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    First 66 Book

  • July 2009
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Oklahoma Gas Stations

Oklahomans built serious gas stations along Route 66, possibly because they pumped so much oil, possibly because it was so hot in the summer. Big canopies over the pumping area were the rule.

Davenport, Oklahoma

Davenport, Oklahoma

A single column supported the canopy at the gas station in Davenport.

Cities Service Station, Afton, Oklahoma

Cities Service Station, Afton, Oklahoma

Cities Service built a station that was more clearly Spanish in its design with its rough stucco finish, heavy arched porte cochere, and green-painted tin-tile roof. A canopy must have been attached to the flat surface on the front of the porte cochere. Under the porte cochere, two storefronts–enough room for a cafe and a gas station office–monitored the service area. Tiny square rest rooms with over-scaled hipped roofs were added in adjacent buildings. Cities Service provided living quarters¬† in the rear for the agent, Doc Story, who operated the station.

Afton, Oklahoma Gas Station, Now a museum.

Afton, Oklahoma Gas Station

In Afton, Laurel Kane has rehabed this handsome Spanish-style DX station close by the Cities Statin. Like the others it has a big canopy.

As 66 traveled further and further west and the summer weather got hotter and hotter, the canopies got bigger and bigger until you reached the Mojave Desert, when they got bigger than the building itself.

Chambless Camp, Chambless, California

Chambless Camp, Chambless, California

James Albert Chambless and his children came west from Arkansas in the 1920s and settled near Amboy.¬† When they saw opportunity in the Cadiz valley, each family member, James, Melvane, and Pearl, took a desert homestead–160 acres–and improved it. They mined their land, and built a roadside business along the newly designated U.S. 66. When the highway moved to Cadiz in 1932, the family moved with it and built Chambless Camp.