Restored 1928 Sinclair
of Dawson, Minnesota
Appreciated by Townspeople
Photos courtesy Shari Aabye
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
|The station in
service c. 1950
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
|The Station before
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."
Feats and 25 Cent Gas
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
|Back view of
the station, and "Spooky"
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
of Lake Michigan and Barclay
Works of SE New Mexico - we got a letter from Dawson, Minnesota
from Frank & Shari Aabye.
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history
and vintage/historic photos, please contact