Gas Stations: Where have they gone?

gunshop

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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5 Responses to Gas Stations: Where have they gone?

  1. Eric Anondson
    Eric Anondson September 23, 2014 at 9:44 am #

    Most urban corner gas stations lost out to the freeway ramp gas stations. Location location location.

  2. Dana DeMaster
    DanaD September 24, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    A lot has to do with credit card fees and decreasing margins on conveinence items.
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303299604577323661725847318

    • Bill Lindeke
      Bill Lindeke September 24, 2014 at 9:37 am #

      Yeah but who’s gonna shed a tear for a gas station? Not I.

  3. Walker Angell
    Walker Angell September 24, 2014 at 11:52 am #

    What’s amazing to me is how often these old stations, once converted, are better architecture and place than any new buildings.

  4. Monte Castleman
    Monte Castleman September 25, 2014 at 7:40 am #

    Gasoline stations are disappearing in the suburbs, too. At one point there were four of them at France and Old Shakopee, three at 98th and Lyndale, three at 95th and Lyndale, now there are none at any of these locations. Although I buy about $75 worth of gasoline every week I always use pay at the pump and never go inside so I guess station owners aren’t making a lot of money off me.

    The trend is definitely towards newer, larger stations, usually but not always near a freeway exit, that don’t have repair bays and have large convenience stores and sometimes a small fast food.

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