Car club hopes to reopen historic Eamon's gas station as museum next year

A historical society and car club in High River, Alta., are hoping to raise more funds to finish restoring a classic local landmark.

The 1950s-era gas station was sold to the club for just $10

Enthusiasts in High River, Alta., are working to restore the Eamon's gas station to its 1950s-era glory. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

A historical society and car club in High River, Alta., are hoping to raise more funds to finish restoring a classic local landmark. 

"The older folks like myself, it brings us back to when we were young kids and took our cars to service stations similar to this," said Ray Bouillet, president of the Eamon's Garage Historical Society. "And also it's part of the history."

The Eamon's gas station was a landmark for travellers heading out to the mountains.

Ray Bouillet is president of the Eamon's Garage Historical Society. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

"This building is very unique because of the position it had in Calgary, out on the way to Banff on the highway until the Trans-Canada was built," Bouillet said. 

It was originally purchased by the City of Calgary in 2012 to make way for the park-and-ride lot at the Tuscany LRT station.

After spending more than $250,000 to save the building, it was sold by the city to the River City Classics Car Club for just $10 in 2015.

Now, the two groups are working to restore it to its former glory. So far the building, which has been moved to its new home next to the High River rodeo grounds, has received new concrete heated flooring, insulation, drywall and some fresh paint — more than a thousand hours of donated time and materials.

A vintage Texaco gas station attendant's uniform is on display inside the old Eamon's building in High River, Alta. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

"What we're trying to do is put it back into a typical 1950s, 1960s Texaco service station," he said.

The front part of the station will be a museum, the east bay a meeting space that can be rented out, and the west bay will be set up as a mechanic's bay, complete with period-correct tools and a classic car with the hood up.

"To see the garage removed originally was kind of sad to see it go," said Jeff Langford, president of River City Classics Car Club. "It brings you back to a similar time and educates the younger generation about how things used to be."

Jeff Langford is president of the River City Classics Car Club. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

Langford said the building, while it does require a significant amount of work, has "good bones," and he hopes to see the museum up and running by next summer. 

The car club will be raffling off a custom 1929 Ford Tudor in September to help pay for the restoration project.

With files from Terri Trembath, Scott Dippel