A downtown Cumming building that once looked ready for demolition has been reborn.
After several months of restoration by city workers, the old Sinclair Gas Station, near the Dairy Queen on Atlanta Road, looks like it was pulled directly from a decade long past.
The old station is part of property purchased three years ago for about $730,000 to save it from demolition during road improvements.
City Administrator Gerald Blackburn said the site, which dates back to at least the 1930s, will soon become a welcome center for the city.
“There’s still some decorating on the interior that we want to do,” he said. “We envision a conference room where people could come and hold meetings.”
Blackburn said the project will likely wrap up “within the next 30 days.”
The restoration cost is about $101,000, with funding coming from the city’s general fund, Blackburn said.
It has received quite a bit of positive feedback, said Assistant City Administrator Steve Bennett.
“We’ve had a lot of people who only ever saw this [building] as a car wash or some store say, ‘Oh, that’s what it’s supposed to look like,’” he said.
Bennett said the project included enclosing the bay area where cars used to park for maintenance service.
That area will likely serve as the conference room, he said.
Restoration of the room included installation of decorative tin ceiling tiles reminiscent of those used in the 1930s, as well as old-style hanging lamp lighting.
The station also includes a lobby area, restroom and a room that Bennett said was probably the station’s office.
All have green and white tile floors, and the office area has been outfitted with cabinets and a sink.
Outside, two historic gas pumps have been added where they would have originally been.
“These are not reproductions. They are real, they’ve just been restored,” Bennett said.
Blackburn said Lakewood 400 Antiques representatives helped find the pumps, which cost $5,000 each.
“We asked them to keep a look out for what we needed,” Blackburn said.
Bennett noted the pumps were important in the restoration process because the station was the first in the county to use electric gas pumps.
“At that time, all the other stations used the gravity pumps with the glass cylinder at the top that had to be filled,” he said.
One of the pumps is marked HC, or hydrocarbon, which Bennett said was the “premium gasoline” of its day.
The other features a Sinclair dinosaur, which symbolized the “regular” gas of the time.
Bennett said probably one of the most interesting features of the old pumps is the price meters, which are both set at 24 cents per gallon.
“Back then, they didn’t even have space for dollars,” he said. “I wish we could go back to those prices.”