Powell, Tennessee: Gas Station Shaped Like an Airplane

An 80-year-old former gas station roughly shaped like the Spirit of St. Louis, or maybe a biplane. The locals are trying to preserve it.
Address:
6829 Clinton Hwy, Powell, TN
Directions:
I-75 exit 110 (Callahan Drive). Drive southwest about a mile, then right on US Hwy 25W/Hwy 9 (Clinton Hwy). The plane is at the top of a hill about a half-mile west, on the south side of the road.
Hours:
July 2010: Station closed, but visible.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Visitor Tips and News About Gas Station Shaped Like an Airplane

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Plane building. Gas Station Shaped Like an Airplane

Restoration update: The exterior is now shiny sheet metal and it appears to have new windows and door. The wing appears stable and sports mid-century lighting. Inside is in-progress: plywood walls and a bathroom. A news article said they may rent the space as an office once it's completed.

[Abby Suiter, 05/02/2013]
Airplane building under restoration. Airplane Gas Station

Airplane Gas Station on Clinton Highway is being restored. I pass by it on my new school bus route and took a picture to share. The renovations are slow, but they are happening.

[Jenkay518, 09/10/2012]

The gas station was built in 1930 by brothers Elmer and Henry Nickle. The road that it's on is the former Dixie Highway, which ran from Michigan almost to the southernmost tip of Florida.

Airplane Filling Station. Airplane Filling Station

As a member of the Board of the Airplane Filling Station Preservation Association, I highly recommend a visit to this unique structure. It is one of Tennessee's finest examples of "mimetic" or programmatic architecture. It's a novelty-type architecture which takes the form of buildings that resemble the products sold inside or some other novel design to attract drive-by customers.

The 80-year-old structure was built as the automobile was becoming a major mode of transportation and during a period of massive road and highway expansion.

Our restoration efforts are progressing slowly due to a lack of adequate funds. While we have received an annual grant from the Tennessee Historic Commission for several years, we continue to try to raise funds to complete our project. Currently, for a donation of $500, we will honor donors with a plaque recognizing their contributions on "their" window. We welcome all contributions as we work to save this wonderful and unique piece of Americana.

[C.L. Johnson, 08/08/2011]
Old plane photo and notices in the door window. Old Airplane Shaped Filling Station

The airplane nose is now wrapped up in a blue tarp. Signs in the door window ask for money to rehab the project. Traffic barricades have been placed around the structure...

[Rick Bruns, 07/01/2011]
Plane gas station. Old Airplane Shaped Filling Station

The plane-shaped gas station near Knoxville has been painted gray, as if a war plane. The building is currently vacant.

[Kim V, 11/30/2010]

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