"Car Talk" - The History of Garages in Greensboro
On March 5th, a panel representing Greensboro and Greensboro Bend spoke about the history of three local garages. Janet Long from Lyles Garage, Tim Nisbet (recently retired) from the Greensboro Garage, and Jacquie Molleur and Anne Hanson from Tanguay Garage spoke about their experiences as either owner/operators or family members thereof.
The panel touched on themes of community-mindedness, generosity, overcoming adversity, and technical expertise. Stories ranged from happy childhoods amidst 24-hour service to responding to midwinter house calls requesting help for cars that wouldn’t start.
Janet Long recalled her family’s arrival in Greensboro in 1946 when Breezy Ave was still a dirt road and the gas price was “around 3 gallons per dollar.” Her parents, Helen and Everett Lyles, supplemented their income with sales of Sunday newspapers, ice cream and bait for fishing.
Jacquie Molleur recalled a happy childhood in the apartment above her father’s garage in Greensboro Bend. She reflected on the many businesses in Greensboro Bend during a time when many farms were growing potatoes. Emeric Tanguay, her father, was always ‘on-call’ at Tanguay Garage and often traveled to the many local farms to work on-site with farming equipment.
Anne Hanson remembered her grandfather, Emeric “Pepe” Tanguay working on cars outside the shop during all seasons. Emeric was a masterful welder, a trade he learned from John Heidger after buying his garage in 1948. Anne also read-aloud from Robin Cappuccino’s colorful remembrance of her grandfather.
Tim Nisbet reflected on the founding of Greensboro Garage, from the lineage of previous owners to the near-current incarnation that he and Chris Day started in 1971 (with Steve Ferber joining in 1974). Tim recounted several amusing stories that reflected the business and life of a small-town mechanic and foreign car expert…from taking a break while rebuilding a BMW engine in order to fix a neighbor’s boot, to speaking about a collection of objects and photos from over the years.