Kayo gas station was surrounded by Leopard on front, Coke street on west and Crosstown feeder on east. Super corner catch everyone who was coming from uptown, and fixing to head out to suburbs...BEFORE they got on crosstown! Old school gas station in 1960s, we bought gas there all the time, the pumps were under Y shaped lights! The gas station 'business end' was short long glass enclosure facing Leopard & the pumps. On the Coke side was a small metal shed. Coke machine and Lance type crackers and chips in there. Next to it was free air and water for cars. But also in this small metal shed was a water machine, free ice cold water. So us kids could come over here and put air in tires, spray off bikes and get cold drink of water on hot Corpus day.
My dad, Homer T Stakes Sr, knew the fellow who seemed to be here all the time, heavy set Mexican fellow, jolly, and sat on his stool behind small counter. Inside the small place was crackers, cookies, and stuff you could not get in machine outside, but also car things like oil, transmission fluids, wiper blades and what not. Not big place maybe 15 feet long and 4-5 feet wide. One night we heard a lot of sirens, as CCPD station was only a few blocks away on Brownlee & Buffalo or I-37. A number of us kids being, uh, kids, jumped on bikes and hauled ass around corner. Our friend, whole neighbor hood friend, had been shot and killed at KAYO. I struggle to remember his name, Jose, Juan, Jorge, started with "J" but had been shot during a robbery. KAYO had zero security, you walk in, you face to face with 1 employee who had cash box in front of him. Really sad to see this happen to a good man who was liked, loved by whole neighborhood. My dad just shook his head. I still remember the attendant's smile, and have prayed for him and family. I don't know what ever happened to the bad guy who robbed the place, this would have been about 1966-68.
Photo #1. This is 1960s KAYO gas station. Before someone goes 'uh dude, Corpus ain't go no pine trees' well, you right, just goofy palm trees. But the stations buildings were same. Red neon letters, flags, even glass in front with restrooms on the side. 18 cents a gallon, even year is the same. This is what the Leopard & Crosstown location looked like. Does not have those "Y" lights over pumps though.
Photo #2. Standing on a desolate once vibrant Leopard street looking at lonely KAYO former location. About where the three crucifixes are, was where the small shed with Coke machine, Lance crackers and coldest water fountain in hood was! To the left is where you get on Crosstown to head towards SPID. I used to floor it getting on here, one time 80mph, ha ha, not too smart considering police station other side of freeway. Coke street is on the right. Further back is THE BIG DITCH.Really tough to believe this corner has never had anything on it since I was a child. Maybe haunted, maybe landowner wants too much, maybe Corpus crappy zoning laws?
Photo #3. KAYO (yes, a lot of businesses spelled their names all in CAPS LIKE THIS then, but KAYO had a lot of auto products. I do not know if they had a refinery in Corpus Christi back then, their little mascot fellow named Speedy, and looked a lot of like Jeff from the Burger Chef & Jeff commercials. Not to be confused with Speedy the mascot used in 1950s with Alka Seltzer. How old are you? Not to be confused either with the little street kid Kayo in Moon Mullins 1940s cartoon.