Local Resident Enjoys His Texaco Service Station Replica
Photographer / Amy Payne
During stressful times, especially in today’s world, it’s nice to have a pleasant destination to escape to – a place that brings back wonderful memories.
Garry Gilbert, a White River Township resident, has such a place.
Gilbert owns a replica of a 1960s-era Texaco service station in a wooded area of White River Township. He says it helps him relax and recapture his youth.
“When I was growing up in Taylor County, Kentucky, I would go to a local Ashland service station with my dad and grandfather, who was the local county sheriff,” Gilbert says. “We would spend a lot of great times with the people who worked there and the local people who came in the station. My grandfather would get a call on his police scanner, and then leave for a while. My dad and I would hang out with everyone. My grandfather would come back later, and he would continue talking to everybody. I loved it there.”
Gilbert hired Jeff Snodgrass of Snodgrass Enterprises in Morgantown, Indiana, to build the Texaco service station replication, which has 1960s-era signage, gas pumps and other memorabilia. The station is reminiscent of the garage where Gomer Pyle worked on “The Andy Griffith Show”. It conjures up memories of a simpler time. Observers can almost imagine Andy Taylor and Barney Fife, characters from the show played by Andy Griffith and Don Knotts respectively, pulling up for some gas or a cold pop.
“The Texaco service station was finished in 2015,” Gilbert says. “The Texaco replica station brings back a lot of memories. I have old oil cans and gas cans from that time, as well as two original gas pumps. I also have old Coke machines and an old phone booth. I really wanted to recreate the look and feel of the station.”
Gilbert also has Clark Bar candy bars, MoonPies and soda bottles from the 1960s on display.
“The garage has a lift and equipment for both restoration and repairs,” Gilbert says. “I also have restroom fixtures that are made from radiator pistons and auto parts. I really enjoyed working on the planning and construction of the garage. It was a lot of fun.”
The station has been both a hobby and an escape for Gilbert.
“It has been something that I have really enjoyed,” he says. “It’s my man cave and a nice way to remember a special time in my life. I spent years dreaming of building a place like this and I was thrilled when I was able to make it a reality. It’s my pride and joy.”
Gilbert also stores his 1967 Shelby GT500 car, which originally belonged to his father, and his 1966 Mustang GT 289 convertible, at the garage.
“I keep my ‘babies’, which are restored Ford muscle cars with original parts, on display behind a wall of glass inside the garage where I can really admire them,” Gilbert says. “I always feel relaxed when I’m here.”
Gilbert entertains family, friends and classic car enthusiasts at the garage with cookouts and conversations about cars and days gone by.
“This is a special place that helps me get back in touch with something that was special to me, and it’s not often you can recapture the past in a good way,” Gilbert says.