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A store that's stood the test of time

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Since the store is such an integral part of the local community, residents often consider it an unofficial part of the police and fire department and dial the store's number in an emergency. "Our number just comes to mind first," Mr. Crane explains. He then calls 911.

"If a cow gets out of a pasture, they call here to let us know so we can find the owner," he continues, "and the mailman leaves mail at the store when he cannot pass over the nearby creek, which sometimes floods."

For those who stop by for sandwiches, the store often serves as a lunchroom. Several chairs and a couch next to the cast-iron, wood-burning stove from the 1930s attract winter visitors. In warmer weather, customers can head outside to sit in metal patio chairs.

The Crane family has been operating a country store since the late 1800s. The first one was in Mineola, Mo., just east of Williamsburg.

Known initially as the Harrison and Crane store, it was purchased by Benjamin Rush Crane, David's great-grandfather, who renamed it B.R. Crane and Sons. It was moved to its present location, about an hour west of St. Louis, in 1926 by Sam Crane, David's grandfather.

The Williamsburg location is alongside Boone's Lick Trail, which was blazed in the early 1800s by Nathan and Daniel Boone. In the 1920s, the trail was the dirt road favored by Americans migrating west, and the store stocked what they needed.

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