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    "Astoria Station" of Dawson, Minnesota

    Restored 1928 Sinclair Station Appreciated by Townspeople


    Photos courtesy Shari Aabye
    Restored 1928 Sinclair  Gas Station, Dawson, Minnesota,
    The restored 1928 Sinclair Filling Station and the "61 T-Bird we got ourselves for our 50th wedding anniversary, and a 71 Karmann Gia." - Shari Aabye, April 2013
    Editor's Note: Once we decided to include stories from other states, we looked at the map to decide which states to include. We soon reached the conclusion that as far as stories go - state lines don't mean much. We'll leave them to the state troopers, departments of transportation and mapmakers. Just about the time we were working on Ken Rudine's Lighthouses of Lake Michigan and Barclay Gibson's Bottling Works of SE New Mexico - we got a letter from Dawson, Minnesota from Frank & Shari Aabye.
    The 1928 Sinclair  Filling Station, Dawson, Minnesota, 1950s
    The station in service c. 1950
    The Search and Discovery

    Frank and Shari celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary (June 10, 2004) by scraping paint. It's probably not how they figured they'd be spending it back when they got married back in 1961- but that's the way life works. Native Minnesotans, Frank and Shari had decided to move to Astoria, Oregon and buy a riverfront propertry. They even spend two winters in Oregon - their first and last. The rainy Winter of the Pacific Northwest just wasn't the same as the frigid (but familiar) Minnesota Winter. But they were still set on a home with a riverview - (and who can argue about that?) so they started searching closer to home.

    On one of their trips they spotted a restored gas station in nearby Madison Wisconson. They thought enough of it to take a photo for their album. So one day while driving through Dawson, and spotted a former station for sale - with river frontage, they didn't have to think twice.
    The old Sinclair  gas station with pump and sign removed
    The Station before restoration
    The History of the Building

    The 1928 building had started life as a Sinclair Filling Station and at some point over the years had become a Skelly. It was purchached in 1968 by a man called Amer Boras who had the pumps and tanks removed and operated his business as a repair garage. The Aabyes bought it from Mr. Boras - and set about restoring it. They were delighted to find a pump with a winged "A" - which now doubles for Aabye and Astoria - their lost riverside Utopia. In Shari's words: "It ajoins a park and with the river frontage, it 's very beautiful, and special to us, so we named the station "Astoria."
    Herculean Feats and 25 Cent Gas
    Astoria Station, the restored Sinclair  gas station, Dawson, Minnesota
    The finished station and the first vintage vehicle
    Starting in June of 2004, they worked all through the Summer. Shari goes on to say: "In October we moved into the open garages and spent the Winter working inside. When Spring arrived, we started working on the outside. Every inch had to be hand scraped before painting. Memorial Day we put out the pump and oilers which we had restored inside during the winter.

    "We've had so many wonderful comments from the people in Dawson and visitors." There was even an article in the local paper. When asked if people ever drove up expecting to get gas, Shari explained that they have installed small poles to prevent people from driving through. "People do ask if we are going to sell gas," Shari goes on to say. "It cracks me up if you think about it [since] Frank has 24.9 on the pump, the price it was when he was in high school. "

    Shari states that the move into the station was the couple's 14th - and their last except "maybe someday we'll have to move into the rest home."
    Back view of the station, and "Spooky"
    Related Subjects:
    Gas Stations in Texas | Minnesota Hotels | USA |


    John Troesser
    August 20, 2005, updated April 17, 2013
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