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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Aeroplane Filling Station - Powell, TN

Aeroplane Filling Station - Powell, TN

Dating back to the glory days of roadside architecture is this vintage gas station eye-catchingly shaped like a plane built by proprietors Elmer and Henry Nickle in 1930. (Here's a photo from 1931.) Powell is located north of Knoxville along US25W on the road to Clinton, TN. The gas station went out of business half a century ago and was abandoned for a while. Other businesses moved in to keep it open, such as a liquor store, a produce stand, a bait & tackle shop and finally a used car lot.

About a decade ago, locals who wanted to preserve their roadside heritage from demolition began to rally to save the plane. They created a website (now gone, I think) and sold t-shirts to raise money for the novelty architecture preservation. One thing that caught me by surprise during my visit is the exterior has shiny new sheet metal compared to other recent photos I had seen online. Also new are the windows and the light along the wing. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also helped by the Tennessee Historic Commission

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