Thought a few folks here might be interested to hear that a restored Gilmore Gas station will play a prominent role in an upcoming film, shot on location in Carnation, Washington.
You can learn more about the film at the following link and see more pictures of the station and its restored pumps: http://www.ellipsisproductions.com/production.html
Here is more information about the film and the story about the pumps and the gas station:
When Seattle filmmaker Christy Elton set out early last fall to look for an old-style gas station to use in a scene for a movie she was producing, she soon discovered there just weren’t that many to pick from.
And what she did find didn’t look that great.
So when she came across the three restored antique pumps local businessman Carey Tremaine had put out just a couple of months earlier, she couldn’t have been more pleased.
“The antique pumps in Carnation are the only decent ones I could find in Washington,” she said. “There are a couple in Portland and only one in Seattle and that one is just junk.”
Tremaine had set the pumps out at the site of a former gas station on the corner of Tolt and Commercial. And even though the gas station itself was “history” – it had quit pumping fuel in the late 1980s – it made for a suitable place for Tremaine’s renovated pumps and a perfect spot for the scene Elton had planned.
Elton and her crew from Ellipsis Productions began setting up for the filming for the movie “The Suit” on November 18 around 3 p.m., doing most of the shooting after dark. The short film, also written and directed by Elton, is the story of a homeless man who acquires a new suit and fancy car and what happens to him when he loses it all.
The film, a “Keystone” style (think Charlie Chaplin … no sound other than music and narrative), is a festival-type movie that was also shot on location in Seattle and Mount Vernon. Elton expects it to be finished in December.
Even though the pumps are vintage 1920s and ’30s and Elton used a 1957 Rolls Royce for the scene, she pointed out it’s not really a “period” film. “With the gas pumps and the car, it’s really more of a ‘magic spot,’” she said.
The crew finished filming about 2:30 a.m.
“It was a long night,” said Elton, who says she makes her living in the corporate video world. “But I do this for fun.”
Tremaine, appropriately, echoed that sentiment about his own hobby of restoring gas pumps and other petroleum-related items.
“I do it for fun,” he said, admitting his interest in “petroliana” as he calls it, is “a guy thing.”
Although he says he did some of the restoration himself, he credits Carnation resident John Leith for doing most of the physical work required in renovating the pumps.
And Ron Wahlin of Fall City “did a very nice paint job on two of them,” he emphasized.
He pointed out that the idea is not to re-create the past but to try to retain the nostalgic flavor.
“Carnation’s main street is part of a scenic route that is used heavily in the summer,” he says. “The vintage gas pumps are a nice roadside attraction for weekend motorists and bicyclists. State Route 203 is a major route for car and Harley clubs that come for rallies. A lot of people stop by the pumps just to look or take photos.”
The building behind the pumps was originally a Gilmore gas station built in 1932 by the Gilmore Oil Company. Tremaine bought the property in 1998.
“The Gilmore Oil Company, in the 1930s and ’40s, was the largest gasoline retailer on the West Coast,” Tremaine said.
He explained that A.F. Gilmore had been a landowner and dairy farmer in Los Angeles. He was drilling for water for his cows, struck oil instead, “and that was the beginning of the Gilmore Oil Company.”
The company was bought out by Mobil around 1940. In 1967 the station went to the Texaco brand and in the late 1980s quit functioning as a gas station altogether.
But Tremaine couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make the old station appear to come back to life. He said he purchased the three pumps at different times and they are of different vintage.
“The tall, what is called a ‘visible’ pump in the middle was from the 1920s and was hand-operated. It had a rusted-out frame when I got it, but it looks brand-new after having been restored,” he said. “The station is all in original colors. It’s all clearly a disappearing part of Americana, part of a bygone era.”
And even though the pumps don’t operate, the end result is a pretty realistic looking vintage gas station.
“It’s a point of interest,” Tremaine said. “And it gets people out of their cars to look around. Carnation needs more of those.”
Tremaine recently had the original Texaco sign from the station professionally restored and re-installed on the pole.
But he had just barely got the sign up before being ordered by the city to take it down.
“The city said that I was not in compliance with the sign code and also that my permit had expired,” Tremaine said last week.
“The city said the pole sign is not allowed and they (the city) are forcing me under threat of legal action to remove it by the 19th of May,” he explained. “This is a nice fixture that now will be lost forever. But they have made their ruling and that’s that.”
The old signage is really coveted, he said, adding, “the sign makes it look a lot better that before when the sign pole had nothing on it.”
So, he noted sadly, the Texaco sign will be gone just as the old Texaco culture is also all but gone.
“In the days of ‘Trust Your Car to the Man Who Wears the Star,’ Texaco required that all attendants be in uniform and well-groomed,” he said. “The company knew it was important to have dependable people on hand so that women could go to one of the stations even late at night and feel safe. The stations all had clean restrooms that were sanitized and certified. The old jingle they used to sing on TV was really true.”
Nostalgia of those bygone days, Tremaine thinks, is the reason his vintage pumps are beginning to generate interest from those in town and others just passing by.
“It’s nice that people are taking notice of the old things,” he said. “It’s fond memories people have of things past.”
He says the proprietors of Four Seasons Heating and Cooling, which is the business in the old gas station building, report that at least once a day they get a visit from someone who is either asking for directions or if they can fill their tank.
“The owners have to tell them that the pumps are just for display,” he said. “But people still recognize it as a way station. It’s inviting. And it still works its magic.”
[This message has been edited by chadhaas (edited 06-09-2006).]