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1927 Lincoln Highway Mystery At The Sutherland Station


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#1 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 06:51 PM

The Sutherland service station is an interesting site (N 41.156132, W 101.135928) along the old Lincoln Highway (and the Hypotenuse Trail) in Nebraska, but it is not well documented. There is no written record that Bonnie and Clyde stopped here, nor have there been any sightings recently of the ghost of the headless station attendant. The chair propped against the wall in the abandoned office was not the one used by James Dean, and so far as anyone knows Al Capone did not run a speak easy in the building next door.

Taking my tongue out of my cheek for a moment, if anyone has information to provide, I hope you will share it with us. I know Brian Butko featured this station in one of his Lincoln Highway newsletters. Based on a 1993 survey of historical buildings in Lincoln County, it is circa 1927. Nothing else is noted...


The cottage design was used by Phillips 66 and perhaps others, as suggested in photos on these and other sites:

http://www.agilitynut.com/gas/ok.html

http://www.unioncoun...rism.com/VC.htm

http://www.losttulsa...nd-opening.html


The Hypotenuse Trail Chief Trail Blazer/ Pathfinder (me) stopped here at 1:13 PM CDT on April 24, 2008 as I pioneered the famed “Slice Across America” route. I photographed the interior of the building and the surrounding site, and collected an artifact that was on the pump island. So far as is known, these images are the only recent multi media photographic records of the site available to the public on line…..tell your friends you saw it here! rolleyes.gif

In the “investigation” process, a “Mystery Pit” was discovered. As an old time service station attendant, I can’t identify a purpose for the pit. It is too shallow and narrow to have served as a service pit, it is not evidently designed to collect rain or water run off, and has no other evident utility. So what was it? I’m thinking buried treasure..…..no, I better not even joke about that or someone might take me seriously and dig up a historical site.

But what purpose did the pit serve? Someone out there has a post card or photo of this or a similar station. You can see this one in your mind’s eye….station building on the left, platform, perhaps with tires or other items for sale, and pump island, .probably with a post on its left side with sign, perhaps Phillips 66. But why the pit? And why a pump island so far from the cottage? Doesn’t it rain and snow in Nebraska? Perhaps the cottage was moved? It is in the same place as a 1993 picture in the historical survey noted above.

Any ideas? See the Video! (Be patient on 5/11. If it hasn't been processed yet by Vimeo, try a couple of hours later)







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Dave




#2 thermactor

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 06:38 PM

Dave,

Great pictures! I'd love to see more of them. The station is a Frontier -- a Colorado-based company. This is evidenced by the distinctive shape of the sign frame visible in your video. The mystery pit probably is a greasing pit. In the days of cars with tires like the one you pictured, greasing was done outside on racks -- typically at least. These racks were just 2 or 3 feet tall. In this case, it looks like a concrete platform was used, where the attendant would go under the car on the open, elevated end (by the tree). That's my guess, at least.

Do you have a link to additional pictures?

Wes

#3 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 06:33 PM

QUOTE (thermactor @ Jul 21 2008, 04:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Dave,

Great pictures! I'd love to see more of them. The station is a Frontier -- a Colorado-based company. This is evidenced by the distinctive shape of the sign frame visible in your video. The mystery pit probably is a greasing pit. In the days of cars with tires like the one you pictured, greasing was done outside on racks -- typically at least. These racks were just 2 or 3 feet tall. In this case, it looks like a concrete platform was used, where the attendant would go under the car on the open, elevated end (by the tree). That's my guess, at least.

Do you have a link to additional pictures?

Wes


Wes!

Wow…now we are talking, cooking with gas, and bringing the bacon home!!!! I think the station is a gem, but no one has been able to identify the pit, etc. until you did.

I’ll see what other photos I took that might be of interest.

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Dave


#4 32vld

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:19 PM

I saw this thread along time ago though I never posted because I procrastinated for about at least a few years before I join the forum.

 

Though being I always liked seeing things from the past. Into automotive history. My dad worked as a mechanic from before the war. As Archie Bunker said: you know the Big One, W W 2. So it always makes me happy to find an old gas station when on the road.

 

So time to respond that trench was a service pit. In the early days autos were serviced out doors. This is why many gas stations were able to be small in size because they did not have service bays.

 

Now that pit was not very wide. Though in that video you can see as if the sides have shifted inward a bit making the pit look narrower then it originally was.

 

There were some big cars made in the 1920's though many cars then were a lot narrower then cars of the post war years. So to have a car straddle the service pit safely best to make the pit on the narrow side.

 

The pit only had to be wide enough for the mechanic to get in there with an oil drain pan and use a grease gun.

 

Also that pit after 90 years could of filled in with a lot of wind blown dirt and debris so one can no longer see the true depth. (Reminds me of the ARM post where some one showed photos of a narrow mountain gap from say 1920's and now, think the location was in Calif. Boy did time change that road grade.)

 

Also money could of been tight when the pit was built and the mechanic sat on a short stool that was on casters as he would do a LOF.

 

Also pretty much all auto's in the 1920's used at least 20" wheels which made those automobiles sit a lot higher then we realize. 



#5 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:00 AM

Jeffery,

 

I didn't think it was a service pit at the time because the open end was never deep enough to allow a standing person. But your comment that cars were serviced outside made me think. Is it reasonable that it was a service pit that you rolled into on a service trolley?

 

I worked in a service station in my late high school and early college years, and serviced cars up on a rack. It never was a great position for many operations because you had to always reach over your head. It is actually more comfortable on your back. In fact the owner preferred to get under cars on a flat four wheel trolley rather than use the rack.

 

That would allow for a shallower pit, less expense, and a more comfortable working position. What do you think about that possibility?

 

Dave

 

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#6 32vld

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 08:05 PM

I know that early gas station buildings having no service bay areas went from service pits to out side in the ground hydraulic lifts. For as we all know that lifts are better then working in pits. Safer too.

 

I can see a shallow pit being another way to save on contruction costs.

 

I have not seen any other use for a pit at a gas station that was not a service pit. So my vote is that is a service pit.

 

The early pits only had one entrance, as the pit in your photo. As more work related deaths happened because of the auto going on fire. Where the fire was between the mechanic and the entrance to the pit blocking the mechanics escape out of the pit.

 

This caused service pits to then be made with entrances at both ends to prevent mechanics from getting trapped.

 

Now do you remember the then and now photos that was posted here that showed a tree covered hill that had a narrow single lane dirt road that ran through the mountain gap? 



#7 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:01 PM

Jeffery,

 

Are you referring to Beales Pass? That post is at:

 

http://www.americanr...l=+beales +pass

 

Dave

 

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#8 32vld

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:16 AM

Yes Dave, Beals Pass was the place. Thanks for reconnecting me back to that place.

 

Who does not like looking at old road scenes and then comparing them to what we see there today.

 

Thanks, Jeffrey






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