Glen Rose is a small town on the northern edge of the Texas Hill Country known to fossil hunters far and wide. But what most miss when visiting the area’s fossilized dinosaur tracks is the surprisingly beautiful and photogenic ruins of a gas station constructed from petrified wood. According to Dennis Moore, a historian and former mayor tempore of the town, the station acted as a speakeasy during Prohibition.
Referred to as the Ed Young station in honor of its original owner, the abandoned structure is composed almost entirely of petrified wood, white quartz, and other stones mixed in for decoration. After Prohibition, the station was briefly a small grocery store, which closed in the 1950s. It’s striking that the structure is still standing, as there is no roof and one side of the building is split through the middle. The structure has not been maintained for at least 50 years.
Massive deposits of petrified wood were discovered in the North Texas area during the early 1920s. There was so much that farmers and locals would dig up the remains, load them into trucks, and haul the loads as far as Arizona to be sold in gift shops. It also sparked a building and design craze. People would often incorporate the fossilized wood into existing facades or used it to build entire structures.
This location is often referred to as Sycamore Grove. At one time, there was also a motel here, which was convenient if customers drank a bit too much moonshine.
Know Before You Go
From Highway 67 heading west, you’ll turn left in front of an Exxon Tiger Mart onto Highway 333. Follow it until you come to the fork in the road (Sycamore Grove) and veer to the right, which becomes Old Highway 67 (County Rd. 312). Ed Young’s Station will be on your right.
From old downtown Glen Rose, head toward Highway 67. Follow the curve past Oak Grove Park on your left. At the star made of petrified wood in the grass, turn sharply right and stay on Old Highway 67 until you come to the ruins on your left.