Buildings speak to me, often in my father’s voice. I’m especially interested in old buildings, sometimes because they have been abandoned, sometimes because they have been restored.
I was traveling a few hours from home for a VaHomeschoolers Board of Directors meeting a few weeks ago and had been enjoying the scenery as I headed toward the Chesapeake Bay – picturesque bridges over picturesque rivers; white country churches and white farm houses with white fences that could not have been tidier.
An old filling station, meticulously restored, caused me to nearly run off the road as I scrambled for my camera in the small town of Mathews, Virginia.
The structure is basically the same “house and canopy” design of so many of the abandoned gas stations along U.S. 1 in and around South Hill, where we live now. U.S 1, often locally called “Highway 1,” is the old Atlantic Highway that carried travelers from Canada to Miami through countless small towns, predating interstate highways. Remnants of old hotels, tourist homes, and the house and canopy gas stations still dot the Highway 1 roadsides. Many of the old filling stations are crumbling; a few have been haphazardly re-purposed for hay storage or antique stores.
But this building, on Rt 198 in Mathews out East, has been returned to its glory as a filling station — remember when people called gas stations that?
The old gas pumps, the Esso sign, the Standard Oil sign, all the little details were just perfect. I couldn’t tell if the building is now a home or a business, and in case it is a home, I couldn’t bring myself to walk any closer than halfway across the street and risk invading privacy any more than I already was. There was no “antiques” sign; no “open” sign. But the door behind the screen door was partially open.
Does anyone know any details about this building and the wonderfully done restoration?
I’d say buildings speak to the guy who did this restoration, too.