America's Oldest Gas Station

Being born and raised in western Pennsylvania, I thought I knew about all of the points of interest in the area.  I had no idea until recently that the oldest gas station in the United States was tucked away in the nearby city of Altoona!  My mother and I were in Altoona shopping and stopped to visit this little piece of automotive history.

I only took a couple of photos before the men working invited me into the main building.  They were kind enough to tell me all about the station.  They pointed out some historical features of the office and gave me an informational brochure and some souvenir wooden nickels.  They also gave my mother and I a peek inside the garage building which was originally a carriage house and a stable for horses.  The men were incredibly friendly and helpful; a true asset to the business.

From the brochure:
Reighard's was originally a blacksmith shop... leased to a blacksmith named George H. Hinkle.  In 1908 Henry Ford introduced the Model T.  In 1909 George H. Hinkle began selling gasoline and has been selling gasoline ever since... making Reighard's the oldest gas station in continuous operation in America.  In 1931, George D. Reighard purchased the property.  It remains a thriving business.  It really has been "Full service since 1909".  Reighard's has been proudly owned and operated by Martin Oil Company since 1978.

Reighard's Gas Station is located at 3205 Sixth Avenue, Altoona, PA.

An undated photo of the gas station displayed inside the main building.

The station has changed a little over the years but has stayed true to the original.

This is a full service gas station.  You pull your car up to a pump and the workers will pump your gas and clean your windows.  They'll even check your fluids if you'd like them to.

There is a room inside the main building with the original floors.

Old photographs of the gas station displayed inside the main building.

The garage building was originally a stable for horses.  It still has the original doors.

As if the tour and information weren't enough, I walked out of the main building to find an all original 1941 Studebaker parked at a gas pump.  The owner, a sociable man named John, let me photograph his car and then took me for a ride around the block!  This serendipitous event was the cherry on top of our visit to the oldest gas station in America :)

"There is joy in work.  There is no happiness except in
the realization that we have accomplished something."
~Henry Ford

Traveling On

Lesson learned in this past week:  It's not easy blogging often while traveling!  I had a great time visiting and reconnecting with my family and friends in Pennsylvania.  This was the only time this year that I'll be "home" for a visit and I'm so blessed that I could stay as long as I did.  I still have a few blog posts to write from my time in PA including a trip to the oldest gas station in America, a tour of the Ghost Town Trail, and an amazing hot air balloon ride.  I'll get those up as soon as I can.

Last Friday I flew from Pennsylvania to Dallas, Texas where I met up with some friends, my husband, and my father-in-law.  My friends and I ran the Heels and Hills and Him Half Marathon on September 25 while Johnnie cheered us on and took some great pictures for us.  The race was fantastic and seeing my friends again was so wonderful!!  After the race, we all celebrated by going to a Texas Rangers vs Seattle Mariners baseball game where Johnnie caught a home-run ball!  The race and the game will be more posts coming soon.

Before leaving Dallas, we stopped by the spot where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  Everything looks nearly the same as it did 48 years ago and there are X's on the road marking where he was when the bullets hit him.  It was pretty incredible being at such a historically important spot.  This will also be another post coming soon.

We stayed with friends in a northern Texas city for a couple of days and got to see some old friends that were in Korea with us earlier this year.  One of the things I love about the Air Force is that "good-bye" really means "until next time" because you always end up seeing old friends sooner or later and it almost feels as if you've never been apart.

We left Texas yesterday and are driving to Iowa.  We'll be spending about a week visiting with family and touring the "Hawkeye State" before Johnnie and I fly back to Korea.

There isn't much to see on the drive from Texas to Iowa.

A tote bag in a window of a Kansas souvenir shop :)

"A heart is not judged by how much you love;
but by how much you are loved by others."
~The Wizard of Oz

Scenic Sunday

* Every Sunday our blog features a random scenic photograph from our travels *

Sunset viewed from Craggy Gardens near Asheville, North Carolina

"Not all those who wander are lost."
~J.R.R. Tolkien

To see other blogs featuring a Scenic Sunday, visit

Flight 93 Memorial (2011)

The Flight 93 Memorial has changed drastically within the past couple of years.  Yesterday I did a post showing what it used to look like.  Today's post shows how it currently looks with photos that I took this past Sunday while visiting it with my parents.  The park is still under construction but the parts that are complete were very nicely done.  It is a beautiful tribute to the passengers and crew of Flight 93.

The old memorial was covered with items that visitors left behind.  The new memorial has only a handful of places built into the walkway wall where things can be left.

There is a tall marble slab for each of the passengers and crew members.

Straight through the wooden gate is the actual crash site that is now marked by a 17-ton boulder.

"The heroes of Flight 93 won the first battle in the
war on terror, and they should never be forgotten.
~Jim Ramstad

Flight 93 Memorial (2006)

This year was the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11.  One of the planes went down in a Pennsylvania field near the small town of Shanksville.  Being in western PA, that crash was already "close to home" but for our family, it was closer than most.  At the time of the attacks, my family owned a small vacation cottage on Indian Lake.  This lake is 2 miles (as a bird flies) from the crash site.  Lightweight debris from the crash was blown onto the lake and the houses around it.  There were pieces of seat cushion foam floating on the lake and washing up on the shore.  There were charred pieces of seat fabric and airplane safety cards covering our yard and roof.  To see and touch pieces of that fateful flight was heart-wrenching.  Authorities came knocking on our door to collect everything that we found on our property.

I've visited the Flight 93 Memorial at least five times in the past ten years, the last time being with Johnnie in 2008.  This week my parents and I went to see the memorial again.  The area is now an official National Park and a new road was built leading to the crash site.  Arriving at the park, I felt like it was my first time there.  I didn't recognize anything.  Everything that was there in 2008 was gone and an elaborate memorial (still under construction) has been built.

I will do a blog post tomorrow about the new Flight 93 Memorial but today's post is a visit to the old one. This is for anyone reading this blog who never got a chance to see the old memorial as it stood for many years.  All of the photos below were taken in 2006 during one of my visits there.

There was a partial fence wall at the memorial.  Most people who visited the memorial left something stuck in the wall or laying on the ground around it.  Things left included coats, shirts, hats, flags, coins, medals, and patches.

There were even things hung on the back of the wall.

Someone hung a copy of a newspaper article about a bible that survived the crash.

The victims names were carved onto the backs of benches that sat facing the crash site.

There were little flag angels standing for each victim.

The actual crash site was marked by a flag, circled below.

"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die"
~Thomas Campbell