Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Shell Shaped Gas Station

1111 Sprague Street
Original Construction - 1930
Located at 1111 Sprague Street this shell shaped service station is the last of its kind. Eight were originally built in the late 1930s by the local Quality Oil Company in the shape of a giant scallop shell to attract customers. They are all gone! This station, modeled on the brand logo of Royal Dutch-Shell Oil, was constructed of concrete stucco over a bent wood and wire framework. This building survived through the 1970s and '80s as a lawn mower repair place. It slid into disrepair towards the end of the 20th century.

The building is an example of representational or novelty architecture and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on 13 May 1976.

Preservation North Carolina, an organization dedicated to the preservation of historic sites, spent one year and $50,000 to bring the landmark station back to its original condition. Workers removed layers of faded yellow paint to reveal the Shell's original yellow-orange color. The original front door was repaired and a crack fixed that had been previously sealed with nothing more than black tar. The wooden, trellised shelter that housed the car wash and allowed cars to be washed and/or serviced in the shade was reconstructed as well. The oil company donated restored gas pumps and replica lamp posts to help finish off the restoration. The landmark now serves as a satellite office for Preservation North Carolina. If you have never seen this, it is well worth the trip!

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