Through the Lens: The Jug
Not long ago, local artist E. Stanley Yost presented Gladys (Fletcher) Gregg with the original framed painting of the roadside stop, known as “The Jug.” Gladys, who at 94, still opens the Jug most every day for her customers. She and The Jug have been part of each others lives since 1929. In 1927 her late father Delbert Fletcher built the business for his brother, Durad. At age ten, Durad had lost both legs due to tuberculosis. A couple years later, Delbert began operating the business. It was then she began her life as part of the Jug and its long history, which she is an intricate part of. In the early 1960s, Gladys purchased the popular country store and roadside lunch counter from her father.
Earl’s painting captures a forgotten moment in the long history of the business. His painting has been digitally converted into a limited amount of numbered prints so the image could be shared by those wanting to also remember the historic place.
For longer than most people can remember, the mere mention of “The Jug” in Tyler County brings back memories of a popular gathering place. At one time, travelers could stop, fill their car with fuel, and order something homemade from the menu. While enjoying a sandwich on a cool fall afternoon, a visitor may have heard the sound of a Q ball breaking the rack coming from the back room. And, if they were to listen, they might hear locals telling stories of the good old days. Perhaps the regulars would talk of the swinging bridge that once crossed into the deep woods beyond the manmade spillway. Visitors back then and now, often pause just to enjoy the beauty of the scenic area and passing waters of Middle Island Creek.
Early in the 1800s, a man named George Gregg saw a business opportunity. He diverted the creeks flowing water from its long trip around the peninsula shaped landscape known as the handle of the jug. His plan would provide power to a grain mill he was planning to build. Unfortunately, Mother Nature did not like his cutting three miles off the creeks natural journey. Gregg’s mill and those that came later were all carried away by flood waters.
Today, The Jug overlooks the cut in the creek and bears silent witness to the changes time and water have brought to the area around the historical landmark. The once bustling gathering place shows its age, as it waits for visitors to stop and tell stories of yesteryear. The nearby cable bridge that once carried the adventuresome into the dark woods, has long ago fell away into the clutches of time. And Mother Nature continues her efforts to push away the sandstones of the spillway in her persisting struggles to ease her journey to the far Ohio River. History will remember that in this place, a man first tried to tame the waters of Middle Island Creek and failed nearly 200 hundred years ago. And history will also remember that a gracious lady named Gladys Gregg and her family have spent a lifetime tending a gathering place while sharing joy and friendship to all who passed through the doors of The Jug. Earl’s painting will always be a way remember this place Through the Lens.