his 10-year-old daughter Makayla.
“People my age walk through and say ‘Oh yeah I used to have one of those in 1970 or 1980,’” said Huhsman.
The business is a pit stop along historic Route 66.
“People say ‘Staunton Illinois, where’s that?,’” said Huhsman. “Well, if you’ve been between St. Louis and Chicago, a guy’s got 500 classic cars. ‘Oh yeah I know exactly where that’s at.’ And I’d say yeah. Staunton Illinois.”
People come to Staunton from all over the world to buy, sell, or just look around.
“I just recently, Saturday, as a matter of fact, sent two young men from Spain down to Country Cars,” said Simpson, who runs Crimson Tiger, a nearby store.
We don’t know yet what the owners plan to do, but they have the support to help move them miles forward.
“I think all of us from all over, from Chicago to LA, will come together. If he needs anything all he needs to do is ask,” said Simpson.