Posted on June 25th, 2012 3 comments
8000 South Laclede Station Road
St. Louis County, MO
As I drive around, I make mental notes of buildings to photograph. When they’re places passed on a regular basis, I guess I take them for granted as being part of the landscape – they’ll always be there when I get around to it.
Rayman’s Sinclair, at Heege and Laclede Station Roads has always been one of those “taken for granted” places. It was a full service Sinclair station in pristine condition, looking like a vintage postcard.
In 2010, there was a corporate shake-up that forced some Sinclair station owners to cease-and-desist with the brand name. The last dinosaur riding into the sunset is covered here.
At that time, Rayman began removing any Sinclair signage and verbiage from his shop. He even got clever, creating a cartoon character that was the classic Sinclair green, and looking like a cross between an alligator and dinosaur. I appreciated his cheekiness. While driving through the intersection, I took the shot above, as he was in mid-transformation.
All the pictures I have of this place are hasty shots from the car while traversing this busy and slightly awkward intersection during rush hour traffic. And with every such shot came the mental note to come back, park and get good photos of the place that was built in 1958.
And here is my very last hasty shot of Rayman’s Auto Sales, Repair & Gas. According to the Affton-Shrewsbury Patch, it will become a new Courtesy Diner.
What I’m most disappointed with myself about is that the shop closed about 2 or 3 months ago. That should have been a red flag for me to photograph it, right? But I assumed someone else would move into the building, being in such great shape, conveniently located and all.
What is most ironic about a Courtesy Diner going in is that they do look like and/or try to evoke the very same porcelain tile facade of the Sinclair station they demolished. Here’s an example of the new-ish Courtesy on Hampton Ave. But I understand there’s issues with gas tanks underground and such, so I’ll let it pass… just like I did with all the opportunities to properly record it for photographic history.
There are two Sinclair stations, proper, that I know of. Above is the station at Chippewa and Giles Streets in South St. Louis, built in 1953.
And here is one at 1st Capitol Dr and South 5th Street in St. Charles. Note that both of them still have the round white neon clock still hanging in the window. Wonder if that was a corporate-issue item back in the day?
While researching all this, I ran across a new Sinclair corporate website, and it reports that there are about 140 Sinclair stations in Missouri, including the South St. Louis station. Was there another corporate shake-up and retail Sinclair was OK once again? Do we get the dinosaurs back? Their corporate history is fascinating, but dry (lots of great building photos, though), so who knows.
All I know is I blew it. Hopefully what happened to Rayman’s will be a positive photographic lesson I learn to act on.demolished, mid-century modern commercial Rayman's Auto Sales Repair & Gas, Rayman's Sinclair, sinclair gas station
3 Responses to “Procrastinated & Missed It: Rayman’s Sinclair Demolished”
Hate to tell you this but the one at Chippewa and Giles probably isn’t lo g for this world. The octagenarians who owned it sold it and they no longer have gas or signage. I miss them…always went there for full service, even tho it cost a few cents more and took longer…those old dude moved slowly. Totally worth it for the service and the conversation.
You know what? When researching the South Side building, I noticed a fairly recent sale and the owners have Asian names. Maybe they will re-use the building as something else? Either way, I better go get some more photos, just in case! Thanks for the heads up.
samizdat June 30th, 2012 at 9:51 AM
Hi, honey! Lol! Roze is my wife, FYI.
Yeah, stripped off all of the Sinclair signage, too. The Weisehans were (are) two of the nicest guys out there. The closing was a disappointment, to say the least. I think they are still doing car repairs, tho’.
There is a rather complicated back story to the whole thing, too. The Sinclair @ Giles was independently owned, as was another one, possibly the store in St. Chuck. When the other ones in the area were sold (including the one on S. Broadway near 55), the Giles station had some difficulty finding a supplier, if I remember correctly. In fact, near the end of the Weisehan ownership, they were having a lot of trouble getting premium. It’s sad seeing these old independently owned stores going. I’ll miss seeing the old and faded Teamsters decal in the window. The Wiesehans, to their great credit, are staunch pro-union working men. Honorable fellows.
Funny thing, I think there may be a solid brick facade under the enameled steel, as I believe the original building had the type of commercial appearance popular during the 20′s. Probably a terra cotta parapet cap, and that deep red/maroon brick with the roughly textured surface.