Passion = Truth? How Jeffrey James Francis Ircink Sees The World? I love when people are passionate about something. That surging of emotion is the one honest measure of what truth is. It's a truthful display of how a person really feels about something or someone at that particular moment. That passion IS truth.

About me...

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Greendale, Wisconsin, United States
Ex-producer of THE REALLY FUNNY HORNY GOAT INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, playwright, actor, singer, outdoorsman, blogger, amateur photog, observer & bitcher, Beach Boys groupie, Brett Favre fanatic, lover of everything Celtic and forever a member in the Tribe of HAIR. Spent most of my life in the Village of Waterford, a small town just outside of the Milwaukee suburbs. After 12 years in North Hollywood, Bel Air and Culver City, Cali, I moved back to Wisconsin in September 2009. No regrets - of moving to LA OR moving back to WI. Have traveled to Belfast, Ireland, Dayton (OH), Manhattan, Seattle, Cedar Rapids, New York, Miami and Sydney, Australia with my plays. Moved back into the Village of Greendale where I was born. Life is good.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Barnsdall-Rio Grande gas station

The Barnsdall-Rio Grande gas station in Goleta is just up the road from Tom Nowak's place - my non-blood uncle's brother. Goleta is the next town north of Santa Barbara. I've driven by this place dozens of times and - since I'm moving back to WI any day now - decided to snap a shot of it and do a little research on it. Click on READ MORE! and have look at the California coast you've probably never seen.

The Barnsdall Rio Grande service station was built in 1929 and is one of the most architecturally significant service station in California and perhaps the United States. Constructed in the popular Spanish colonial revival style of its time, it was designed by the same architectural firm that was responsible for many of the attractive Richfield service stations of the same time period.

One of the most notable features of the station was its vertical elongation. It covered only 450 square feet at the base but soared 40 feet into the air. The third floor of the tower held a 2,000 gallon water storage tank which provided pressurized water to the station.

The station was situated at the entrance to the oil field owned by the Barnsdall-Rio Grande Oil Company and was intended to be a corporate showpiece. The first operator of the station was D.M. Tinsler. Under his management the station received a beautification award from the Garden Club of Santa Barbara and the Montecito Roadside Committee. The Montecito Roadside committee was particurlary concerned about the unsightly accumulation of signage around service stations and along the roadways. The contest judges declared the grounds to be “finely kept” and relatively free from signs. In the years to come the station would receive many other awards for “excellent appearance”.

Today the station is located on a side road, but when it was originally built is was on the Coast Highway (now 101) and undoubtedly attracted the attention of the highway traveler. Even if the motorist was not in need of services they would be compelled to stop just to admire the architectural beauty of this unique station. If the service station didn’t stop them, the adjoining restaurant would.

Seeking a partner for this wildcatting operation, the Rio Grande Company combined with the Barnsdall Oil Co. to explore this unproven location. They began drilling on June 1, 1928. They had agreed to drill to 3,000 feet at a cost of about $10.00 a foot and if the well didn’t prove out at that depth to give up. At 3,160 feet, the drilling supervisor asked for permission to pull the plug. As a last ditch effort before giving up they asked the geologist Morgan to have one last look at the final coring. Morgan detected traces of petroleum. They drove the bit ten more feet and struck a gas pocket, at just over 3,200 feet they found the oil. It was a gusher generating 180 barrels per hour.

The petroleum was so prolific that the company did not have the capacity to refine all of it as it was produced. While the storage and delivery facilities were being built Barnsdall and Rio Grande made arrangements with Seaside Oil Company to take all of the surplus flow.

The speculators behind the Barnsdall and Rio Grande Oil Companies were rich, paying $650,000.00 in taxes on their first year strike alone. Although the cost and design of the small flagship station seemed extravagant, the expense was nearly insignificant relative to the earnings of the rich oil reserve behind it along the shores of Ellwood in Santa Barbara County.

I'm gonna deviate from the story for a second. Little known fact: during WWII, Japanese fired 16 shells at this exact location of the West Coast. There were no injuries but $500 damage was done to a shed and catwalk at the seaside Barnsdall-Rio Grande Oil Co. field along Goleta Beach.

Above: Filming at the Barnsdale-Rio Grande station during The Postman Always Rings Twice, with Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner.

Might as well give a status report since this made it to the top again. The guy that is responsible for the Beanie Babies, Mr Ty Warner is now the proud owner of this historic service station building. It came with the adjoining golf course that is built where the oil field tanks once stood. Warner has purchased a number of flagship Santa Barbara properties thanks to all of those Beanie Baby millions (or was it a billion?).

He has done a remarkable job of restoring and or remodeling many of these famous properties including the Santa Barbara Biltmore Hotel and San Ysidro Ranch, despite having to put up with endless nonsense from every group that thinks that they should have a vested interest in anything that gets done in Santa Barbara.


Polka Photos said...

I just found this gas station on accident last week when looking for some coffee. Love the all the old photos you posted.

gasboy gas pumps said...

I think this is the gas station that my grandfather is talking about. He also has a photo of it and it is really just like that. How I wish I can also see it personally.

Trenton Ulysses Rock said...

Great info!!! and great pics!! Thanks. said...

you are all welcome. glad i could post it & the info. ;)

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