From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Old Gas Station in Hopkinsville, KY

A relic of the golden age of 2-lane roads



Old gas station in Hopkinsville, KYEveryone who lives around Hopkinsville, KY, will recognize this building. It stands on the north side of the street near the intersection of Highways107 and 68/80/41/109. Peace Park is across the street to the south.

It was obviously built as a gas station, but it's been a while since any gasoline was sold on the site. The architecture suggests it was constructed in the 1940s or 1950s, when cars were still small. It was never a large station; it had only one bay in the garage, and only one set of pumps.

I wonder if this little gas station was put out of business when Y'all's Shell Mart, a large self-service station with half a dozen pumps, opened on the opposite corner. Or maybe the little station had trouble with the EPA about its gasoline storage and couldn't afford to modernize.

During the time we've lived in Hopkinsville, I remember a donut shop in the building, and later, a vacuum cleaner repair shop that changed owners at least twice. Most recently, someone was displaying some flea-market things outside the building. I am not sure if they were still repairing vacuums inside or not.

Today, I noticed that the little station seems to be empty again. It's also overdue for a shingle job. It wouldn't surprise me if someone decides to tear it down. I thought I'd better take its picture while I still had the chance.

UPDATE: My son says this little station was moved here from another location. He remembers this from a documentary about the history of Hopkinsville. I'd love to hear from anyone who knows the story.

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4 comments:

John Ruberry said...

Interesting. I saw a bunch of similar structures, including one that was still operating in Eskridge, KS, during my recent trip.

Genevieve said...

Hi, John. Eskridge must be a little town off the beaten path. I have seen a few old stations like this still in operation, but they are few and far between.

Collagemama said...

I occasionally dream that I'm making my home in a vacant Fifties gas station. Without spending big bucks on psychoanalysis, I suspect the smells of leaded gasoline, hot concrete, dusty naugahyde, oily rags, and pine tree air fresheners must be a safe early memory. I can hear the ding when we drove our '54 Chevy over those hoses...

Genevieve said...

Those were the days, Collagemama. All the attendants wore uniforms, and they cheerfully filled your car with gas, washed the windows, and checked the oil and the air in the tires. If you needed to use the ladies room, you could go inside and get the key. The key was often wired or chained to a piece of oily-looking wood -- a precursor of the giant keychain.

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