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Terry Bond

Old Gas Stations

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A long-time "dream" of mine has always been to rescue one of the old abandoned gas stations found on back country roads.  There are fewer and fewer of them still standing, and although we have plenty of room the thought of rescuing one is rather intimidating.  Who out there has dismantled, hauled, and reassembled a real old gas station?  Sounds like an interesting potential retirement project but what are the pitfalls (no pun intended).  How expensive was your experience and what were some of the surprises encountered along the way?  I know there must be some great stories out there so you can either inspire me, or discourage me.  Open slate right now. 

Terry

 

Old gas station.jpg

Edited by Terry Bond (see edit history)

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I share your fascination with old gas stations, and, at one time, had considered buying one and 'saving' it from the wrecking ball.  I've never rescued an old gas station, so I don't know a lot about the process; however, part of the "PROCESS" will involve the EPA and/or its local counterpart(s).  At the very least, numerous soil samples and groundwater samples will be required to determine whether or not the site has been contaminated by an old leaking gas tank.  If the "PROCESS" reveals even minimal contamination, costs will probably soar out of sight, making any further attempt at rescue a budget buster.  If you find a likely candidate for rescue, have  an environmental site survey performed before spending any significant $$$.

 

What is the status of the gas station shown in your photo?  It appears to be a likely candidate.  A frame structure like that could be moved to another site, thus obviating the need for the participation of governmental environmental Nazis agencies.

 

Good luck and keep us informed of your progress.

 

Cheers,

Grog

 

 

Edited by capngrog (see edit history)

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First place I would start would be to contact a professional (if you haven't done so yet) in order to see if it's feasible and within your budget. I would imagine anyone with moving experience can give you a short list to get you started toward a more educated understanding of what it will take better than anyone on the forum can. Traffic control, fees per mile, codes, etc... are just a few that comes to mind for a list of questions to ask.

 

This outfit looks very experienced and work nation wide, I'd try giving them a call.

 

https://www.wolfehousebuildingmovers.com/services/house-building-moving/

Edited by 30DodgePanel (see edit history)

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If we are talking about a move, then the soil issue is moot.

 

You would be surprised how big a house can be and still dissembled and moved.  A gas station such was what you are showing is no big deal at all.  My advice would be to pick the perfect one for your use, spend a bit more money and then have it professionally disassembled and moved.  You can google up companies in your part of the country that do that work.

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we've got a great house moving company locally.  They moved the cape Hatteras Light House!   Was going to search for something similar to the one pictured.  It's actually in North Carolina.   Was hopeful I could find something smaller that's part little country store with the awning out front covering the gas pumps.  Have seen several recreated but I'd rather have an old original.  My idea was to dismantle an existing building, load it on a trailer and haul it home to reassemble here on a new foundation, and try to return it to authentic appearance with gas pumps, signs, etc.  My wife designs houses so I can get a pretty good discount on blue-prints.  I think taking measurements and having a good blue-print of the existing structure would be a key to successful reassembly.    I don't think we would need to be concerned about EPA, etc for just dismantling the building and moving it.  Of course pumps at the new location would be non-functional.  Pumps are long-gone at the majority of these old stations and what became of the underground tanks isn't something that has any connection to the building itself. 

 

A few years ago I almost got one up on the Eastern Shore.  Saw the perfect building and stopped to ask permission to take some photos.  The family that owned it needed to get it torn down or moved as they were going to sell the property.  They asked me to make an offer on it, but within a month, the land sold and when I next went up that direction it was gone.  Probably scrapped!

 

I could have my wife design one and build a replica, but that doesn't sound quite right.  

 

I love those old Pure stations, but doing a brick building is not something that excites me. This little Pure station is located just off Route 13 near Cape Charles, Va.

 

Gas Station Pure Oil Company, abandoned.jpg

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I guess the other issue is your local building inspector and zone issues.   One of the reason period buildings looks so good is they don't have the same building code rules applied that a modern structure would have.  Biggest offender is 2nd floor windows have to be large enough for a 250lb fireman with full equipment to walk through.

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You are in Virginia, come see these exhibits, antique buildings all moved from around the area I grew up in. Gas stations, repair shops, fire tower, Baptist Church, and many more buildings.

 

https://www.fielddayofthepast.net/

 

Hit and miss, steam engines, stationary diesels, steam saw mill, etc etc etc.

 

They also have free admission if you drive in your antique car on Saturday of the fall show.

 

I'm sure they can tell you the stories of how to move buildings!

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A few years ago I would pass one every day on my way to work. The front windows were curved glass making the front almost round. Always thought about doing the same thing as you are considering with this building. I was even considering just buying the windows and doors and building a new one with the original parts I saved seeing it was a block building and pricy to move. Then one Monday morning driving into work there was only fresh dirt on the spot it sat with a for sale sign. 

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And poor "little Pure station" above has numbered days. First  the roof goes , and then soon the rest.   - Carl

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The building codes are supposed to be the same nationwide but each municipality usually has it's own set of rules. In many locations, any building under 1000 square foot area can be built without local inspections but almost all areas require zoning permits for pre-determined setbacks and you can only build up to a certain percentage of your property's total square footage. If your property is large enough, you shouldn't have much issue of relocation but moving a structure can be quite expensive unless it can be broken down into small sections. While building a replica isn't the same as having the real building, an accurate copy can still capture the style and appearance of the original whilst preserving the heritage and history of such structures that will eventually be lost to time. Many of these old stations are in such bad structural condition that even if moved, there would be a great expense in repair costs. Good luck to you in whatever decision you make. If I had the place and money I would like to save one too!

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Last year took trip through south west      came across this station in Utah------  little mormon town------  not pumping gas     talked with owner        people from all over the world drive by and sign guest book   also has parts in back

DSCN3385 - Copy.JPG

DSCN3386 - Copy.JPG

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The Historical Society in Lebanon, Ohio moved the Shell station and restored it 10 or 15 years ago.  

They have it set up so you can pull off the street to take photos.

When I took this photo, the local cop stopped to watch, waved, and drove on with a smile.

 

58ff3d5b65384_DSC00282(2014_01_1721_47_19UTC).thumb.JPG.16fe6a2baa535bebec5e3fb3fec0aac3.JPG

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Here is one in my neighborhood in Fort Worth that just sits...the column to the left just gets worse and worse.

normal_1700_Alston_2008.JPG

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