Roadside Sentinel #5520

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The Story

I had heard about this rustic country gas station nearby and a friend and I set out on a fall day to find it. It took all day with lots of nooks and crannies across the landscape were explored. Most of it was driving up and down little country roads that were lucky to have ever seen asphalt, plus a few stops to talk to the locals. Poking around for most of the day, we eventually found it!

This is a classic country gas station sitting out in the Pennsylvania jingweeds: one small building with a single rusty and faded Atlantic gas pump. One flavor of fuel was it! All told, this is a rare Smithsonian-grade artifact from an America that just ain’t anymore. You can hardly find them in the wild at all these days if there are even any left.

It was amazing to see 29.9 cents a gallon showing on the rusty Atlantic gas pump, which meant this filling station pumped its last around 1970. ARCO hadn’t been thought of yet. A blackened light bulb remained in the lampshade and the fill hose had fallen off the pump and was laying in the weeds. There was stillness, the woods, a few houses, and a long way to go to town. Once in a while, a car would go by. Surprisingly, it sat exactly like this until a few years ago when the gas pump was taken out and the building collapsed from rotted sills.

On your way to happy motoring, it was the kind of old-time service station you’d buy a small bag of chips and a Nehi soda with your fill up, but nowadays it serves up only memories through this image. There is another good view of this gas station in winter snow as Octane Alley #10226. Each seasonal view of the place has a distinct character and I certainly enjoy them both.

Location: near Saxton, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Image and text ©Andrew N Dierks

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