When you think about the oldest gas station in America, what state do you think of? Texas? California? Believe it or not, the oldest gas station in America is called Reighard’s and it’s located in the 9.7 square-mile town of Altoona, Pennsylvania.
Reighard’s gas station started out as a blacksmith shop in the late 1800s and was run by a man named George Hinkle. In 1908, when Henry Ford introduced the Model T car, Hinkle decided to start selling gasoline and hoped that the gas-selling business would boom. It did, and in 1931, George Reighard purchased the property and continued its business. In 1978, Martin Oil Company took over the business and has owned and operated it ever since.
The main building is unique in that it’s made from cinder blocks and has a roof of hardened concrete shingles; both materials are synonymous with the steam engine era. Inside, the floors are all-original and you can find numerous old photographs of the gas station throughout its history.
Today, Reighard’s gas station is still in operation, making it the oldest gas station in continuous operation in the U.S. It’s considered a full-service station, so when you pull up, a worker will pump your gas for you, clean your windows, and check your fluids and/or the air in your tires if you’d like them to.
A Historic Area
Reighard’s is nestled into a historic area of Pennsylvania known as Mansion Park. Near the gas station is a section of the Pennsylvania Railroad referred to as “Horseshoe Curve,” which was built by pick and shovel when the railroad was just beginning. The gas station is near this track because back in the 1930s, gasoline was delivered via rail car.
You’ll also find Baker Mansion nearby (hence “Mansion Park”), which was built in 1849 and home to ironmaster Elias Baker and his family. Baker purchased the Allegheny Furnace in 1936 and made his living at the business. You can still see the furnace today.
*Photo courtesy of http://johnnieandangela.blogspot.com