The Wright-designed gas station in Cloquet, Minnesota will soon move a step closer to its original appearance. The original sign and a masonry pier will be returned to the structure.
The sign can be seen in the photo (from 1958) below to the far left. The sign echoes the one on the roof of the station.
The original sign has been in storage for 40 years. The masonry pier supports the heavy sign.
The station has been gradually being restored since its 50th anniversary in 2008. From a 2008 story on Minnesota Public Radio :
Webb says Wright included a waiting room because he had a larger vision: The gas station was to be part of a planned community called Broadacre. Wright made models of Broadacre, but this gas station is one of the only pieces ever built.
“He imagined that all of us would come in and we’d spend time together here, because it would be a social center, a cultural center,” said Webb.
Think of it as a coffee shop with the smell of gas. But Dugan says the use of the waiting room never materialized.”People just don’t want to sit around and wait. There’s plenty of other things to do,” said Dugan. “There’s shopping. It’s certainly a central locale, but it’s just not done.”
Owner John McKinney says it’s a testament to Wright’s design that the building still serves as a gas station. It’s been abused for 50 years, from mechanics dropping heavy car parts, to drivers misjudging the space and hitting the building with their campers.
“We’re proud that our grandfather and parents were interested enough in architecture to have something like this built,” McKinney said.
MPR posted a slideshow of the station along with the story.