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  Texas : Feature : Columns : "They shoe horses, don't they?"

Midday at the Oasis

by Johnny Stucco
Photos courtesy Erik Whetstone

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Oasis gas station, movie set for movie Dancer Texas
The tight shadows show the sun to be directly overhead - the most welcome time to find an oasis.

Photo courtesy Erik Whetstone, April 2005
Readers' Update September 11, 2005
Subject: Oasis Gas Station is Gone

Dear Editor, I recently returned from a September trip to the Ft Davis area. I was really looking forward to taking photos of the Oasis Gas Station as a friend had taken some really cool pictures of it a couple of years ago. I drove out to the site and was disappointed to find it had either been torn down or destroyed. All that was left was a couple of small adobe pieces on the ground. I inquired with a few Ft Davis locals as to what had happened and they were not aware that the structure was gone. One person had driven by it as recently as back in the spring and said that even though it was crumbling it had still been standing.

I just found your great website while researching about the Oasis and wanted to let your readers know it was gone and inquire as to whether anyone knew what had happened to it. Thanks, - Beth Booher
* * * * *

Midday at the Oasis

The Oasis Gas Station in Jeff Davis County has become one of our favorite Texas locations. First sent in by Charlotte Thurman of Midland, we've received many letters about the Oasis over the years.

Having never pumped a pint, let alone a gallon of gasoline, this station-that-never-was has become our symbol for a particular period in Texas history. It's the just-another-station you never paid attention to on your summer trips; the station you prayed for when your gas guage needle was buried in the E, and the one where you felt guilty about using their restroom - after you had just filled your tank at the station 20 miles back.
The fact that it was a prop for the movie Dancer, Texas Pop. 81, doesn't change a thing. It's the quintessential 1950s roadtrip gas station. And being a movie prop - there's no shortage of imagined scenarios of what never happened here. Had a revolver once been taped under the toilet tank lid? Had the teenage hitchiker escaped out the bathroom window? Did Jack Nicholson get a ride with a trucker here or was it Thelma or Louise that lost her money in the Dr. Pepper machine?
DVD
Dancer, Texas Pop. 81
It's special to the staff here at TE for it was Charlotte's photo that prompted Erik Whetstone to write to us. Erik has since become our Ghost Town Editor/Photographer and four years and several hundred images later, Erik wrote to remind us: "I don’t know if you remember my original email or not, but when I first found Texas Escapes, I had commented on how much I wanted to shoot the Oasis." "I thought you’d like to see how it was holding up."
Faux ghost sign for Dr. Pepper



The faux "ghost sign" for Dr. Pepper - shows the painter's skill.

Photo courtesy Erik Whetstone, April 2005


Well, it seems to be holding up fine and its remote location has spared it the vandalism and grafitti that other abandoned businesses have suffered.

Here's to the Oasis - a tangible (albeit faux) relic of our collective memory.

Oasis gas station in the wilderness
The Oasis Gas Station in 2001
Photo courtesy Charlotte Thurman, 2001
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© John Troesser
More Photos by Erik Whetstone
 
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