Petrified Wood Gas Station.

Petrified Wood Gas Station

Field review by the editors.

Decatur, Texas

E.F. Boydston built a gas station in 1927. Eight years later he decided to cover its exterior with chunks of petrified wood, perhaps inspired by a similar gas station in Colorado, or by Petrified Wood Park in South Dakota. E.F. evidently had a thing for rocks and used them to cover the exterior walls of his next-door cafe and tourist cabins as well (One of the motor court cabins was supposedly rented by Bonnie and Clyde a couple of weeks before they died).

Gas island overhang.

The cafe closed in 1964, the cabins around 1970, the gas station in 1988. They all passed into the hands of Nancy Rosendahl, one of E.F.'s grandchildren. She and her husband Jim, a retired nuclear engineer, told us that "we didn't have the heart to tear it down," and spent the next decade restoring the entire complex to its post-WWII glory days, which they said peaked around 1953.

Jim Rosendahl has turned the gas station office into his own private office (the gas station no longer sells gas), and told us that he wanted to open the motor court as offices for rent, a plan stymied because the cabins aren't wheelchair accessible.

The cafe had a standing-room-only lunch crowd when we arrived; it seems to be very popular with the locals, who apparently enjoy its proximity to fossilized vegetation.

Gas pump, motel cabins in background.

Petrified Wood Gas Station

Address:
904 U.S. Hwy 287, Decatur, TX
Directions:
Decatur is where US Hwy 287 and US Hwy 380 intersect, and hour NW of Dallas. Corner of Business 287 and Hale Avenue.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

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In the region:
Laumdronat - Washing Machine Museum, Mineral Wells, TX - 43 mi.

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