In my meanderings around the US I have sought out old gas stations. Many are being used by other businesses–auto repair is a popular repurposing, but they run the gamut from thrift stores to funeral homes. Others are vacant but still reusable. And some are just plain falling apart.
Each was once a place where our automobile culture stopped for its fossil-fuel fix, maybe just a few years ago or maybe decades ago. They are all over the place, easy to spot once one starts looking. Just look for the overhang, the columns and evidence of the concrete pump ‘island.’
I have found several really old structures—they are the small, one-story postage-stamp buildings with overhang and two columns—and a lot of more ‘modern’ ones. I know that if I had started doing this decades earlier I would be seeing many more of the classic ones. Road widenings even in the most rural parts of the country, have eliminated many, and others have been lost to commercial development in even the smallest towns.
I can almost feel the ghosts of old gas stations under the McDonalds, Ruby Tuesday’s and Quality Inns as I travel the back roads, now often four lanes. The place to ferret out the gems is usually the old two-lanes, the older sections of small towns, and the ignored sections on the ‘wrong’ side of town. If the big money isn’t there for development, the old buildings get reused, that’s the reality.
This section contains some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them. (All photos by Ron Haines, all rights reserved)
Fitchburg, MA. A unique corner design.
St. Petersburg, FL. The Queens Head bar. Included is a ‘before’ photo, courtesy of the owner.
Reedsburg, WI. Repurposed as the Blue Cherry Art Gallery and Studio.
Paris, KY. This old A-roof design is now a residence.
Goshen, IN. This station is now home to a Verizon store.
Kankakee, IL. A nicely-kept classic, this one’s vacant, just waiting for a business to move in.
Waverly, TN. At the least, this one could be repurposed as a haunted house every Halloween.
Egypt, KY. An interesting two-story one in need of a bit of TLC.
Enfield, IL. This nice two-story is a private residence.
Vermontville, MI. A tire shop uses this old station nicely.
Cowan, TN. This restored Texaco classic is now the town’s welcome center, complete with a couple antique vehicles inside and mannequins staged in historical scenes.
Bostonia, PA. This old station is now an ice cream stop, Sweet Delights.
Madisonville, KY. A spa has recycled this former gas station.
Owensboro, KY. A furniture store occupies this roomy old station.
Pacadah, KY. Precision Tinting.
Rochester, IN. Pizza King uses this corner building nicely.
Earlington, KY. Pizza Express.
Paris, IL. This classic box style now houses Paris Upholstery.
Lomax, IL. Painted Corners, a café, makes nice use of this beautiful structure.
Easton, IL. This classic narrow station with an added-on garage in a residential section of town appears to be someone’s very nice mancave.
Kenton, OH. This futuristically-styled beauty is now The Linen Closet.
Kenton, OH. A second nicely reused station in Kenton, Lady O’s gift shop makes fabulous use of this great oldie.
Englewood, TN. The roof is all that’s left of this one.
New Holland, IL. Private residence.
Louisville, IL. A heating and appliance company is using this building, which appears to be a classic style station with some add-ons.
Sewanee, TN. This rambling structure houses a gift shop, laundry and café.
Fincastle, OH. I love the way the pumps have become mail boxes for this insurance company office.
Mount Victory, OH. This classic looks like it’s been used as an outdoor flea market or produce stand at time. It needs repair quick or it will soon be gone.
Kankakee, IL. This sweet, nicely-maintained corner station is home to EJAB Property Management. I love the way the plants on the old pump islands pay homage to its history.
Little Falls, MN. Small and old, with the old-fashioned pumps, but still operating. Unfortunately I happened by on a Saturday and it was closed. Crowder’s is open Monday through Friday, 6 to 5.
New Lisbon, WI. Clark’s Gunsmithing.
Chattanooga, TN. This classic is now the Chattanooga Coffee Co.
Rockport, IN. Brick Oven Pizza.
Maryville, TN. Another well-kept station converted to auto and truck parts.
Sandale, IN. BJ’s Pizza shop.
Toledo, IA. An odd combination of businesses here, a barber shop and a realty office.
Dickson, TN. This great corner station is now Back Alley Barbecue.
Red Wing, MN. This well-kept former gas station is a handsome auto repair shop now.
Pineville, KY. Artcraft, a signage and graphics company.
Mount Victory, OH. A residence.
Paris, IL. Adams Memorials.
Vermontville, MI. Ace Auto Repair.
West Taghkanic, NY. Stylistically this is the most unique station I have ever seen. It’s empty now, waiting for some tender loving care.
Broad Brook, CT. I think this is the smallest station I have found so far. Behind it is a larger building that was used for auto repairs.
Manchester, CT. This is the second monument company I’ve found in this area that’s using an old gas station. The other is in West Hartford.
Dade City, FL. Right downtown, this old station is now the Garden Café.
Okeechobee, FL. Now the home of Pat’s Floral Design.
Walden, NY. This beauty is now a State Farm insurance office.
Hartford, CT. McGovern Granite Company has done a great job of recycling this classic building.
Corning, CA. Bartels Giant Burger.
Mount Shasta, CA. The perfect town for a new age gem and jewelry shop.
Eugene, OR. Chiropractic practice in a classic station in an older part of town.
Port Orford, OR. Note the waves painted above the windows of the Sea Breeze Florist shop.
