Full service nostalgia: service stations on US 50 in Indiana

Believe it or not, there are people out there who love anything related to old gas stations. If you search the Internet for petroliana, you’ll find many collectors of vintage gas-station-related items. Some people even like to restore old gas stations.

My recent trip down US 50 turned up a small but remarkable set of old gas stations. This one is on Main Street in Aurora. It clearly hasn’t been restored; it looks like the building is used as a repair shop today. If I had to guess, I’d say this is a former Gulf station. Check out this photo of another Gulf station from the same period – the details are the same.

Old service station

This one, obviously restored, is in tiny Hayden, which is about seven miles west of North Vernon. The highway has bypassed Hayden for many decades now. If you didn’t know that the country road leading in and out of Hayden was once the highway, you might be surprised to find this gas station in a little country town in the sticks.

Gas station in Hayden

Whoever restored this station placed these Sinclair pumps here, but who knows what brand of gas it originally sold.


The third and final old gas station is in Dillsboro. It’s my favorite simply because it is still in operation. The pumps are marked “full service,” a real throwback.


I found two old gas stations on the National Road in Terre Haute, Indiana. Check them out!

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10 responses to “Full service nostalgia: service stations on US 50 in Indiana”

  1. Dani Avatar

    Dad used to have Sinclair gas delivered to the farm. He still has the gas pump with the handle you crank to reset the gallons; similar to the green pump in the pictures above. I used to love to hear the bell ring after every gallon pumped. And I would bet money that my mom still has the green dinosaur toy that George the gas man gave me upon one of his deliveries!

    1. Jim Avatar

      How cool! I remember when gas pumps dinged. That was when they actually pumped it for you.

  2. vanilla Avatar

    Fun. Over the years I have watched an old Shell station on IN 28 go from service station to boarded-up building to — who knows how long before it falls down? If you are driving by that way, don’t speed. Officer frequently parks in the one-time apron area, waiting for you.

    1. Jim Avatar

      I’ve seen that sort of thing, too. The stations that had service bays very often can live on as repair shops. My mechanic is in one.

  3. Todd Pack Avatar

    I’ve tried to tell my kids (ages 10 and 4) about gas stations, about how you’d pull up, and this guy would come out, and he’d gas up your car, check your tires and your oil, but they think I’m joking. They can’t conceive of such a thing.


    1. Jim Avatar

      Mine either. They also can’t conceive of having only three television stations and of putting dimes on a record player and setting the speed to 78 to see how long before the dimes fly off.

  4. Bernie Kasper Avatar

    There is one here on main street that has been converted to a public restroom, quite a nice one at that !!

  5. Jim Avatar

    I know which one you mean!

  6. […] remembrance of the “good old days” when gas stations were full service (check out: http://jimgrey.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/full-service-nostalgia/).  Most of us even have a story or two about a time when gas was cheaply purchased (102.9 is per […]

  7. htrdesigns Avatar

    Nice article. Congrats.

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