Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Bing’s collectibles: Part II August 15, 2014

SO HOW DID I DISCOVER Bing Skelton’s place near Clearwater? Blogger friend and frequent commenter, Jackie, posed that question after yesterday’s post. Great question, given Bing’s collection of service station collectibles, phone booths and more is tucked out of the way along Stearns County Road 143 north of Clearwater.

My brother-in-law, Tom, checks out signage fronting Bing's garage.

My brother-in-law, Tom, checks out gas pumps and signage fronting Bing’s garage.

My sister-in-law, Annette, and her husband, Marty, noticed Bing’s place when they were scouting out a location for the Helbling family reunion in May. So, on reunion day, several of us headed over to check things out.

An eagle carved by Bing graces the circle drive entrance to his property.

An eagle carved by Bing graces the circle drive entrance to his property.

And what we found is one of those rare treasures that makes exploring the back roads such a delightful experience. It’s truly about following the less-traveled route, slowing down and taking time to stop that leads you to these unique people and places.

Sometimes it pays to forget about time.

Sometimes it pays to forget about time.

That’s my advice: Get off the interstate. Slow down. Stop. Take time. Appreciate.

Charles "Bing" Skelton just outside his garage.

Charles “Bing” Skelton just outside his garage.

To meet folks like Bing and his wife, Mary, uplifts one’s spirits, reaffirms that, in this rat race of life, it’s worth slowing down. Fail to do so, and you miss out on so much.

BONUS PHOTOS:

Signage above the garage door.

Signage above the garage door.

A back and side view of Bing's garage.

A back and side view of Bing’s garage.

Lots of vintage gas pumps to study up close.

Lots of vintage gas pumps to study up close.

Seats from farm implements appear as art to my eyes.

Seats from farm implements appear as art to my eyes.

One of many phone from your car phones. So classic.

One of many phone from your car phones. So classic.

You'll find this tribute to Minnesota native Charles Lindbergh behind the garage.

You’ll find this tribute to Minnesota native Charles Lindbergh behind the garage.

A gauge on a really old gas pump.

A gauge on a really old gas pump.

A fast food drive-in is recreated on a wing of the garage.

A fast food drive-in is recreated on a wing of the garage.

Locals will appreciate this pizza sign from a regional grocery store.

Locals will appreciate this pizza sign from a regional grocery store.

More signs to appreciate from this rural area.

More signs to appreciate from this rural area.

Signage that simply made me laugh.

Signage that simply made me laugh.

Bing's collection even includes motor oil cans.

Bing’s collection even includes motor oil cans.

Bing probably has enough horses for his own merry-go-round.

Bing probably has enough horses for his own merry-go-round.

No coke sold here, but...

No coke sold here, but…

Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling