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OPINION

Remembering when full-service gas stations reigned in Pratt

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
This former gas station at Sixth and Main is one of just a couple in Pratt that still exist from the time of full service gas stations when an attendant would pump the gas.

Do you remember when you could pull into a gas station and an attendant would come out an pump the gas, clean the windshield, check the tire pressure and check the oil? 

Nowadays, we pull up to the pump at a convenience store and no matter what the weather or the age of the driver, you have to get out and pump the gas yourself and do the other things too. 

Before the age self service convenience stores, gas stations provided more personal service to the customers. 

While its easy to find a convenience store, finding a full-service gas station is hard to do. The closest, and only full-service gas station I know of still in existence is in Haviland. 

Even there, across the street is an empty building that also used to be a gas station. There are several places in Pratt where there used to be gas stations that provided full service to locals and travelers on the highway. 

Some of those former gas station buildings stll stand at Fifth and Jackson, now a muffler shop, Sixth and Main and there is a very unique station at Fourth and Ninnescah. 

The Fourth and Ninnescah building has hanging lights, a gabled roof and if you look closely, you can see the areas in the concrete where the fuel pumps used to be. 

There is no problem finding a convenience store in Pratt to fill up with gas. In years gone by, the same was true for full service gas stations. Back when U.S. 54 came into town on what is now West Fifth Street, there used to be more full service gas stations to take care of the traveling motorist. While some were very utilitarian in their design, others, like the Fourth and Ninnescah station, had a bit more style and flair and some were downright unique.

For those old enough to remember, there used to be a gas station east of Pratt that was designed like an old time fuel pump with a globe on the top. The building stood for decades after the station went out of business and was, unfortunately, torn down when U.S. 54 was expanded to a four lane. 

The unique design of some stations added to the character of the place, defining a time where there was a little more attention paid to the customer. 

There used to be a gas station in the area on West Fifth Street where there are now a set of duplex apartments. There were also tourist cabins available in the same area.

There were several places in Pratt where full service existed but the buildings for those stations are almost all gone. 

But for those that remain, it is a nice reminder, especially under the current coronavirus conditions, of a time when you could pull into a station and no matter if it was below freezing or 102 in the shade or raining hard or the wind was howling, an attendant would come out to the car and ask “Fill’er up?”