Historic Gas Station Moves To New Location in Gordon, WI
Historic Gas Station Move
A historic gas station in Gordon Wisconsin is going to be moved Thursday, November 9, 2023 at 9:30 AM. It currently is located along the frontage road of Highway 53 (you couldn't miss it if you tried). This is a long-awaited event for the community. The building is being moved in order to save it from demolition. It is a catalog order building from the 1930's and is the last of its kind in the nation. The catalog was of the Butler Manufacturing Co. and featured the "Butler Boulevard" line of streamline modern gas stations and diners. The Band Box Diner in Minneapolis is the last of the diners and this is the last of the gas stations. You will notice that "Circa 1939" is painted on the facade. That year was our best educated guess at the time the building was last painted and since we have definitively been able to pin point its date of construction as 1937 from real estate records. It originally stood where the Gordon Museum is now and was a Cities Service Station and when Highway 53 was moved in the 1940's it was moved to where it stands now and became a Shell Station, which is how it is best remembered by the community. The State Historic Preservation Office just this year determined the building to be potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
The building needs to be moved as its current owner, ICO, plans on clearing the site it currently stands for future development. The plan is to move to the building to a lot in the center of town where it will become "Gordon Station," an ice cream parlor and tourist merchandise shop. To make this possible a variance was needed, which was granted in July by the Douglas County Board of Adjustment. The project received letters of support from the Lockman Jensen Post 499 of the American Legion (adjoining land owner), the Town of Gordon, Gordon-Wascott Historical Society, Douglas County Historical Society, and the Douglas County Chamber of Commerce. The investor and proprietor will be Julie Phelps who moved to Gordon to work at the Correctional Center (prison) and since her retirement has decided to take on this venture. Julie is a spark plug of energy and a "roll up your sleeves and get things done" kind of person. The lot was the site of our town's general store and was donated by long time Whitefish Lake cabin resident Ellie Connolly. A generous monetary donation by Mike and Dorothy O'Brien of Whitefish Lake was made towards meeting the conditions required by ICO for building purchase (demolition of a later collapsed addition which was not historic and not included in the move).
This is a REALLY big deal for Gordon that has been long awaited by many people. Following are some photos of the building as well as the catalog page it came from.