I don’t have a big story for you about this place. It is an abandoned and destroyed gas station on Route 66, Conway, Texas. That’s all I got.
I have no big story…an abandoned gas station and sign near Conway, Texas along Route 66.
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: “Self serve Diesel” but no pumps…the lights are still there and so is the sign. The garage remains too…but not the diner.
What was: The truck terminal dated back to the heyday of Route 66 in the early 1960s, maybe as early as 1955. The neon wheels, the cowboy truck driver, and his animated hand waved during its hey day.
It was one of seven truck stops and five cafes originally built and operated by Bessie (Rogers) Boren and husband Ira Lionel Boren of the Fort Sumner-based Rio Pecos Oil Company.“We had it from 1963 to 1969,” Martinez said. “We were doing a hell of a business at that truck stop.”The business declined from other truck-stop competition and the coming of Interstate 40. It closed by the late 1970s or early 1980s.
Since then, it has become a growing eyesore to the city because it drew vandals and homeless squatters. The city tried to buy the sign…the owner wanted too much for it.
What is: A Simple Spot, Phillips 66 in Adrian TX.
What was: This 1920s cottage style Phillips station was originally Knox’s Phillips 66 and located in Vega, Texas. It was moved to the town of Adrian, TX in 2016. Adrian is known as the midpoint of Route 66. It apparently patiently waits its turn at restoration. The owners, who also own the Bent Door Cafe next door, are rumored to be turning this little spot into a souvenir shop.
According to the Phillips Petroleum Company Museum in Bartlesville, the “Phillips 66” name for the gasoline came about by a combination of events. The specific gravity of the gasoline was close to 66; the car testing the fuel did 66 miles per hour; and, the test took place on US Route 66.
The advent of the Interstate highways routed traffic away from the once-thriving, often family owned gas stations, now located on secondary roads, many falling into disrepair.
In 1969, there were 236,000 gas stations. By 2016, there were 111,000 retail locations in the U.S. that sell fuel to the public.
What is: the Dockery Farms Service Station, between Cleveland and Ruleville, Mississippi
What was: The service station/store, circa 1935, contained the general farm office and Joe Rice Dockery’s private office (Lester, 2005). It retains its original glass front counters, and a scale is visible through one of the front windows.
From Smithsonian Magazine: The plantation was founded on the vision of Will Dockery, a graduate of the University of Mississippi, who took a $1,000 gift from his grandmother and purchased tracts of Delta wilderness in 1885. Over a decade, the transformed the land into a cotton plantation. Eventually, the company town had an elementary school, churches, post and telegraph offices, a resident doctor, a ferry, a blacksmith shop, a cotton gin, cemeteries, picnic grounds for the workers, its own currency, and a commissary that sold dry goods, furniture, and groceries. To ship out the cotton, Dockery built a railroad depot and a spur route, named the Pea Vine for its twisted path, was laid from the main station in nearby Boyle (Patton’s “Pea Vine Blues” pays tribute to the line). At one time, roughly 3,000 people lived on the plantation’s 40 square miles.
Dockery Farms is widely regarded as the place where Delta blues music was born. Blues musicians resident at Dockery included Charley Patton, Robert Johnson (sold his soul to the develi) and Howlin’ Wolf and Pop Staples (Dad to the Staples Singers)
What is: the Glenrio ghost town straddles the New Mexico-Texas border. This gas station, motel and cafe had a sign facing each direction…it was either the first in texas, or the last depending on the travels along Route 66. The old Route 66 roadbed runs through the Glenrio Historic District which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
What was: In 1901 the railway came through this area of Texas/New Mexico and the small town of Glenrio was born. The train arrived on the Texas side of the town. The post office was established on the New Mexico side. The Texas side was in a dry county. The gasoline taxes were cheaper on the New Mexico side. By 1905 the area was opened up to small farmers. By 1920, Glenrio had a hotel, a hardware store, and a land office, as well as several grocery stores, service stations, and cafes. By 1940 the population of the town was 30 people.
With the advent of Route 66 Glenrio became a popular stopping place for travelers and a “welcome station” station was built near the state line. One former resident recalls constant traffic during the daytime, with cars lined up five or six in a row waiting to get gas. Last in/first in was owned and built by Homer Ehresman, and his family ran the business between 1953 and 1976. With the advent of Interstate 40, bypassing the town, it became a ghost town.