The iconic Standard Oil Station at 601 West Jefferson Street in Bloomfield has been restored to its 1960’s appearance by Dan Hutchings of Bloomfield. Hutchings purchased the run-down and altered service station in the fall of 2013. He thought it would take a year to restore the “cookie-cutter” building approved by the Standard Oil Company. Instead of a year, it took five years of off-and-on work. The worst part, according to Hutchings, was breaking up and removing the old concrete. Twenty-five small dump truck loads of concrete were taken away.
The station was built in 1929 according to Standard Oil design that was part of their image. It has been restored to the1960s period when it was owned and operated by Isham Pottorff and his family for 60 years. The station holds special meaning for Hutchings as he worked there while in high school.
Hutchings spent hundreds of man-hours restoring the station, searching for memorabilia, and preparing displays. Displays feature period-correct furnishings and items that were sold in local filling stations of the era. Once he began furnishing the station, original items began returning. Isham Pottorff’s original desk and the old exterior tire cabinet were returned by local residents. The original desk holds an early credit card machine, a period radio and cash register, as well as a Paymaster check writer. Vintage Standard Oil road maps are displayed above the desk. Period light fixtures hang from the ceiling. The shelves inside the station are filled with Standard Oil products and other automotive products that came primarily from Bloomfield and the surrounding area. A restored, vintage Pepsi machine is a nostalgic feature inside the station. Do you remember buying a bag of peanuts and dumping them in an ice-cold Pepsi?
Outside, one of the gas pumps was acquired at a local auction; then restored. The second pump, which needed to match, was constructed from parts found in Indiana, Missouri, and Des Moines. A chamois wringer adds another original feature. A vintage phone booth is on the east side of the building where the younger generation can learn how a rotary-dial phone works. The fence on the west and south sides of the station sports period signs.
Hutchings reminisces about the days when Bloomfield supported numerous gas stations that created jobs, especially for teenagers who were willing to pump gas and change tires. He states, “The
museum will never be finished. I will always be finding something to add to it.” The station is open during special events, or tours may be arranged by contacting Dan Hutchings at 641-664-1632.
*Information courtesy of articles from the Bloomfield Democrat