You won’t find it on Route 66. It’s a historic piece of America called Reighard’s and you’ll find it in Altoona, PA on Sixth Avenue where it has operated as a full-service gas station since 1909. To put that date in perspective, consider that Teddy Roosevelt was president of the U.S. , average income was $944 annually, and gasoline was 6 cents per gallon.
If you go there you’ll find it near the railroad engineering feat known as Altoona’s “Horseshoe curve”…built by pick and shovel when the Pennsylvania Railroad was in its infancy. Altoona remains an important railroad town, though the railroad is now owned by Norfolk Southern Railway. Interestingly enough, the gas station began selling fuel as a blacksmith shop serving the Baker Estate. Baker Mansion, built in 1849, still stands nearby.
The Reighard family ran the full-service gas station from its inception until 1978, when the Martin Oil Company bought it, and to their credit, the Martins didn’t tamper with the winning formula that has served generations of customers very well. They sell gas, diesel, kerosene and propane.
Full service. 7 days a week. Uniformed employees pump Martin’s Gold Star gasoline and take care of their customers. When Altoona Mirror reporter Walt Frank observed Reighard’s centennial, he quoted local customers who knew how fortunate they are: "Full service is from another generation. It is unheard of in this day to have someone ask you if they can check the air in your tires or check your oil. They also clean your windshield and they also always do the back windshield as well," Jeff Berryman said. "They may be a penny or two more per gallon, but you can't put a price on that service.
"They are friendly and you get that old-fashioned service. That is a rarity these days," said Larry McKee of Altoona, a Reighard's customer for about 25 years. "What I like is that I get to see a face and talk to a real person rather than a gas pump. I enjoy talking with the people."
Reflecting on the landmark gas station today, Janice Martin, general manager said “We were glad to have the opportunity to acquire a thriving business, and we are grateful for the unique relationship we have with our customers, many who’ve been with us for generations.” While Reighard’s remains a full-service fuel retailer, Martin operates nine other Pennsylvania locations that are convenience stores. Reighard’s place in history has been recognized by the Society for Commercial Archaeology at the Smithsonian Institute and the American Heritage Foundation.
Read more at http://blog.gasbuddy.com/posts/Reighard-s-America-s-Oldest-Gas-Station/1715-464686-612.aspx#63FDDcpIA7FphbHZ.99