New Life for Frank Lloyd Wright-Designed Gas Station

50-year-old Cloquet, Minn. gas station has fallen into disrepair

Monday, Sep 28, 2009  |  Updated 2:00 PM CDT
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New Life for Frank Lloyd Wright-Designed Gas Station

MetropolisMag.com

A rare completed piece of his utopian Broadacre City, Wright’s only gas station opened in Cloquet, Minnesota, in 1958.

Frank Lloyd Wright thought the gas station was the social hub of suburbia, and one of the handful of buildings built in his vision of "Broadacre City" is a little service station in Cloquet, Minn.

Complete with a glassed-in lounge on the second floor with commanding views of the river, Wright hoped that residents would gather there over coffee, Metropolis Magazine described in an October, 2008 article.

It's the only service station ever designed by Wright, the renowned early-20th Century architect and Wisconsin native. It was built in 1958 but had fallen into disrepair until its 50th anniversary last year.

The family that owns it now is restoring and preserving it after about 30 years of neglect.

The owners have spent nearly a quarter-million dollars to restore some of Wright's original design touches, including copper trim around the roof and '50s-style garbage cans.

They also put in a new roof and insulation to improve the structural integrity.

Owner Mike McKinney said the station still usually gets a few visitors every day interested in Wright's design. Cloquet is about 20 miles west of Duluth.

Wright built his first home and his studio in Oak Park.

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