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What is: a Texaco gas station with a white Pontiac out front, the ghost town of Glenrio, TX

What was: The Texaco station was built by Joseph (Joe) Brownlee in 1950 on Route 66 at a time when Glenrio, TX was often bumper to bumper with traffic. Interstate 40 opened in 1973 and by 1975, Glenrio was on its way to becoming a ghost town as everything closed up.

Roxann Bownlee, daughter of Joe, grew up helping her father at the gas station.  It was a family enterprise.  In 1970, Roxann married Larry Lee Travis.  With the decline of business in Glenrio, Larry rented the Standard Service Station near Adrian, Texas and each day drove the 25 miles to Adrian in his white Pontiac.

At the time, a group of gas, shop and service station owners had banded together as a vigilante force to patrol the streets of Vega and Adrian.  On March 7th a 23-year-old Texan called Lewis Steven Powell entered the Standard Service Station. No-one knows what happened in those few minutes, whether Larry – proud of his hard work – refused to hand over his takings, but Powell made him kneel down and shot him in the back of the head before robbing the till.

Larry never came home, but his Pontiac Catalina did, and it keeps silent sentinel in Glenrio. Roxann still lives in the house behind with family and dogs, one of the few remaining resident of Glenrio.


What is: A Ford panel sedan delivery truck, at the side of the road, Route 66

What was: Chevrolet is often credited with offering the first true sedan delivery body style in 1928. However, Ford was a leading purveyor of Sedan Delivery vehicles throughout the 1930s. Much of the sheet metal, including the fenders and front doghouse, is shared with the ’37 Ford passenger car. In the 1940s Ford’s Sedan Deliveries carried the styling of Deluxe-series cars — slated “gills” flanking a horizontal-bar grille. Sedan Deliveries also got a larger cargo body that year.

Inside was a beautiful art-deco dashboard, in contrasting colors. Standard equipment included a column gearshift, dual wipers and visors, ashtrays on both sides, full insulation and interior lining — even a clock. Many connoisseurs of design declare it the best-looking sedan delivery ever. There were about 5300 Ford Sedan Delivery models made in 1940. The 1942 Ford Sedan Delivery is rare, as all civilian vehicle manufacturing was halted shortly after Pearl Harbor. Passenger car-based delivery models would not return at Ford until 1952.

Panel trucks were used by construction and maintenance contractors, by farmers for selling fruits and vegetables, delivery vehicles and configured as ambulances and hearses.

The period of time spanning the late 1940’s to the late 1950’s was the golden age of the Sedan Delivery. While Chevrolet and Ford dominated the Sedan Delivery market, a few other manufacturers (such as Pontiac and Studebaker) got in on the action as well. In 1960, Ford’s Sedan Delivery ambitions were transferred from the full-sized Ford line to the brand-new Falcon platform. The Falcon-based vehicle was offered through 1965.