Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Reflecting upon yesterdays post, I’ve been thinking about how well the old gas stations, banks and grocery stores are holding up with their new purposes.

I mentioned that the two old Safeway markets have been torn down, but the former Thriftway/Albertsons in Warrenton is now Ross. The former Youngs Bay Sentry is now a shop for Astoria Ford. I think the Astoria Senior Center was a grocery store. Locals, please correct me if I am wrong.

In Astoria a former bank is now a spa. In Seaside the old First Interstate bank is now a bagel shop.

Service stations are doing well in their new lives. Guy’s muffler shop in Seaside was an old service station. I think the coffee shop at Smith Point was a station as well. Again, locals can correct me if I’m wrong. There is an old gas station on Marine drive in Astoria that still does mechanical work though it has no gas pumps. The old station in Hammond is a convenience store without pumps. There is an abandoned station across from the Post Office in Hammond. There is another abandoned station next to the Bay View Motel and a recently disused station in Svensen. There are several stations in Jeffer’s Gardens, one now sells tile. Another sells wood and pellet stoves. Before that it was a quilt shop. Another is now a body shop.

It seems that old service stations are just the right size for most small businesses, be it mechanical or retail. Having a quilting shop or a coffee shop in one just strikes me as being really cool. Put any kind of a shop in an old service station and I’ll be going in to check it out. Though the smell of gas, oil, grease, antifreeze and new tires is long gone the spirit still lingers. My imagination can still see a wiry man in a jump suit with his name patch sewn above a pocket holding a tire gauge. He wears a hat and has an oily rag hanging from his right pants pocket.

There is a spirit of history in these old building. This is where someone made a living and supported their family and funded their dreams or more probably the dreams of their children.


Blogger darev2005 said...

It would be nice if they put service stations back in the old service stations. I miss those. On the other hand, I would put a combination used book store and coffee shop in an old bank. With a big humidor for pipe tobacco. That combination of smells would keep people coming in.

6:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re-purposed, Evidently.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

There was/is? a vet clinic in Medford OR that used to be a gas station...you can still imagine it if you squint your eyes.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are right about the Smith Point Coffee shop. Used to be Kankonen's service station. After it was determined his tanks were leaking he took over a station that is now a funky little used car lot just east of 23rd street. A little further east at 31st there is a service station run by some hillbillies with cheap gas and repair. Unless your car is old enough to vote, I wouldn't recommend them working on it. The Astoria Senior Center was never a grocery to my knowledge it was a furniture store. There is a little service station station on Warrenton that's been owned by the same old old guy for forty forevers. He used to take his wife dancing every Saturday night at The Club restaurant. If you had a dead battery, a flat, or dirty filters he'd still hook you up. 30 years ago there were lots of little neighborhood service stations. Hilltop at 8th & Niagra was another. It's not a service station but it's nice to see the Astor Court store open again even though it's just a coffee hangout for folks with nothing better to do.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Seasidedan said...

Right across from Guy's is another old gas station, now a laundramat/convenience store. My favorite was torn down when the Megler Bridge was built - Uno Niemi
had a Texaco station where the firehouse is now with apartments in
the back for over 50 years - gold watch and all.

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an 81 year old life-long Astorian, I have a few memories to add to this interesting topic. I believe that the original tenant in the Senior Center building was a new car agency. When the Astoria Library moved from the ground floor of the Elks Building, they moved into that location for several years. Hunts Furniture store spent a number of years there before they moved to their present location.

There was a gas station in the building that is now the Shipyard Bar & Grill. The pumps were located at a diagonal angle on the corner of 9th & Commercial.

8:23 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Darev, an old service station would be a great building for it. The perfect size.

Anon. evidently a good word, re-purposed.

Teri, what is your connection with Oregon?

Anon, I forgot about the hilltop one. Good catch.

Seaside Dan, yep I forgot about that one, too, but I have seen it.

Anon, it's an honor to have a local 81 year old reply. Thanks for the history. It's interesting to see all the purposes these buildings have had over the generations, and then there are the old Safeways that get torn down because they are obsolete in 30 years.

5:37 AM  
Blogger Al said...

Nearly out in the country in Fairfield, CA - far off the Interstate, an old gas station is home to an artist's co-op - surprising find in Fairfield, home of the chain stores. I found a beautiful pit fired horse hair bowl there that I adore. And, the old gas station is still cool to look at.

9:34 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Al, they are indeed.

5:17 AM  

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