At Restored Iconic Phillips 66 Station In Casper, It’s Always 1964

It’s always 1964 at an iconic Casper Phillips 66 station restored by a local businessman with a love for nostalgia and preserving the past. There are three vintage gas pumps, Coca-Cola machines and several embossed metal signs that are as much art as they are functional.

DK
Dale Killingbeck

March 09, 20247 min read

What looks like a Phillips 66 station in Casper is actually a salute to the 1960s. The building houses an auto detailing business, and the lot hosts vehicles for sale and the food truck Gringos.
What looks like a Phillips 66 station in Casper is actually a salute to the 1960s. The building houses an auto detailing business, and the lot hosts vehicles for sale and the food truck Gringos. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)

CASPER — It’s easy to see why driving past the Phillips 66 station on CY Avenue can spark nostalgic flashbacks to when attendants checked the oil while pumping your gas and nothing cut through the dust of the highway quite like a cold glass-bottle Coke.

While self-serve minimarts have replaced the classic American gas station almost everywhere, the Casper Phillips 66 is a shrine to those simpler “The Andy Griffith Show” days.

There are three vintage gas pumps, Coca-Cola machines and several embossed metal signs that are as much art as they are functional. Pulling into the lot is a time-warp to when 1964 Ford Mustangs and Plymouth Barracudas cruised in front on what locals referred to as “the strip.”

Casper entrepreneur and memorabilia collector Joseph Parke, 60, was born the year he believes the original station went up in 1964.

“When I was a kid, I would work here,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “I would come over and pull the weeds out of the cracks in the parking lot, and I would pick up cigarette butts, and I would sweep. They would give me a pocket full of change and I would go next door to the A&W and blow it.”

While the location has not been a gas station for decades — and still isn’t — he saw in the building an opportunity to invest in the future and preserve some of the past.

Gas Station Memorabilia

“I always wanted to own a gas station because it just lends itself well for that (memorabilia) vibe, and this came available and I bought it,” he said.

That was about a year ago, and Parke wasted no time transforming it thinking to use the site in concert with an auto dealership.

Parke began his working career under cars and hoods, moved into construction, and has owned and operated bars and restaurants. He is co-owner of The Hangar in Bar Nunn and started a food truck, Gringos. He also owns his own building firm, CANDO Construction.

He said the car business at his CY Avenue location never took off because of staffing issues, but he does have a few vehicles for sale at the Phillips 66 site and for now leases the office space and garage to an auto detail shop. He recently started having the Gringos truck park out front as well.

There are still more plans in the back of Parke’s mind for the Phillips 66. The ninth-grade dropout said he’s worked at and owned businesses in several states, and said he keeps coming back to a fascination for 1930s through 1970s Americana.

“I just love old buildings. A big part of my business has been restoration and preservation of buildings,” he said. “I’ve worked for the state and built all over, working on museums as well as a lot of our lakes and recreation areas. Some of (the projects) were old ranch houses and things like that.

“My big interest is preserving the history and the integrity of the structure of the building as much as possible but still be able to function out of it in today’s world.”

As part owner of The Hangar Bar & Grill, Parke was responsible for restoring the only remaining building from the town’s airport past — its hangar.

  • Casper-area entrepreneur Joseph Parke says he enjoys finding iconic structures, restoring them, and giving them a functional use.
    Casper-area entrepreneur Joseph Parke says he enjoys finding iconic structures, restoring them, and giving them a functional use. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)
  • A pump head shows the Phillips 66 logo and colors that existed from 1930-1959.
    A pump head shows the Phillips 66 logo and colors that existed from 1930-1959. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)
  • The Gringo food truck is owned by Parke and his vision is to possibly go “bricks and mortar” inside the Phillips 66 gas station with a restaurant.
    The Gringo food truck is owned by Parke and his vision is to possibly go “bricks and mortar” inside the Phillips 66 gas station with a restaurant. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)
  • The bay of the restored gas station remains functional and is decorated with memorabilia signs collected by Joseph Parke.
    The bay of the restored gas station remains functional and is decorated with memorabilia signs collected by Joseph Parke. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)

Gull Wing Shape

The CY Avenue building features the iconic “gull wing” shape that a Phillips 66 architect called “The Harlequin” style. It involves an upward sloping canopy that resembles a wing. The company introduced the design in 1960, and in addition to the gull wing, the building had a separate restroom and entrance for women — on the outside. No single restrooms.

