Photographs, Road Trips

Captured: National Road gas station

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 thoughts on “Captured: National Road gas station

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  3. 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.

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

  4. Steve Miller says:

    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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