Oatman Filling Station (Mead and Hunt photo, 2000)
Oatman Filling Station
102 Ferry Street, Eau Claire, Eau Claire County
Date of construction: 1931
The Oatman Filling Station is an intact example of the house-type filling station, a building type erected in large numbers between 1920 and 1935. This example is a one-story, wood-frame building covered with wooden shingles. The symmetrical front fašade contains a center door with a single window to each side. The steeply pitched roof is influenced by the popularity of the Tudor Revival cottage, characterized by its picturesque appearance.
Designers of house-type stations addressed community objections to the location of gas stations in suburban neighborhoods by designing them to look like diminutive houses. These stations were pioneers of the automobile strips and demonstrated the economic success of free-standing commercial buildings with deep setbacks and easy vehicular access, which became the dominant commercial type for suburban America.
The Oatman Filling Station was constructed in 1931, a period of expanding automobile ownership and gas station construction in Eau Claire. Early automobile owners in the area purchased gasoline at outlets such as hardware stores and bulk oil stations. Sometime between 1923 and 1926 the first filling station in the city was erected; by 1928 the number had jumped to 28 filling stations. Frank Oatman constructed this station as a Texaco affiliated station. This example of a house type filling station is the only surviving intact pre-1940 filling station in Eau Claire.
The building is not open to the public, please respect the privacy of its owners.