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Ye Olde Roads


A disused Mobil station in downtown Wichita Falls.

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There's nothing better than taking a road trip. But when you've been driving on hot, dusty roads or in the hot, swampy backwaters, there's nothing better than stopping at a way-side station to enjoy an ice cold drink and wolf down a sandwich.

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 were 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, like QuickTrips and RaceTracks and, heaven forbid, Buckees. 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 here's a pictorial salute to these ancient relics of the automobile age.

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