Petrified Wood Building – Lamar, Colorado - Atlas Obscura

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Petrified Wood Building

Lamar, Colorado

Once named the “world’s oldest gas station” due to its unusual construction material. 


Wood and stone are traditionally two of the most popular materials for building. A much less common choice is wooden stone. Yet, that is exactly what a Colorado entrepreneur decided to use to build his business in 1932. Apparently tired of working with regular wood, lumber dealer William T. Brown constructed a building entirely of Colorado petrified wood. Even the floor was made of petrified wood.

The completed product was billed as the “world’s oldest gas station” with a purported age of 175 million. As Brown had hoped, his ancient gas station became a hot tourist attraction, and even earned a column from Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

The gas station continued to operate until Brown’s death in 1957. It was purchased by Stagner Inc, and subsequently became the world’s oldest car dealership. As it turned out, selling and servicing cars from a tiny petrified shack was a bit cramped and inconvenient. Stagner moved its main offices to a larger building next door in 1974. These days, the petrified wood house can be found hidden behind used Ford F-350s. It makes an interesting contrast in the fate of ancient plants—some becoming a rare form of lumber arranged into a car dealership, and others turning into oil to be guzzled up by those cars.

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