Standard Oil Red Crown station in Lafayette, Indiana

You know I love old gas stations. It’s always a pleasure when I find one.

I most commonly find them on old alignments of highways, but I suppose that’s because I frequent those kinds of roads. But many of them remain in cities and towns off the main roads, as well, such as this one on South Street in downtown Lafayette, Indiana.

Standard Oil

This is a “Red Crown” Standard Oil station, built in about 1927. Standard Oil built lots of these through the late 1920s and into the 1930s, mostly in the Midwest. Maybe a couple of dozen of them remain; this page shows several.

Standard Oil

While this one still operated as a Standard station, it was known as Jonesy’s. It closed during the 1980s and was threatened with demolition. The city library, which is next door, used it as a storage building for a time until local businessman Don Stein rescued it and got it restored. It is said that more than 40 layers of paint were removed from the inside walls to finally reveal the glazed brick. Also, the roof had fallen and was replaced with “new original stock” red tiles that Standard Oil remarkably still had in storage.

Standard Oil

The building was a petroliana museum for a while, but was later used as a stationary advertisement of sorts for the city of Lafayette. It’s not clear what the building’s use is now. As I researched this station, I found photos from not long ago that show details that are now missing, such as “Jonesey’s” lettering over the door, a “Standard Oil Products” sign over the plate window, and “WASHING” lettering over the left garage bay. At least the letters pictured above remain intact.

If you’d like to see some of the other vintage gas stations I’ve found, check out all of my posts tagged Gas Stations.

Pentax ME, 35mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-A, Fujicolor 200 (at EI 100)

Get more of my photography in your inbox or reader! Click here to subscribe.


Comments

10 responses to “Standard Oil Red Crown station in Lafayette, Indiana”

  1. Dan Cluley Avatar
    Dan Cluley

    There is one in Lansing that has been vacant for as long as I can remember. They did a lot of work on it a few years ago, but then painted all the glazed brick white!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Who knows what makes people do such things!

  2. Heide Avatar
    Heide

    What a treasure! How wonderful that a conservation-minded investor (and an army of volunteers, according to your link) had the will to save this building. Loved your photos, too — the second one, especially, because it shows this lovely old gem in context next to its nondescript modern neighbor. They don’t make ’em like they used to!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It usually takes a determined, well-heeled or -connected person to save buildings like these. Developers generally just think of buildings like this as useless buildings!

  3. Roger Meade Avatar
    Roger Meade

    Another beautiful gem in Lafayette. If you find another one I might have to make a road trip! And that Pentax A 35mm is a gem too. Corner to corner sharp. I will start looking for one.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m really enjoying this lens. It’s a keeper to be sure.

      There’s lots to see in Lafayette! Come back tomorrow for photos of a historic neighborhood there.

  4. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    Old service station architecture is really fascinating! The buildings were designed to sell the products. I recall, as a kid, the Sinclair stations with Dino the Dinosaur. Esso stations were pretty cool too. I walked by one that looked light a lighthouse on my way to junior high school each day. Man, I am old!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I enjoy it too. I should do a post collecting all the old gas stations I’ve photographed over the years.

  5. Yoshimiparis Photographie Avatar

    … I use a translator to write …
    I understand that in the 1980s the establishment was saved by a man who restored this magnificent building.
    Obviously he had to be abandoned again?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It does look to be, if not abandoned, then no longer maintained. It’s a shame!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign up for my newsletter!

Sign up for my monthly newsletter,
Back Roads, and be the first to know
what I'm working on!

%d bloggers like this: