Bucyrus, Ohio – July 2018 – Time Warp Travel for Gas Stations Continued

Another weekend of travel has allowed us to check out not 1 or 2 restored gas stations, but 3. Two of the stations are in the same small Ohio town of Bucyrus.

First up is a Sinclair Station.

2018 07 14 4 Bucyrus OH Restored Gas Stations.jpg

 

 

This station is next door to a repair shop owned by Carl. We stopped by at 7 AM on a Saturday morning and Carl was just opening his business up for the morning, and invited us in. Carl has a large collection of auto related items – so much in fact that the TV show American Pickers once paid him a visit.

2018 07 14 5 Bucyrus OH Restored Gas Stations.jpg

 

 

Just outside of town is a small restored Marathon station called ‘Mom and Pops’. We saw someone walking out of the driveway as we drove up and asked him it if the station was his. He replied no – but yelled at ‘Bob’ who was outside the house next door if it was ok if we took some photos. Bob yelled back ‘ yep thats what it is there for’.

2018 07 14 10 Bucyrus OH Restored Gas Stations.jpg

 

 

In the early days the stations were tiny little buildings, unless they did service.

2018 07 14 12 Bucyrus OH Restored Gas Stations.jpg

 

 

This station was well restored.

2018 07 14 13 Bucyrus OH Restored Gas Stations.jpg

 

 

As our weekend continued we found ourselves back in Plymouth, Indiana for a stop for dinner. We have previously visited this Mobil station, but in the rain. This gave us a chance to get some photos in better weather.

2018 07 16 322 Plymouth IN Restore Gas Station.jpg

 

 

And the time warp gas station travel continued.

2018 07 16 324 Plymouth IN Restore Gas Station.jpg

 

 

On our way home from Pittsburgh we stopped in Steubenville at a auto repair shop that is actually a fully restored Sohio station.

When John Rockefeller had grown Standard Oil to be a monopoly the government forced them to break up – as a result there were a number of Standard Oil companies in different states (not a full list):

Standard Oil of New Jersey – Esso, which became Exxon

Standard Oil of New York – Socony, which became Mobil

Standard Oil of California – Socal, which became Chevron

Standard Oil of Indiana – Stanolind, which became Amoco

Standard Oil of Ohio – Sohio. In the 1980s BP bought Sohio and converted all the stations to BP.

2018 07 08 348 Steubenville OH.jpg

 

There are many people who are collectors of ‘petroliana’, old gas station items. Barry Robb must have been one of those people. According to their website Barry was an assistant manager of a former owner, and he took over the station in 1986, operating it as a BP station.

In 2011 their agreement with BP ran out. They restored the look of the original Sohio station, and continued in business as a repair shop only (as well as a museum).

As a side note Sunset and Wilshire looks nothing like the one in California, but still a nice neighborhood.

2018 07 08 351 Steubenville OH.jpg

 

 

Out front is a collection of pumps from various eras.

2018 07 08 349 Steubenville OH.jpg

 

 

While inside (it was closed this day – photos taken through the glass) is a collection of smaller items.

2018 07 08 359 Steubenville OH.jpg

 

 

Interestingly next door is a modern gas station/mini mart.

2018 07 08 358 Steubenville OH.jpg

 

 

 

After checking out my photos I realized that we have recently came across 3 fully restored stations, and all 3 times we had the same car with us.

2016 11 11 34 Winston Salem NC.jpg

 

 

This spectacular Shell station is in Winston Salem, North Carolina.

2016 11 11 30 Winston Salem NC.jpg

 

 

Today it serves as a tourist information center.

2016 11 11 31 Winston Salem NC.jpg

 

 

Shaped like a giant scallop shell, it is the last of a handful that a local oil company owner had built in the 1930s.

2016 11 11 32 Winston Salem NC.jpg

 

 

Another restored gas station – another shot with the GTI in it. This one is a Mobil station in Plymouth, Indiana.

2016 10 16 3 Plymouth IN.jpg

 

 

To add to their atmosphere they have a restored police car in the parking lot.

2016 10 16 1 Plymouth IN.jpg

 

 

Much like the Sohio station in Steubenville their interior has a collection of smalls for Mobil.

2016 10 16 4 Plymouth IN.jpg

 

 

They also have a restored tow truck.

2016 10 16 6 Plymouth IN.jpg

 

 

 

 

Steubenville, OH – December 2016 – Giant Nutcrackers

Christmas eve found us making a quick trip to Steubenville to see a collection of giant themed nutcrackers. But first we made a few stops, starting in the small town of Dresden, where there is yet another giant basket. It was once the home of the Longaberger Basket company, before they moved to their even larger, 7 story basket in Newark.

