all EPA Standards
"Somewhere on FM 505"
SW of Fort
Stockton on FM 505
by John Troesser
Former Oasis Filling Station, has been demolished. The structure was
actually a movie set for the motion picture Dancer, Texas, pop. 81.
Photo courtesy Mike Price
Thurman, an alert reader from Midland,
Texas immediately recognized what we do here at Texas
Escapes and sent us some photos of a lonely building out in
Jeff Davis County (in Jeff Davis County most of the buildings
To us, the mysterious building first appeared to be a well-preserved
temple of a lost West
Texas culture. Holes in the front of the building may have once
anchored signs that have since been looted and sold on the international
black market. The painted sign shows that the lost culture had Dr.
Pepper. They also had the manpower or ambition to construct unnecessary
buttresses to hold up the pseudo-adobe/stucco walls.
at the Oasis
Photo courtesy Charlotte Thurman, 2001
asked what we knew of the building, which we'll admit was just slightly
less than nothing. So we did what we always do when we don't have
an answer. We called an expert.
Anne Cook, our media and film consultant in Austin and she
said it was probably a set from Dancer, Texas, an independent
film from a few years ago. We asked if she would use her influence
to cut through the red tape and talk to one of her contacts at the
Texas Film Commission, which for some reason, is a part of
the Governor's Office.
She soon emailed us back with a confirmation that it was indeed
a genuine movie artifact from "Dancer". The film commission
spokesperson added that there were no tanks or gasoline storage
on the site. It had not occurred to us to ask that question, but
we're always glad for any information we can pass on to our readers.
"We put the SELF in Self-service"
Photo courtesy Charlotte Thurman, 2001
We heard again
from Charlotte Thurman, who followed up her original question
about the Oasis Gas Station out near Valentine,
She even included a photo of the movie's box cover and indeed - there
at the bottom of the cover was the Oasis Gas Station - with red, white
and blue pennants flying (perhaps from their grand opening).
Judging by the cover, (something we've been warned about doing) -
it seems to be a buddy-picture since there are four smiling young
men pictured in a group shot.
wasn't taking any chances and stacked the deck with: one young man
with glasses (a la Buddy Holly), one wearing a T-shirt (a la James
Dean) and one who is the spit and image of a young Paul (as in Hud)
Newman. The fourth appears to be a Bridges Brother we hadn't heard
Well, it may be a Last Picture Show for a new generation,
but we don't see anything wrong with that when you consider what's
come out of Hollywood since the original Last Picture Show (that
includes the sequel Texasville).
The cover finally gave us the population of the fictitious Dancer,
Texas to be 81. This is the same number that Round
Top, Texas used to use. Round Top claimed to be "The Smallest
Incorporated Town in Texas". Their year 2000 census figure was
in the low 90s - maybe they still are.
© John Troesser
Your Hotel Here & Save
Our thanks to Charlotte Thurman of Midland,
Texas for sending in the photos and for sharing her discovery with
us, and for following up and solving the mystery of the Oasis. Charlotte
receives a coupon for a free Oasis car wash and a guided tour of the
Oasis Oil Company Refinery - propped-up somewhere between Lobo
Our thanks to Anne Cook and spokespeople at the Texas Film Commission.
Dancer, Texas Pop. 81 (1998)
|Hwy 505 Oasis
by N. James
area artist Norman James and Denise Gardner share this photo of Norman's
painting of the Oasis - the gas station that never was - but nevertheless
remains in the hearts of many people - especially former residents
of Dancer, Texas. Visit their site www.njamesart.com and see how many
special places accross Texas have been immortalized in oil.
Oasis Gas Station was 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,
September 11, 2005
Midday at the Oasis
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. - Erik Whetstone, April 2005
I enjoyed your website -- very informative.
I have a comment about the Oasis Gas Station. I have been to this
spot several times. It is just as remote as it looks in the opening
scene of "Dancer, Texas: Population 81". It is unfortunate that
Ann Cook said you "didn't miss much" when referring to the movie,
"Dancer, Texas, Population 81." To be honest, we would do well to
have more movies like it. When was the last time you watched a movie
that did not contain sex, violence, foul language -- but also held
your interest for a couple of hours? Dancer, Texas: Population 81
is that kind of a movie -- I would recommend viewing it before saying
"if you haven't seen it, you haven't missed much." Thanks for your
website, enjoyed it lots - Marilyn McGhee, Fort Davis (aka Dancer),
Texas, February 22, 2005
a lovely film, and well worthwhile for anyone with an appreciation
for Texas small towns. The writer/director, Tim McCanlies, lives
in Rosanky; his depiction of growing up in a teeny tiny town is
right on the money. DANCER was filmed mostly in Fort
Davis, which looks absolutely beautiful. I watched this movie
with my parents, and nobody was embarrassed by anything in it --
that's a rare treat.
I love your site, and the way you find the beauty and value in parts
of Texas that don't usually make the tourism brochures. ..... -
Carol Pirie, Assistant Director Texas Film Commission
Escapes on-line magazine is wonderful! ... Loved the picture of
the Oasis Gas Station. It's great. - Susie Gaines, Film Commissioner,
like I need to make the trip to Valentine,
Texas this June when I take my mini photo-safari to the famous
Texas Ghost Towns!!
Thanks for the story" .- Gordon H., Deer Park
was terrific and very well written...and I must say, the pictures
were wonderful (of course..the photographer is biased). Thanks again
for a wonderful story and newsletter.... Keep up the terrific work."
- Charlotte Thurman
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