In Chillicothe, Illinois, alongside Route 29, sits a small-town car dealership called “Jerry’s Corvette’s.” The lot will look familiar to any Midwesterner – mostly cars not old enough to be truly “vintage” pressed in close together, still running but ready for their final stop on the way to the pick-a-part lot once they’ve been used up by their new owners. But though the cars remain, Zach Nelson of PJStar.com (warning – link opens several pop-ups) tells us that they’ve outlived Jerry:
“Corvette corpses crowd the gravel lot at the intersection of North 4th Street and Illinois Route 29 in Chillicothe. A well-worn sign on the door lets visitors know that the owner of Jerry’s Corvettes, Jerry Farmer, has “passed on.” That was news to Carl Fultz, a native of Chillicothe who now lives in Washington state. Fultz said he and Farmer used to work on, and race, cars together, but he hadn’t seen Farmer in 30 years.”
How many small-town businesses have ended this way? The owner/operator gone to their final reward, no heirs to the commercial empire to keep it going, just a sign hung by a friend or acquaintance on the door to satisfy the curious until the city sorts out what to do with the leftovers.
One might wonder whether Jerry knew, when he turned out the lights and locked the front door the last time, that he wouldn’t be back again to try to sell another one of his Corvettes. In any case, the fate of the cars is uncertain as well. Hopefully they’ll be adopted out to loving homes, rather than sitting through another Illinois winter untended.
Google Street View provides an eerie look back at October, 2007, for those inclined to explore more online…