Weekend Photos: Teapot Dome Gas Station

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

On yet another road trip we happened along this strange form of filling station–a tribute of sorts to the Teapot Dome Scandal. It has been one hundred years since the ensuing investigation, which greatly embarrassed the Harding Administration and later sent Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall to prison on corruption charges.  In a twist, in 1985 the Department of the Interior added the station to the National Register of Historic Places.

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I find it almost a bit amusing to see these antique pumps constructed to only support per gallon prices up to 99 9/10 cents–they read just under 28 cents on the dials–in light of today’s five dollar reality. (A scandal in itself) But we can learn to make use of the hands we are dealt in life. I am reminded of a time twenty-five years ago when I was travelling in Turkey and saw a 1970’s vintage gas pump still being used then. It too had similar dials having only three analog numerals for the sale price. Yet being within a nation famous for several periods of hyperinflation, the station’s owners just made up for this shortcoming by progressively adding more and more zeros to the face of the pump until gas was dispensed in millions of Lira. One could also see the growing resignation to the price increases via the first extra zero being carefully painted with a brush, to years later when the last three each were rather hastilly handwritten with a sharpie by probably the same person. Hopefully we won’t be so unlucky.

Images (C) 2022 By Darren Smith

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