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.

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Gas Station shaped like a plane. Old Airplane-Shaped Filling Station

On a trip back from Memphis we stopped in Powell, TN specifically to see this old gem on the side of the road. Elmer and Henry Nickle built the Airplane Service Station, along the newly widened US 25, in 1930. It pumped its last gas some time in the 1960s and has housed a few different businesses through the years.

The unique architecture design was intended to attract drivers -- which it did and still does today. The side of the building displays a sign that says "Save the Airplane Filling Station." There is a group of people that have started the "Airplane Filling Station Preservation Association" created to help restore the building to original condition and keep it from being torn down! SO....go check out this really awesome sight, visit its website (www.powellairplane.org), and maybe see how you can get involved to help save the plane!

[Kelly Gaskins, 05/30/2009]
Powell Airplane Service Station

The Powell Airplane Service Station is a great piece of historic fantastic architecture built by the Nickle Brothers in 1930. It was never really a service station, but was a gas station for a very long time. It is a very well known and loved building in the Powell community, and its loss would be a heartbreaking to everyone.

I am the Airplane Service Station Preservation Association's web site administrator. I wanted let everyone here know that we are working hard to preserve the historic landmark. If you are intrested in assisting us in any way you can visit our webpage www.powellairplane.org or email us at info@powellairplane.org. You can also visit our site to learn more about this wonderful piece of history, and to view a number of historic photos.

[Ben Whitelaw, 06/04/2005]
Plan building.  Airplane-shaped Building

Help save the plane! A truly wonderful piece of American history needs your help. My wife and I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Powell Community when this amazing building was open to the public (Dec. 6th). There is also a crashed airplane up the road a mile or two used for advertising. Being Southern California natives, we still recall the wonderful old roadside attractions along the world-famous Route 66. We found out that Old Dixie Highway has the same type of "Call of the Road" history.

The Airplane store really needs your help. There is a wonderful group doing their best to raise funds to keep this 1930s building out of the path of the bulldozer. I bought one of their SAVE THE AIRPLANE t-shirts and all of my friends now want one. If you can, either buy a t-shirt or just help out with a donation to help save this classic structure. Better yet, visit my new friend Rock Bernard at the Rocky Top Barber Shop in Knoxville and let him tell you all about this airplanes' history and hopefully open the doors for you.

[Tony Chiapetta, 12/31/2004]

February 2005: The building is reported as saved from destruction and has been added to the Tennessee historic sites registry. According to the web site, "Elmer and Henry Nickle built the Airplane Service Station, as it is commonly known, along the newly widened US 25 in 1930."

Airplane building. Airplane-shaped building

Follow-up on building: It's now a used-car lot, still alive but close to lots of development. Worth a detour if you're in the area.

[Lawrence Hargett, 05/03/2002]
Airplane-shaped Building

On Clinton highway, going West from Knoxville, TN, there is a building shaped like an airplane. It looks like a Curtis Robin from the 20's. I think it was at one time a service station. Better hurry before kudzu and gravity take it down.(It's on the left, just past the Walmart.)

[hmurrill, 09/19/1997]

Gas Station Shaped Like an Airplane

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
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