Sullivan, IL. A stylish old station just waiting for the right reuse.
Point Arena, CA. The Outback Garden and Feed store occupies this former station.
Ozark, AL. This old beauty is now Dale Florist and Gifts.
Elk, CA. There are two businesses in this recycled station–an auto repair shop and a café.
Rio Del, CA. This old station is now a very colorful woodworking and gift shop.
Mill Valley, CA. Now a clothing store.
Ozark, AL. This classic is now a clothing boutique.
Geff, IL. This one will be falling down soon if someone doesn’t make use of it.
Tomello, CA. This bakery used to be a corner gas station. The pump area makes a nice outdoor seating spot.
Athol, MA. This box-style former station is looking for a new business occupant.
Ashford, CT. The paint job on this up-for-sale building certainly draws attention to it.
Putnam, CT. CrossFit 860 is a nice use of this old station, especially when the weather’s good
West Palm Beach, FL. A well-maintained vacant station just waiting for a new occupant.
Luverne, AL. ReImagined, a shop in a recycled gas station selling recycled things, a perfect combination
Otter Creek, FL. U.S. Post Office
Nashville, GA. The Perfect Pear clothing shop
DeFuniak Springs, FL. Afterglow Salon
Brantley, AL. Papa’s, a fruit and ice cream shop
Dahlonega, GA. Smokin’ Gold BBQ
DeFuniak Springs, FL. Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center
Evergreen, AL. This fabulous corner station is home to Triple J lawnmower and tractor company.
Perry, FL. Super Wash laundromat
Anniston, AL. This classic building is just waiting for someone to recycle it
Tuscaloosa, AL. Royal Fine Cleaners
Chiefland, FL. The Deer Camp, a deer hunting supply store
Hollywood, FL. Joe’s Old School Pizza
Clarendon, TX. Another classic along the lines of the one above
Edna, TX. China Wok restaurant
Los Alamos, CA. Bob’s Well Bread Bakery
Huntingdon, TN. Law offices.
Grand Junction, IA. This restored and still functioning station once served folks traveling the original Lincoln Highway. The inset shows then-owners Lowell and Karl Martin in the 1950’s.
Cedar Rapids, IA. Within a stone’s throw of each other, these beauty salons were once competing gas stations
Northport, Maine. Home of the Saturday Cove Gallery.
Thawville, Illinois. Two of the four corners of this rural intersection were occupied, one by an old house and the other by this interesting specimen, once surrounded by a parking lot and now by trees.
New Hartford, Connecticut. Time Was Garage. It even has a Facebook page.
Shipley, Florida. Dove Palace Cafe
Marianna, Arkansas. Law office
Chocorua, New Hampshire. This old station houses Resurrected Rovers, a Land Rover restoration business.
Dwight, Illinois. This restored station on old Route 66 is now the visitor center for the town.
Tuckasegee, North Carolina. Recycled Fashions store.
Cleveland, Georgia. Cleve’s Place. Note the cheap gas!
Hanover Courthouse, Virginia. Two Frogs On a Bike antique store.
Conway, New Hampshire. Maggio Hair Salon
Forrest City, Arkansas. By day this former gas station is a beauty salon, but come evening it’s a mobile barbecue restaurant.
Avawam, Kentucky. Family Fun Game Room. The pumps are still there, but there’s no gas!
Jacksonboro, South Carolina. The Ace Basin Crafters & Artisans Emporium looked much like an average second-hand store.
Middlesboro, Kentucky. Bud’s Butcher Block
Bean Station, Tennessee. A dollar twenty-nine or twenty-nine, take your pick.
Bowling Green, Virginia. Bowling Green Auto Care.
Sherwood, Arkansas. This distinctive ’round top’ station, built in 1936, is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was featured in “The Last Ride,” a film about Hank Williams, Sr., directed by Arkansas native Harry Thomasson.
Dillard, Georgia. Franklin Gemstone and Jewelry Warehouse.
Cleveland, Mississippi. Restored station at historic Dockery Farms, which claims to be the birthplace of the Blues.
Mansfield, Georgia. Kayleigh’s Spare Tire and Auto Detailing.
Wooton, Kentucky. A pair of businesses in old stations, Day’s Power Sports and Wayne’s Heating and Cooling.
Lodi, Ohio. Auto repair and coffee stand.
Port Gibson, Mississippi. The Cleaners car wash. The blue historical marker is for Rabbit Foot Minstrels, a traveling minstrel and musical troup started in 1900 and headquartered in Port Gibson from 1918 to 1950.
Washington, North Carolina. Riverwalk Steaks restaurant.
Shelbourne, New Hampshire. Fire Permits Office.
Kingsland, Georgia. Missions for Camden, whatever that is.
Hanover Courthouse, Maryland. Houndstooth Cafe.
Dixfield, Maine. Fly rod repair.
Swifton, Arkansas. Full Gospel Lighthouse Church.
York Beach, Maine. Chase’s Art Garage.
Bowling Green, Virginia. Trailer hitches.
Nepaug, Connecticut. The Glass Station
This next one is from a guest contributor, nephew Jon Haines, who spotted this dilapidated oldie in the deserted Utah town of Cisco. It’s a true ‘ghost town’ and the site of some movies, according to Wikipedia, though far from pristine, having been visited by vandals and looters over the years.