2/20/07

Three Toots!!

Usually I tell the stories here, but here is a chance for you to tell your story, if you have one.

My brother, Raymond Pert, had/has a student at Lane Community College whose grandparents or great grandparents (some relative anyway) helped run a small gas station at the bottom of Page, a small town between Pinehurst and Smelterville. The name of the station was Three Toots. When it was operating, it was located on then Idaho Highway #10. Now we just call it "the old road".

My questions is, does anyone know the real story of how this gas station was named?

My mother has been asking all the old timers in the valley she can think of for the answer, and I think of the 15 people she has asked, she has gotten 15 different stories.

Anyone think they know the true story behind Three Toots in the Silver Valley. Please comment if you do.

Thanks!!

6 comments:

raymond pert said...

Penny, whose grandmother owned Three Toots, and whose father ran it, says the three toots came from the three honks on the horn truck drivers tooted when they arrived for a pick me up at Three Toots Tavern.

Did anyone else tell this story?

Silver Valley Girl said...

I'm not sure that was repeated again, because I think Mom was trying to get verification on that story, and I'm not sure she has yet. I'll have to talk to her and have her write down the stories she has received, and see what information has already been compiled.

Anonymous said...

“...The term whistle stop, recorded as early as 1934, was extremely active linguistically during... presidential campaign[s]...a railroad man replied that it was a political term, that railroad men said flag stop...the more common term seems to be flag station…an Americanism dating from 1849...defined...as ‘a railroad station at which the train stops only when signaled’ and ‘a railroad station where trains stop only when a flag or other signal is displayed or when one or more passengers are to be discharged.’”
“...Though railroad men use flag stop rather than whistle stop, the two are connected and have a similar origin.”
“A ‘whistle stop,’ in railroad terms, is a community too small to enjoy regular scheduled service. Consequently, the passenger trains whiz right by. But if there are passengers to be discharged, shortly before the train approaches the station, the conductor signifies that fact by pulling the signal cord. The engineer responds with two toots of the whistle. Naturally enough, such unscheduled places became known as ‘whistle stops.’ The communities were ‘whistle stop towns,’ shortened in the course of time to ‘whistle stops.’”
“At a designated place about a mile from the flag station, the engineer would blow one long blast on his whistle. If he saw a green flag displayed at the station (indicating a passenger to get on) or if he heard his cab signal whistle three times (indicating a passenger to get off), he would acknowledge by giving three toots on his locomotive whistle.”

Fifty Years Among the New Words: A Dictionary of Neologisms 1941-1991, by John Algeo

Silver Valley Girl said...

Now this goes along with my theory of the name, and I seem to recall someone telling me that story once. And the train did go right by there at one time. Could be. Could be. Thanks for the information!! Anyone else out there?

raymond pert said...

Penny's father who ran the joint told her that the three toots of the truck horn is why it was called three toots tavern. This comes from the source: the guy who ran the joint!!!!!!

Are you, dear Silver Valley Girl, looking for verification beyond this!
Please let me know what more you'd like to know and I'll go back to the source again!!! ;)
:) :)

rp

Silver Valley Girl said...

I didn't realize the story you received from Penny. I assumed this wasn't verified because of Mom needing to find the answer to Three Toots. But, after she has talked to all these people and got all these different answers, no wonder we are both confused. So, my only question is, what came first, the name Three Toots, or the fact the trucks gave three toots. Did they honk because of the name, or was it named in anticipation of the honk? (Okay, now who is obsessed?)