2016 12 24 2 Dresden OH.jpg

 

Later we made a stop in New Rumney, Ohio to visit the Ohio Historical Society tribute to the native son George Custer.

2016 12 24 21 New Rumney OH Custer Monument.jpg

 

As we reached Steubenville we found a nicely restored 1970s Sohio Gas Station, complete with memorabilia inside. Functioning today as just a garage, with the signs at the pumps pointing out ‘no gas  – just memories’; the garage was supposed to be closed that day but someone was working on a car and let us in to check it out.

2016 12 24 29 Steubenville OH Sohio Museum.jpg

 

Finally we arrived at Fort Steuben to the nutcracker display. A local family, whom we met when we were there, designed and built all of them. With over 100 of them all featuring a famous character or person, it was a very impressive display.

2016 12 24 95 Steubenville OH Nutracker Village.jpg

 

As you entered you came upon the Rat Pack, including Steubenville favorite son Dean Martin.

2016 12 24 34 Steubenville OH Nutracker Village.jpg

 

The hundred characters lined both sides of the sidewalks leading to the old fort.

2016 12 24 83 Steubenville OH Nutracker Village.jpg

 

As we were leaving Steubenville we came upon a sculpture honoring the steel workers, overlooking the valley with the mills still cranking out smoke.

2016 12 24 117 Steubenville OH.jpg

 

Our day to Steubenville turned out to be a really good day, with the nutcrackers easily being the highlight.

Western Pennsylvania – March 2016 – Chainsaws and Groundhogs

The second full weekend in March was very warm and snow free so we decided to make a run to Western Pennsylvania for a few sights. But first we made a stop in Warren, Ohio to check out Dave Grohl Alley. Dave was born in Warren, but moved to Washington DC at a young age. Still Warren is proud he was born there and have a Dave Grohl Alley in downtown Warren, next door to a Burger King. The display is pretty cool, and since he specialized in Grunge rock being in a grungy alley somehow seems appropriate.

2016 03 11 13 Warren Ohio.jpg

We continued our drive until we reached Clarion, Pennsylvania where we spent the night. Early the next morning we were on our way to Ridgway, our destination, for the annual Chainsaw Carvers Rendevous. This event draws artists from all over North America and Europe, well over 100 different artists. We arrived to the sound of chainsaw and the smell of wood, nothing like chainsaws in the morning.

The festival had been going on for a couple of days so there were already a number of completed carvings, with each artist displaying their work in their own booth. The booths lined 3 streets for about 10 blocks. If they weren’t blasting away with a chainsaw they were more than happy to talk about their works, and their story on how they got into chainsaw carvings. Amazingly everyone I shook hands with had all of their fingers.

2016 03 12 15 Ridgway PA Chainsaw Carvers Rendevous.jpg

We spent a long time talking with a couple of the competitors who had come down from Ontario. They said it is easier to get chainsaws into America than it is to get guns into Canada, which makes total sense to me.

While there were plenty of bears and eagles, the collections didn’t stop there. In the first block alone we saw two squirrels fighting with light swords, a horned/winged female with two giant serrated knives (which I can’t even begin to give a name to what she represented but I know I wouldn’t want to meet her live), a Sasquatch,  a knight and a crab.

There are two primary objectives to the festival; win the competition and sell their work. They start with a large block off wood, carve the basics with the chainsaw and then do the finish work with Dremel tools. Depending on the intricacy it takes them anywhere from 1 to 4 hours, or more.

2016 03 12 138 Ridgway PA Chainsaw Carvers Rendevous.jpg

The contestants were all very happy about the March weather in North Central Pennsylvania, as it is usually brutally cold, earning the town the nickname of Fridgway. After spending a few hours wandering the streets we headed on, but very satisfied we made the long drive to Pennsylvania for a bunch of chainsaw people.

Our next stop, about an hour away, was Punxsutawney,  home (of course) of Phil, the prognosticating groundhog. The town clearly plays it up to the hilt, with fiberglass Phil’s decorated as different characters displayed around town. The real Phil has a home in the local library, where you can go see him anytime, which we did. Having lived in Pennsylvania previously we knew that the Groundhog Day movie itself wasn’t filmed there (it was filmed in Illinois), but it still a nice little town and well worth a visit. Someday I will go freeze my tushie off and get up at 4 AM to see a rodent pulled out of a tree stump, but that will have to wait until another year.

