Canon PowerShot S95, 2012

When I started my road-trip hobby, I was entirely interested in finding where the old roads used to go. Major roads were often straightened, widened, and even moved during the 20th century, and I like finding remnants of the original paths.

Along the way, I started to notice what was built along the roadside, especially when they looked old. There are plenty of old houses at the roadside, of course, but also things built specifically to serve the road, like gas stations.

This building used to be a gas station.

I’m nearly certain it was, however. I don’t know for sure, as I’ve not seen historic photos of this building with pumps out front. But after having seen hundreds, maybe thousands, of old gas stations along the roadside, this building looks for all the world like one. It was probably built in the 1920s or 1930s. The gas pumps were probably in front of the building’s central section. The two end sections were probably service bays.

Who knows when this building ceased to be a gas station, but when I made this photo it contained a realty office and a computer repair shop. That’s called “adaptive reuse” in the preservation biz. I looked this place up today and found that the building is now a pizza restaurant. Adaptive reuse continues!

You’ll find this building on State Road 37 in Orleans, Indiana.

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17 responses to “Would you believe this used to be a gas station?”

  1. Steve Lamb Avatar
    Steve Lamb

    Looks similar in style to the old Standard gas station that stood on the SE corner of U.S. 40 and S.R. 59 in Brazil, IN.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Interesting. But the oil companies’ stations all had their own looks back in the day.

  2. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    Back when your corner gas station could actually do repairs on American cars.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Once upon a time.

  3. Suzassippi Avatar

    It was definitely a service station. The Orleans Historic District lists it as an “Art Deco influenced service station” that was built in 1927 by Cap Cornelius, leased by Fred Osborn as a Mobil service station through the mid-1940s. Fire damage in the mid-1940s resulted in remodeling. It reminded me of a similar looking Art Deco school in Flora, Mississippi. The Art Deco style was popular during the 1920s until it gave way to Art Moderne and stripped classic after the onset of the Great Depression. Great photograph.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Nice! I knew it! :-)

  4. Ward Fogelsanger Avatar

    You might have noticed the former Standard ( you expect more and you get it) station across from Roosevelt school on east Main Street in Casey. It was actually still a station when I was in grade school there. Locals said it was the nicest Standard station between Indianapolis and St Louis…

  5. brandib1977 Avatar

    What a fantastic building! I’m so glad you started noticing the things along those roads you were traveling.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      My eye has become quite trained over the years. It’s fun to notice this stuff. It’s more fun when I share it and others appreciate it!

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        You see what you seek. If you’re looking for the old and the interesting you’ll find it everywhere you go. It occurs to me that the desire to share those special finds is part of the reason I blog. I don’t really have anyone to share it with so this is an easy way to do that!

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          That’s one of the main reasons I blog. I have my interests, they’re kind of esoteric, most of my actual friends are polite about them but aren’t really into them. On the Internet, I find my people!

          1. brandib1977 Avatar

            Lol. I hear that. My friends are kind and considerate but they don’t get as excited as I do over a great sign or bend in the road.

  6. M Avatar

    This was my favorite roadside gas station


    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Wow! What a sight that must have been.

  7. J P Avatar

    Wow, this is one of the most ornate old filling stations I have ever seen in Indiana!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s a beauty for sure.

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