TexasEscapes.com Texas Escapes Online Magazine: Travel and History
Columns: History, Humor, Topical and Opinion
Over 1600 Texas Towns & Ghost Towns
Texas Hotels
  Texas : Architecture : Gas Stations :


Exceeding all EPA Standards
"Somewhere on FM 505"

Jeff Davis County, West Texas
SW of Fort Stockton on FM 505

by John Troesser

Book Your Hotel Here & Save
Fort Stockton Hotels

Oasis Gas Station, West Texas, movie  set for Dance Texas Pop. 81
The 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

Charlotte 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 are lonely).

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.

Oasis gas station in the wilderness
Midday at the Oasis

Photo courtesy Charlotte Thurman, 2001

Ms. Thurman 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.

We called 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.

Oasis Gasoline:
"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, Texas.

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.

The film-maker 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 of.

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.

May 2001
© John Troesser

Book Your Hotel Here & Save
Alpine Hotels
Van Horn Hotels
Fort Stockton Hotels
More Hotels

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 and Valentine.

Our thanks to Anne Cook and spokespeople at the Texas Film Commission.
Dancer, Texas Pop. 81 (1998)
Hwy 505 Oasis by N. James
Dallas 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.
Readers' Forum

  • Subject: 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
  • Oasis gas station, movie set for movie Dancer Texas
    Midday at the Oasis

    Photos courtesy Erik Whetstone, April 2005
  • Subject: 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

  • Subject: "Dancer Texas"
    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

  • "... It's 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

  • "... Texas Escapes on-line magazine is wonderful! ... Loved the picture of the Oasis Gas Station. It's great. - Susie Gaines, Film Commissioner, El Paso

  • "Looks 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

  • "....the article 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

    Visit Area Towns:
    Fort Davis, Texas | Valentine, Texas | West Texas Towns

    Book Your Hotel Here & Save:
    Alpine Hotels | Van Horn Hotels | Fort Stockton Hotels |
    More Hotels

    More Stories & Photos: Texas | Architecture | Gas Stations |
    Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South |
    West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast

    Ghosts | People | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII |
    History | Black History | Rooms with a Past | Music | Animals | Books | MEXICO
    COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

    Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters |
    Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators |
    Lodges | Museums | Stores | Banks | Gargoyles | Corner Stones | Pitted Dates |
    Drive-by Architecture | Old Neon | Murals | Signs | Ghost Signs | Then and Now
    Vintage Photos


    Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Recommend Us
    Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
    Website Content Copyright ©1998-2007. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved
    This page last modified: September 12, 2007