1931 gas station building

If you ever drive into Terre Haute, Indiana, on US 40 (the old National Road), as you pass by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology on the outskirts of town be sure to look for this little stone house. It’s right by the highway, next to their baseball field.

Would you believe this was once a gas station? As the automobile began its rise to prominence in the 1920s, travelers felt more comfortable stopping for services when the building looked like someone’s friendly home. This gas station was built in 1931 and originally stood a couple miles farther down the road. When I moved to Terre Haute in 1985 it was dilapidated and forgotten. By 1999 it was in danger of being demolished. The Indiana National Road Association and Rose-Hulman rescued it, moving it to this location and restoring it. It serves as the snack bar for the baseball field.

See more roadside relics from the National Road in Terre Haute in this post.


15 responses to “Captured: National Road gas station”

  1. ryoko861 Avatar

    I love stories like that!! Resurrecting buildings like that even if it means moving it to a new location. We have several buildings in my town that have been converted for other uses. It’s like architectural recycling.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Architectural recycling! Great term. In the preservation biz they call it “adaptive reuse.”

  2. Jennifer S Avatar

    What a beautiful little house! Thank goodness it was saved.

    We have a little old brick building on our street that was also a former gas station. Apparently, in the 1930s, neighbors were so concerned about the presence of underground fuel tanks on their residential street that they filed a lawsuit. The station had to shut down. I think it became a general store. Now it’s an office… but still adorable, small, and red brick with arches.

    1. Jim Avatar

      I remember seeing it back in the 80s in its original location and, not knowing what it was, wondering who the heck could live in such a tiny house!

      At least the station near you wasn’t torn down. That happened to too many old gas stations during the underground tank kerfluffle years. Here in Indiana, every underground tank had to be dug up and replaced in the 90s, which was more than many independent operators could bear, and so most of them shut down.

  3. Mark O'Brien Avatar

    I love seeing those old gas stations. We have one in Ann Arbor that is all stone with a slate roof. It’s now operating as a drive-through coffee shop. It’s called the Toumy Hills Service Station:

    I will have to do a photo safari in Indiana sometime soon. I did one a few years ago in NE Indiana from Angola down to Bluffton.

    1. Jim Avatar

      What a great little building Toumy Hills SS is. I’m glad it’s still being used for something.

      There’s plenty to see in Indiana! I haven’t tired of photographing it yet.

  4. pesoto74 Avatar

    I think that is the most beautiful former gas station that I have seen. There are a couple of brick ones and several wooden ones around here, but not on the same level as this one. It is funny how fast things can come to seem like ancient history these days.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Check the link in the earlier comment – that building is pretty spectacular too.

  5. davidvanilla Avatar

    Great photo of a wonderful little building. I have friends who have a lake cottage in stone. They call it “Pitcairn.”

    1. Jim Avatar

      I’d take a lake cottage built out of most anything!

  6. Preservation and Place Avatar

    What a cute little building and a fantastic example of adaptive reuse.

    1. Jim Avatar

      It’s a wonderful example of adaptive reuse. This little building seems like it’s just the right size for a little snack bar.

  7. Bernie Kasper Avatar

    We have one in downtown Madison that is now a bathroom lol !!

    1. Jim Avatar

      And I’ve used it!

  8. Steve Miller Avatar
    Steve Miller

    Lafayette, IN, has a restored Standard station on the SE corner of South St. and S. 6th St. Google Maps shows modern cars sitting on the apron and the pumps missing, so it may now be a small used car lot. Or just parking. But the early-’30s-vintage tow truck remains!

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