2016 03 12 232 Punxsutawney PA.jpg

Our day ended in Latrobe, home of Arnold Palmer,Pittsburgh Steelers training camp, Mister Rogers and the Banana Split. Having lived there it is always interesting to stop by when we can. We went to the highest rated restaurant on Tripadvisor, only to discover someone in Pennsylvania is doing a poor job of rating, because it wasn’t good, but at least before we went we stopped at the Four Seasons Microbrewery, which was excellent.  Our hotel in Latrobe had a nice little Arnold Palmer display of old golf equipment.

2016 03 12 284 Latrobe PA.jpg

The next day we drove into Pittsburgh for a couple of Roadside America sights, starting with a McDonald’s in Irwin that was the birthplace of the Big Mac, complete with a mini McDonald’s museum. From there we went down to the South Side to see Fredasaurus Rex, a fiberglass dinosaur decked out like Fred Rogers. Also in Pittsburgh was a collection of quirky looking musicians sculptures, a growing vertical garden up the side of a skyscraper, and a randomly place 10′ pole at a 60 degree angle with little people glued to the top of it at Carnegie Mellon University. With all of those engineers you think they could get it level.

2016 03 13 22 Pittsburgh.jpg

The highlight of our morning in Pittsburgh was a stop at Bicycle Heaven. Founded in 1996 by someone who found a bike in a junk pile, he started selling used bikes and collecting vintage ones, ending up with over 3000 bike scattered in a number of garages. In 2011 he took over an old industrial building on Pittsburgh’s northside, and now it is one of the largest bicycle museums in the world.

We roamed the multiple levels of bikes stuffed absolutely everywhere. Interspersed with the bikes were various collections or art works made out of bike parts, including a chain of gear shifters. One room was full of tires and inner tubes, the walls covered in forks and seats. They even had a day glo room where all of the bikes and parts were painted in day glo paint lit up by black light.

The collection featured a number of bikes with advertising from various companies; Oreo Cookie Bikes, Volkswagen, Rolling Rock, and a Pittsburgh Steelers bike. The latter was in a large display of Pittsburgh sport memorabilia including nearly 100 bobble heads, statues and photos. A stop at Bicycle Heaven is very highly recommended.

2016 03 13 111 Pittsburgh Bicycle Heaven.jpg

Not far from Bicycle Heaven is Randyland, in the Mexican War Streets area of the northside. Randyland is an explosion of color in a courtyard and sides of some old row houses. He purchased a number of the abandoned buildings in 1996 to start Randyland. According to an article on Randy, he is sort of like Mister Rogers on speed. Unfortunately Randy was out the day we were there, but a volunteer was hanging around and let us in.

One complete wall is a 40 foot high mural with dinosaurs, butterflies, giant ladybugs, waterfalls, mountains, two moons, a castle, and birds. There are planters made from sewer pipes; plastic pink flamingos and parrots amid the banana trees; old metal lawn chairs hang from a fire escape, and mannequins just hanging around.

2016 03 13 204 Pittsburgh Randyland.jpg

The entire place is painted in bright colors, as though a giant PPG can puked over the entire place. Having seen this neighborhood in the old days, it has taken a bright turn for the better with Randyland.

Before we left town though we stopped by Jerry’s Records in Squirrel Hill. If you are a music fan, and have any appreciation at all of records you must go to Jerry’s at least once. Jerry, who used to bear an amazing resemblence to Jerry Garcia, has the upper floor of a strip of businesses. The building must be strong because there are nearly a million records in stacks and stacks of shelves. We were lucky on this day as Jerry was in the house, even posing for a picture. But alas it is time to leave the Burgh.

A scenic route home took us through Steubenville to find a Dean Martin mural, amazingly (and sadly) painted on the side of a Kroger store. How can you paint a mural of arguably the coolest person ever from Ohio on the side of a damn grocery  store? We moved on to another ‘cool Ohioan’ landmark, Clark Gable’s childhood home in Cadiz, but it was closed.

2016 03 13 244 Steubenville.jpg

Our last stop home was in the tiny little town of Peoli, home of Cy Young’s eternal resting spot. His grave is adorned with old baseballs people leave as a tribute. We stood in the drizzle admiring this as the Amish buggies would roll by. I could only wonder what those people think of some crazy people standing in a cemetery looking at a headstone full of baseballs.

2016 03 13 254 Peoli OH.jpg