Decades before Holiday Station Stores, Pump and Munch, Super America an British Petroleum came up over the horizon, South Minneapolis was littered with tiny independently owned service stations. Many of these little building are still standing. Some have been repurposed as law offices, flowers shops, permaculture cafes and acupuncture clinics. Their parking lots and driveways have become gardens and courtyards. At the turn of the century, I used to sit across the street from the Shenandoah Wellness Center, sipping coffee at Sovereign Grounds. Back then the building was being used as a Gun Shop. The owner used to come in from time to time and explain to me how the city was trying to run him out of business. I remember he had a huge yellow smiley face painted on the old gas station’s garage door. When I came down West 48th on my bike the other day, I took a moment at the corner and imagined David Byrne waving to me from from across the street. He was wearing that big suit from the Stop Making Sense movie and when I got off my bike he started singing (Nothing But) Flowers….
From the age of the dinosaurs
Cars have run on gasoline
Where, where have they gone?
Now, it’s nothing but flowers
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