by Stephanie Baker
Air Force veteran, recording artist, pastor. Steve Jacobs is a bit of a local legend.
As a child, Jacobs grew up helping at his father’s Texaco gas station located just off the Coal Hill exit of I-40. After the state denied the request to let him post a billboard on the property, Jacobs’ father decided a Ferris wheel would be an adequate replacement to help bring visitors to the small station. The station eventually became home to a small zoo of animals. It contained an assortment of lions, apes, emus, rams, peacocks, raccoons, baboons, and perhaps, most famously, the free-range goats. Many of the animals were brought by visitors or purchased from a traveling salesman. A sign jokingly declaring the area “Goat Hill” was posted by the highway department, and the name stuck for the gas station destination, according to Jacobs.
During the days at Goat Hill Texaco station, Jacobs started recording music under the name Shane DeShannon. He was a popular local artist, releasing music on vinyl, and once opened for country music stars Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius during the Peach Festival. “The entire center of town was so alive, such a wonderful culture back then,” said Jacobs. “Johnson County was such a quaint and wonderful family place.” As Shane DeShannon, Jacobs released one album and five singles and performed across the state and in Oklahoma.
Jacobs enlisted in the Air Force in 1978 at age 17 with his new wife and high school sweetheart, Rhonda, by his side. “My wife has been my partner since day one,” said Jacobs. “My wife and children were in the Air Force with me. We were all in it together.”
For full story see the Nov. 1 edition of The Graphic, found online or in businesses around Johnson County.