We’re standing at the corner of Lake & Central in Delaware, Ohio.
Tired of the snow, you say? I suppose you could check this older view of the station. But time marches on, does it not?
I’m sorry—and can completely understand, especially as the stuff was until this morning in today’s forecast—but thought you might forgive seeing the last scraps of it. (Hey, at least the first photo involves no snow whatsoever.)
Somehow, these photos of Delaware, Ohio’s octagonal filling station got lost in the shuffle, so we’ll have to put up with the snow—but I think you’ll like them anyhow.
This is one of the vintage filling stations I mentioned in my January post about old gas stations finding new life—though of the several on my mind at the time, it is certainly the most memorable and probably my favourite.
Unfortunately, not much seems to be known about this charmer. According to fellow roadside Americana lover & photographer Debra, Delaware’s octagonal filling station came into life as a Linco (read more about Lincoln, an Ohio oil & gasoline company usually shortened to “Linco”, here, here) around 1925 (or is it 1934?), becoming a Marathon in the 40s. At some point, someone added the multi-windowed rectangular building next door to serve as a garage; in the late 1960s or early 1970s, though, the station closed.
After a 2007 restoration (here she is in ’08), the buildings were put to auction in ’12; obviously, nothing much seems to have happened since then. I actually remember the auction signs—we’d just moved to Ohio—but have learned nothing. Some fear (rightly so) that this charming little piece of America’s roadside history could be razed. I’m not sure the lack of activity since 2012 is a good or bad thing.
According to this, the station and its service bay were both manufactured by Union Metal, a Canton, Ohio company that sold quite a few “ornamental” metal gas stations. Speaking for myself and probably a few roadside Americana fans, I’d love to see stations like this make a comeback, though they’re hardly big enough for the minimarts so often accompanying gas stations today! (Darn.)
Also, if it is indeed metal (and glass, obviously), I imagine the station would be fairly lightweight; therefore, it might be less difficult to move than some other buildings. It would be so much better if someone would buy the buildings themselves and do something else with them—perhaps the Columbus Zoo could turn them into a mini-exhibit or cooling spot or something of that nature, or a local park could put their mini-golf office or even entire park office inside. Something. Yes? Should I send an email to Jack Hanna?
Learning the station is metal semi-affirms my curious suspicion about the “clay tiles” atop the station; peering at them from below, I wondered if they were halved-and-painted coffee cans. That is, after all, the sort of ingenious re-use Americans were quite good at! Knowing that this is an old Union Metal station, seems I was pretty close, don’t you think?
Well, knowing my affection for re-use of vintage filling stations like this one…What would you like to do with it? I’ve grown instantly fond of my idea of suggesting Mr. Hanna pick it up for the Columbus Zoo, but also think this might make a fine coffee shop or better yet, bakery. I say “better yet” because as you can imagine, and especially if you’ve looked at the older photos I’ve linked to, in addition to the main building’s small size, there’s not much parking on the site, so the business would need to be a fairly quick in-and-out sort of place.
Coffee shop, bakery, pet grooming place? Avian veterinary office? Art frame shop? Small art gallery? Vintage apparel shop (those little rooms inside would make a good office & changing room). What do you think?
I do hope you’ve enjoyed our wintry little tour of Delaware’s octagon gas station. And I also hope someone with the means recognizes it for what it is, snaps it up, and brings it to life once more so its doors can open again.
Notes & Asides
I also could not decide which photo of that fantastic, masculine garage I liked better, so here it is in colour, too! These are too new to be in the shop, but if you’d like one, please drop me a line (my email is at the top of the sidebar on your right).
Take a look at additional Union Metal Ornamental gas station designs!
Know more about this semi-abandoned octagon filling station? Please share!