Inside a gas station on the side of the highway in land-locked Oklahoma, you might be surprised to be greeted by a boat. A dinghy, in fact. A dinghy once owned by legendary actor Errol Flynn, who is best known for playing Robin Hood and for his on-screen romances with actress Olivia de Havilland.
According to a newspaper article laminated and posted on the boat, the gas station’s owner, Tony Ashmore, purchased the dinghy from Sierra Boats in Lake Tahoe and had it delivered to his store in McAlester, Oklahoma. A letter on stationery from Sierra Boats notes its provenance, and that it was once owned by Mr. Flynn. “It is apparently one of two tenders (dinghies) aboard Errol Flynn’s yacht, Zaca,” the letter reads, further noting that it was originally delivered to Wilmington Boat Works in 1957. The owner, Ashmore, has been quoted as saying it is one of only 20 ever made with in-boat power.
The boat is made of teak and mahogany wood and has been inside the store since 1992. Ashmore had to remove the center column of his store’s double doors in order to move the 14-and-a-half-foot boat inside, so it isn’t going anywhere soon. He placed it inside his store as a conversation piece and has named it Dwer Jolly.
Update: The boat was removed in June 2021.
Know Before You Go
As of 2021, ongoing construction in McAlester requires some strategy in getting to the gas station. You can access S George Nigh Service Road from the intersection of Wade Watts Ave and Kiamichi Drive or by exiting off of the southbound highway onto the service road. The exit is positioned by the Hiway Inn & Suites and Pizza Inn. Once at the gas station, the dinghy is in the middle of the store and can't be missed.