For the past fifty-four years, a Grecian-style monument has stood on the grounds of The Tatnall School in Delaware. Oddly enough, the structure that looks as if it’s straight from ancient Greece was actually once a gas station!
Imagine pulling up your car to gas up at a service station that was built to look like the classic Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, Greece! And strangely enough, it wasn’t such an oddity back then as it would be in modern times. In the 1920s, gas service stations had many exotic themes, some even built to resemble the Egyptian pyramids!
The Grecian structure which was originally located at the corner of 11th and Washington streets in downtown Wilmington amazingly remains intact and well-preserved. It is believed to be the only service station still standing from about a total of fifty that were built and operated by Philadelphia’s Atlantic Refining Co. back in the 1920s.
This “Greek monument” is even more steeped in history. It is believed that architect Joseph F. Kuntz, who designed The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, most likely was the man who created this Grecian-themed beauty.
“The Greek gas station” had been boarded up and forgotten about for years when it was moved from downtown Wilmington and donated to the private Tatnall School in 1964. The move was quite costly — about $75,000 — not to mention the cause of a large traffic jam! Thankfully, nowadays, the structure has taken on new life as children from the school enjoy the beautiful Grecian-style gazebo and play it in daily.