The city of Rome in Oneida County is home several historic places to visit including Fort Stanwix and Erie Canal Village but don’t overlook the H. P. Sears Oil Gas Station Museum where gas was once 12.9 cents a gallon. The corner station is an authentic preservation of a 1929 service station. Built by Howard P. Sears Sr., this was the second station in a chain of many to come. Relive the memories of a simpler time when the owners and operators took pride in serving the public and the architecture of their establishments.
In front of the building there is a pair of restored clock face gas pumps built by Martin & Swartz sitting on a reconstructed crescent shaped pump island and a set of authentic light poles and fixtures. Each pump has a visible sight glass that allowed the gas to flow through while turning a small impeller indicating that product was indeed flowing. Take note of the magnificent fluted tapered boom style sign pole with a pair of original Sears oval signs hanging over an air scale made by the Toledo Air Scale Company. The air tower has a retractable hose reel in its belly and an illuminated globe. This rare scale actually shows the amount of air being used.
Next to the building is a drive-over oil change pit. The pit allowed a car to drive onto a set of steel ramps that spanned the pit leaving the entire undercarriage of the vehicle accessible from in the pit. The service attendant would use the convenient stairs located at the head of the pit to walk down under the car and change the oil. There was a tethered funnel mounted on the pit wall that emptied into an underground storage tank alleviating the need to handle the used oil.
The building itself is a thing of beauty with its orange tile roof, brilliant white stucco exterior and curved fascia. Colorful red and blue porcelain tiles trim the building while rows of incandescent lights mounted under the eaves light the building. Inside there are a wide variety of period items from a radiator nozzle spout to a windup time clock. Hand crank pumps mounted on the floor fed from underground tanks delivered oil for customers. The showcases are filled with nostalgic items of a bygone era. Don’t miss this unique museum.