This sweet little building always prompts daydreams of potential future use. The southwest corner of 38th and Central is a former gas station built sometime after 1932, after lengthy battles with nearby neighbors. The property owner, Edgar L. Frybarger had made an agreement with nearby property owners to whom he had sold homes/ lots, agreeing that he would not develop this corner for business for 20 years. In 1932, there was still 3 years left to go on that contract and suits and appeals ensued. It’s not clear when this was finally built, but as far as filling stations go, this one is a handsome one.

Though I wrinkle my nose at the idea that this might become a gas station again, it would be great to see a small neighborhood serving business of some kind in this structure.

The address is 451 East 38th Street and it’s clearly been closed for years.

Such potential…*sigh*

If this building were suddenly yours, what would you wan to do with it? What kind of business do you think would thrive on this corner and what difference do you think it could make to the surrounding community? It’d make an awesome bike hub or petite breakfast joint, don’t you think? It’s close to the fairgrounds and the Monon trail, after all…

12 responses to “Sunday Prayers: 38th and Central”

  1. Mark Finch says:

    This was one of its previous incarnations:

  2. joe says:

    I remember that had a giant Mobil Pegasus painted on the tile roof. I am betting it used to be a Pure Oil Station because the design is fairly similar to Pure Oils designs in the 1920’s.

  3. Eric Kinsey says:

    Hey Tiffany, didnt want to dominate the thread on Facebook. But I was very intrigued and did a little digging. This station and the ones I mentioned in Anderson look like they were Pure Oil Service Stations. The description is almost exact…”The building is divided into three sections. The office portion juts out slightly from the front and side of the buildings and is visually set off by a steeply pitched, side-gabled roof with end chimneys. A rear wing with a flat roof and a one-stall “Lubridome” (service bay) at the side, also with a steeply pitched roof complete the building. The brick exterior is painted white to contrast with the standard “Pure Oil Blue” tile roof. The chimneys are capped with “Pure Oil Blue” chimney pots. Exterior ornamentation includes an arched entrance and adjacent window, an oriel window with a copper top and base, a copper hood sheltering the entrance, decorative wrought iron lamps and railings, and copper gutters and downspouts. The downspouts are embossed with the Pure Oil monogram”. Check it out:

  4. Brad H. says:

    The last occupant was PESTCO Pest Control, which was swallowed up by Terminix in 2005. I think the Everts family still own it.

  5. Jim says:

    There was a business in this, a tax preparer or something, until a couple years ago.

    I gather that there was a period in gas-station design where they tried to make them look like little cottages, as the thinking was that motorists were more likely to stop at something that looked like a home.

  6. basil berchekas jr says:

    This Pure Oil station was designed to fit in with the architecture of the neighborhood; would make an excellent small neighborhood-oriented business…

  7. basil berchekas jr says:

    I noted the to house next door was Dr Norman Booher’s office; he was married to Dr Olga Booher, a pediatrician (that house made into offices has historic significance itself); they had their office in this house on 38Th next to the filling station building…

  8. John Booher says:

    Hello – Basil is correct. My brothers and I spent many a weekend helping my Dad take care of the yard and the trimming (and shoveling snow in the winter). I spent many a school day doing homework in the basement.

  9. Terri DeForge says:

    My great uncle Clarence Lang, uncle jack owned the Pure oil gas station back in the day. He passed in 1978. If anyone has information or artifacts from the time i would like to talk to you. Contact: Thanks


  10. Terri DeForge says:


    I read your article on 38th & central, old pure oil gas station shoveling snow as a child with your brothers. My great uncle clarence lang, uncle jack owned the gas station at one time. Did you happen to know him? Please advise.


  11. daniel Mundy says:

    My brother worked in that building for a time, when it was PESTCO.

  12. Kelly Lavengood says:

    John, is there any possibility you have old pictures of the service station? I have purchased it and am renovating it to office space. I plan to restore the exterior as much as possible but am finding it difficult to obtain any historic photos.

    Kelly Lavengood

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