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Good Roads through the Red River Valley


A disused Mobil station in downtown Wichita Falls.

The earliest "roads" in the Red River Valley were stagecoach routes. These could be fairly wide, but due to the horse's hoofs, the roadbeds became very silty and rutted. That's how the Good Roads Movement began: bicyclists and then, automobile motorists, did not want to break their spines as they took these roads. So, the Good Roads Movement was a turn-of-the-century (20th) collaboration between popular demands and politicians to create road beds suitable for trade and tourism. And what do motorists need? Gas stations!

Old gas stations brands can often be discerned by their architecture. Early Phillips 66 stations, for example, had pitched roofs; during the Space Age, they sported large windows and up-ward sloping overhangs. Humble Oil stations wer
e designed with beautiful tiles. Signs are dead give-a-ways, too. Who doesn't know Mobile's Pegasus and Texaco's star?

Like in history, today's gas stations not only sell gas but food and drinks as well. Unlike yesteryear, however, most of the present stations do not have mechanics on duty. Some have "inter-stated" themselves (yes, that's a word. Well, kind of). They have become ubiquitous megaliths. It's just a matter of time that the old service stations, like so many places that hark to vintage Americana, will be swallowed up by multi-state blandness. So below is a pictorial salute to these ancient relics of the automobile age.

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