15 minutes in Dwight: Ambler-Becker gas station on Route 66

 Daily, Illinois  Comments Off on 15 minutes in Dwight: Ambler-Becker gas station on Route 66
Jun 242016
 

Ambler Becker Station - Dwight










Dwight’s restored Texaco station, on popular Old U.S. Route 66, comes to life each year in May. More than 60 volunteers take shifts here, meeting curious motorists from around the world. The following account covers approximately 15 minutes in the lube bay, the office and the old pumps out front.

Ding! A visitor wants to make sure that little black hose works, the one that used to announce a car pulling into a gas station. They don’t need those now at self-service stations.

A driver from the Czech Republic wanted to talk about Donald Trump. A film editor and a sound engineer from Rome talked of creating a movie about their experience. They plan to post it online.

“We want to discover the old America, the real America,” said Luigi Mearelli, 39. “We spent three years planning this vacation.”

Ding! Florian Niederhuber, 33, of Munich, was assisted by volunteer Alex McWilliams. The hosts always ask visitors to place a pin in one of their maps, marking the hometowns of each visitor.

The pins from 2015 were removed, but the European map already was filling up. The U.S. map was busier than expected. You could see other pins in Japan, New Zealand and parts of the African continent.

“We have had visitors come in and discover that they live only 10 miles apart in Germany,” McWilliams said. “I guess they wound up traveling together the rest of the way to California.”

Ding! It seems like like most of the motorists here are coming from Chicago and heading for an overnight stay in Springfield. This stop usually includes photos out front and questions about the next stop, usually in Pontiac.

On this day, the station was missing its celebrity attendant, Paul Roeder, of Kankakee. He wears a Texaco attendant’s uniform and surprises guests with another part of history. There really was a guy who pumped your gas and cleaned the windshield.

Attention always shifts back to the driveway here. The next couple rode up on a motorcycle dressed up to look like a 1957 Chevy. And the trailer it pulled was also tricked out like that Chevy icon.

Ding!

By Dennis Yohnka – Daily Journal

The two ‘new faces’ on Route 66 in Needles CA.

 California, Daily  Comments Off on The two ‘new faces’ on Route 66 in Needles CA.
Jul 022012
 




After a few days of research – the two gas station slated for ‘restoration’ are an old Texaco and an old Union gas station.

My ‘Needles partner in crime’ Linda Fitzpatrick sent me several Emails about her investigative work. We originally thought the gas stations were an old Mobil and Cheveron station, but upon talking to the owners, talking to some folks ‘in the know’ and finding some old pictures, it was determined the Mobil station started it’s life out as a Texaco station, and the Cheveron station originally began pumping Union Oil gas!

With this information, I do what I always do on these types of projects: start hitting the web for information!
After about 3 days and hundreds upon hundreds of websites, I gathered enough information to confirm these were originally Texaco and Union gas station.

Now, we are getting all of our ducks in a row and will really start putting things thogether the weekend of July 20th. The buildings will be painted white, and I will come into town and hit the trim and get all the signs in place.

A muralist is working on something special for these places and even I am excited to see what she will be able to accomplish.

The goal is to have these finished so all travelers heading west to Victorville for the fest have several reasons to stop into Needles. First and foremost: the 66 Motel sign – a MUST see! Then these two gas stations will be brought back from the ‘drab’ and should make for some great photo ops.

We are getting a lot of support and help from several sources on this project. If you are around and/or able, let em knwo if you want to help that weekend as we can always use an extra set of hands!!

The owners are waiting to see the outcome as they even might put orders in for gas pumps and a few other signs to go on and around the buildings.