College Inn/Newby Gulf Station Museum - Athens, AL
Posted by: Dulcimoore
N 34° 48.228 W 086° 57.945
16S E 503132 N 3851286
Quick Description: 1933 Prairie-Style Gas Station and Restaurant combo.
Location: Alabama, United States
Date Posted: 5/12/2011 11:06:40 AM
Waymark Code: WMBEQB
Built in 1933 by W.A. Caughran, a local Gulf dealer, the two-building service station and lunch counter complex was one of the first service stations built in Athens. It is one of only two service station/cafe structures of the Prairie Style architecture left in the state. This style is associated with architect Frank Lloyd Wright and includes a low-pitched roof, overhanging eaves, horizontal lines and an open floor plan.
Cloyde Mason Newby, Jr. bought the store in 1947 and operated it as Newby Gulf Station. Immediately after World War II, the College Inn/Newby Gulf Station became a meeting place for returning veterans attending Athens College (now Athens State University), students, and townsfolk who could pay their gas bill once a month.
In its heyday, its location was on Clinton Street and Old Highway 31, which was the main junction going north or south in Athens. Old 31 became Pryor Street, and U.S. 31 moved further east, moving the main junction out of downtown.
The buildings were eventually donated to the city, and in 2007-2008, the city used a $250,000 grant and allocated another $90,000 to move the building to a lot a few miles away adjacent to Big Spring Memorial Park in downtown and restore it.
The city has renovated one College Inn building into a children’s museum and the other into office space for Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful.
The Alabama Historic Commission awarded Best Historic Restoration Project in the State in 2008 to the College Inn buildings.
While tours of the gas station children's museum can be arranged, it is on public display dusk to dawn for peeking through the windows at the 1940s era decor, an ice cream stand, a jukebox with 1940s records and vintage gas pumps. Contact: 256-233-8728
Address of the station:
behind Big Springs Memorial Park
Athens, AL USA
Type of Gas Station: Reborn