Posted on May 7th, 2010 19 comments
South Broadway & California
South St. Louis, MO
One of the most delightful sights in South St. Louis is the pristine green Sinclair dinosaur on South Broadway near Interstate 55. Or it was…
…until May 5, 2010. I drove by on that evening and its absence was glaringly obvious. Where did he go?
His disappearance was bothering me more than I felt comfortable with, so I drove to the station two nights later to get some answers.
A hastily erected canvas Conoco over the Sinclair sign revealed all. But I went inside, bought anything to stand in line and ask the guys behind the counter, “What happened to the dinosaur?”
They said some men came on the very day I noticed it gone, picked it up and carted it off on a flatbed truck, and that they were collecting all the dinosaurs because Conoco had bought out all St. Louis Sinclair stations. Did they ask where the dinosaur was headed to? Their responses were “Probably someone’s back yard” and “I heard one guy say something about an amusement park.”
A half hour of web research did not reveal any news about Conoco buying out Sinclair, but since the dinosaurs have been going extinct for quite some time, at least one site has been cataloging what remains and helping out those who want to buy or sell the green dinosaurs with the sardonic smile.
The Sinclair station (above) at Big Bend near Hwy 44 closed in the summer of 2007. Its dinosaur disappeared a few days before the “Sorry, We’re Closed” sign hit the door. The building has since been re-purposed as a scooter and ATV retail outlet.
The reason for this Sinclair’s demise seemed obvious; QT is the Walmart of gas stations. But Sinclair has been dwindling in the Metro St. Louis area for the past 10 years, and I’ve been snapping the empty buildings across the region for several years. Because of the gas tanks underground, the sites tend to sit unused in perpetuity. Only mega-corporations like CVS have the cash to sniff around their vacant sites.
So, the few remaining Sinclairs in operation have a deep, nostalgic resonance in my soul, and when one so close to home still had a dinosaur, it was a point of privilege and pride.
Saint Louis Patina may have the last official photograph of our South Side dino. And I will call the Conoco media relations during normal business hours to see if they have an official process for retrieving and re-using the dinosaurs. I can already feel their eyes rolling as I ask the question. I’m also picturing a Citizen Kane-like warehouse filled with hundreds of dinosaurs, their necks intertwined, a fine coat of dust dulling their luster…
In the scheme of things, the extinction of the Sinclair dinosaur in St. Louis is a pimple on the ass of the universe. But it’s the little things that tend to bring the most satisfaction, and I already miss that little jolt of happiness received every time I passed by Dino. Farewell my prehistoric fossil fuel friend!
19 Responses to “The Sinclair Dinosaur is Extinct in St. Louis”
samizdat May 8th, 2010 at 9:44 AM
Man, I hope the Wiesehan brothers at Giles and Chippewa weren’t bought out. I like those guys.
samizdat May 8th, 2010 at 3:06 PM
Visited the Giles/Chippewa station, and apparently they will be staying. The story is that Western Oil, which owned most of the newer Sinclairs, sold out to ConocoPhilips. They were supposed to stay as Sinclairs, but for reasons too complicated to explain here, well, they’re not. The Wiesehans are a tad worried that as the only remaining independent Sinclair in the City, they might get cut off from the fuel delivery route. We’ll see, I suppose.
r stupidhead May 8th, 2010 at 4:36 PM
I wonder if I still have my Sinclair Dino-Bank somewhere? I’d forgotten all about it. same figure, just smaller.
L. Hoffman May 8th, 2010 at 9:45 PM
And their slogan was: “Drive with care and buy Sinclair”
Thank you for doing some investigative work! Armed with that info, I found this link:
They claimed in November 2009 that the dinosaurs would remain. Guess they changed their minds.
Oh please, please PLEASE look for the bank! And a wild guess that you got it at the Sinclair at Hereford & Florissant Road?
media_gurl May 9th, 2010 at 11:55 AM
My father owned a Sinclair franchise when I was a little girl, so I was treated with all types of green dinosaur items. I even remember Dino soap that was a bit awkwardly shaped to use in the bathtub. I wanted to steal Dino the Dinosaur from the Sinclair station at I-55 Butler Hill for my high school senior prank, but my classmates were not as adventureous as I was and I couldn’t enlist any help (the class the year before had stolen the Big Boy from Shoney’s and I was hoping to top this.) I went back to that station and purchased a stuffed Dino for my daughter several years ago. I am very sad that the Dinos are being removed… just another part of our childhoods going by the wayside!
samizdat May 9th, 2010 at 2:24 PM
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?VISuperSize&item=190394833840 This is the only type I could find. Manufactured from plastic.
bradhig May 9th, 2010 at 7:14 PM
Sinclair at Bellefountaine and Chambers has the conoco signs. Never had a Dinosaur that I remember.
r stupidhead May 9th, 2010 at 9:46 PM
admin, that probably would have been the location as I spent my childhhod quite near there.
I always liked those dinosaurs. Although I never bought gas there. Oops.
Christy May 27th, 2010 at 8:23 AM
We can still purchase the big dino from Sinclair if someone is interested they can email me. We are a Sinclair station in Salisbury MO
they still make them? tell me more…Thanks!
Judy Sinclair May 27th, 2010 at 5:10 PM
well, we are looking for Sonclair stuff in Canada. If yiu can’t find it down there we are ^&%$ out of luck!! Happy Hunting!!
Judy Sinclair May 27th, 2010 at 5:11 PM
oops shoulda’ checked my spelling!! Sinclair stuff!!
donnie May 27th, 2010 at 11:41 PM
i drove the tanker in st louis for sinclair for 11 years,they laid me off feb 09,,they were a wonderful company to work for til the owner had a stroke and his sibs took over,,that would explain why a company that treated me so well for so long and always told me id rerire from them,laid me off with only 9 days notice and zero sevrence pay.
there is still a sinclair station open in moscow mills mo, and further north of troy,mo.
after the way they terminated me i could care less,,,,sorry
[…] in St. Louis in the wake of a takeover of the company-owned gas stations. My colleague Matt Hathaway found the tip on a blog called BELTSTL.com, which writes about local preservation and […]
Sandra June 13th, 2011 at 8:27 PM
I have my 40 plus year old Dinosaur Bank full a “million” dollars worth of pennies. That is the great thing about this bank, you are required to save there is no release port. Every time I pack and move I dust it and move it and think I really wonder what is inside that “Dinosaur?” Sinclair has been gone from Texas for so long extinct is not the term. I was traveling through Kansas several years ago and almost wrecked into a Sinclair because of excitement! Wonder if I could get it x-rayed at the airport to find out if it has money that is worth more than face value?
i want to buy a Sinclair Dinosaur !