Henrico service station was a hub for drivers during the automobile’s golden age

HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — Thousands of cars travel through the intersection of Mountain and Courtney Roads every week, and on that corner is a sign of the Glen Allen of yesterday. It is a place that was a hub for the community.

“It’s part of a bygone era,” explains Kim Sicola, the History Programs Recreation Manager for Henrico County.

What is now known as the Courtney Road Service Station was built in 1925, and it was a destination during the golden age of the automobile.

“Prior to that time, getting gas meant going to an industrial park of some kind, filling up a tank and taking it home,” says Sicola.

However, that all changed when ‘house with canopy’ style houses sprinkled across the landscape, like the Sinclair Oil Corporation filling station at Mountain and Courtney Roads.

The Barlow family of Henrico owned it.

“It was this quaint little environment for people to come catch up and share news,” Sicola describes. “They would come and talk and get a cold drink, play a game of checkers.”

The original oil pumps remain, along with the wood stove that heated what was an early nod to the modern convenience store.

“They could get out, get their gas, come in and pick up some basic items like bread and milk,” says Sicola.

A man fondly known as Mr. Wiltshire helped drivers get what they needed to get back on the road.

The filling station has not been in operation for five decades, but it is still serving the Richmond region.

“It’s nostalgic,” Sicola adds. “It’s really what helps us understand what Henrico County was like 75 years, 100 years ago.”

Henrico County acquired the station and opened it for private tours in 2002. It is also open to the public a few times a year.

The next opportunity to visit the Courtney Road Service Station will be October 21, 2017, as part of the Henrico County Harvest Festival at Meadow Farm, 3400 Mountain Road in Glen Allen.

Shuttles will be available from Meadow Farm to the Courtney Road Service Station during the festival from noon to 4 p.m.

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