Parke has redone the restrooms, trying to stay true to the era. However, he has installed doors inside as well as kept the outside access doors.

When it came time to find gas pumps, he found three in South Carolina. The gas pumps boast orange and black colors, different from the branded red, white and black street signs out front, but with the familiar Phillips 66 badge. The orange and black were used from 1930-1959.

Prior to a rebrand in 1960, Parke said his understanding is that Phillips’ CEO demanded the iconic shape of the logo remain.

“The president of Phillips 66 said the only thing you are not going to get rid of is the shield, so they were able to change the colors, and those are the colors they run today,” Parke said.

Inside, Parke has many more signs from his memorabilia collection. This includes a couple of different Texaco signs, an original “Welcome To Our Service Department” sign from Phillips 66, a SOCONY Motor Gasoline sign and more.

Fill’er Up?

When the renovations were completed in 2023, Parke said he witnessed more than once cars pulling in looking to get gas.

“When we first put this up they would kind of pull in and sit there for a little bit and look around, then figure out this gas pump is kind of old,” he said. “Most of them had out-of-state plates.”

Parke’s vision for the Phillips 66 station’s future is partly tied to his Gringo food truck out front.

“I consider myself a restaurant professional in a lot of ways,” he said. “I’ve owned a lot of bars and restaurants around the country, and I’ve lived all over the country, so I’ve tasted good food. When we decided to do Gringos, we wanted to do upper scale.”

Parke said the ingredients for the food truck’s menu include hand-ground beef with a little fat from the brisket they use for brisket tacos, organic, boneless thighs for the chicken that gets marinated, smoked and grilled.

He believes the food tops other trucks and fast-food opportunities in the local market.

“I would say it’s a couple of steps above what you can get in terms of food quality,” he said.

Being able to park it in a spot like the Phillips 66 station adds to the experience.

  • Gas pumps with colors that represented Phillips 66 from 1930-1959 are at the restored gas station.
    Gas pumps with colors that represented Phillips 66 from 1930-1959 are at the restored gas station. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)
  • An original Phillips 66 sign welcoming customers to the service department that was collected by Joseph Parke hangs in the restored station.
    An original Phillips 66 sign welcoming customers to the service department that was collected by Joseph Parke hangs in the restored station. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)
  • A vintage Texaco Motor Oil sign.
    A vintage Texaco Motor Oil sign. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)
  • An vintage SOCONY sign collected by Joseph Parke hangs in the bay of the station.
    An vintage SOCONY sign collected by Joseph Parke hangs in the bay of the station. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Original Pennzoil and Coke signs from days gone by collected by Joseph Parke.
    Original Pennzoil and Coke signs from days gone by collected by Joseph Parke. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Joseph Parke restored the office area floor of the station with tile that matches the Phillips 66 colors.
    Joseph Parke restored the office area floor of the station with tile that matches the Phillips 66 colors. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)

Vision For Future

Parke hopes one day the food truck business may evolve into a restaurant inside the iconic Phillips 66 station. Parke already can see where he would build the kitchen, set up the tables and install retail space for salsa sales and other items.

“It’s a big commitment going brick and mortar. If you can’t find the talent, you can’t make it,” he said. Currently, the food truck does a lot of catering and in addition to the Phillips 66 spot, parks downtown on weekends.

Parke’s love of old buildings also includes other sites around town. He bought the Partytime Liquors and the Boardroom Cleaners building that was next to the hospital. He had to tear the Boardroom building down that traced back to 1900, but its sign remains.

The Phillips 66 location sits on one of the busiest corridors in Casper. Parke aware that national food franchises or other brands would be interested in the site.

“A national would come in and buy this place and level it,” he said. “They don’t care about this building, they care about the location.”

Parke said he intends to keep investing in preserving the past that can be functional in the present.

“When I was a kid, this (CY Avenue) was called the strip. In these parking lots everyone would park, the Corvette club, the Camaros, the bikers, the trucks — everybody cruised the strip,” he said. “That has totally gone away from here. But to keep and maintain an iconic building is important.”

Dale Killingbeck can be reached at dale@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Dale Killingbeck

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