Everybody knows and loves this beautiful old building. We have for decades. And we are all waiting patiently for the city to save it.
Over the years, countless artists have made their renditions of the little gas station with world class architecture.
But recently, a viewer told us they had seen a model of the Barnsdall station in an old Model Railroader magazine! This we had to see…..
Without too much effort, we found it and ordered up a copy ASAP. It was a Model Railroader magazine from April 1979.
The author, Carl Jacobsen, describes how he stumbled across the station one day and had no idea what it was. He snuck through the barbed wire fence, through the tall weeds and found an old receipt book on the ground. A “wrinkled carbon copy” said that on October 21, 1934, the Rio Grande Oil Inc. sold 23 gallons of gas to Perkins Cement Co. for 14 cents a gallon. That’s when the author realized it was an old gas station….
One of the great things about this article was it provided several photos of the old station back in 1979. Obviously, it was in much better shape than it is now. The author continues to say that he contacted Santa Barbara’s noted historian, Walker Tompkins, and learned all about the history of the building.
Around the back, the author peers over the 5 foot wall and sees “old oil cans, rusty mufflers, and worn out tires”. Look what great shape the tiles were in back then!
He took an oil can home to copy the company trademark on the model he was going to make for his train set. He says he was going to make it the “mysterious Spook House” of his layout….
He must have spent a lot of time there, because he goes into great detail about the building and surrounding area, with exact measurements and beautiful drawings of every little thing.
Fun to see what was still around the property in 1979.
Next is a very informative walk through of how to build it and what materials he recommends.
The author really studied every detail in order to build his model, and he even mocks the construction workers that built the station, pointing out several mistakes. But finishes by saying this little station could be the “shining jewel” of your model railroad layout.
Overall a fun find about a local treasure, and some great photos of its condition in 1979.
Not long after getting the magazine, I saw this picture in a Facebook post! I contacted the poster, Pam Dudash, and she explained her brother Mike Dudash had built it from scratch using resin.
So I talked to Mike and learned he used this very same magazine article for the dimensions. Quite a coincidence! He made about 20 of these and sold them around town. This is just another example of how much people love this old building and how important it is to save it!
Sources: Stu Fredricks, Henry Schulte, Model Railroader magazine, Pam Dudash, Mike Dudash