Photo of gas station designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Cloquet, Minnesota

Weekly Gem #77 Fill 'er up Wright. Best Service available here.

Published 7/2/2016

Location:  This 'hidden gem' is located on Sunnyside Drive, in Cloquet, MN (see Clue Me! Map). During his highly productive life, Frank Lloyd Wright built 531 homes, office buildings and museums ... and one gas station. This is it. Not only can you refill your tank, or your spare tire, you can also gain remarkable insights into certain engineering principles, e.g. a cantilever.

See that tower on the roof? It's not just an awesome retro roof-cap design for the service station of the future. It's also a clever disguise. This only becomes apparent if you stand off a bit, directly east or west of the tower. From this angle, you see the two beams holding the tower onto the roof continue down through the observation deck, brace the front doors, and are presumably anchored a fair distance underground. These beams are in fact holding up the entire roof ... and rather than having a couple of poles leading to nowhere, the roof tower provides some Buck Rogers styling to tie everything together. This is one of the few places where you can see how the beams are positioned in relation to the cantilever, because those beams are normally well hidden rather than visibly incorporated into the design.

If unable to visit in person, here's a page from Arch Daily where you can scroll down to a nicely illustrative black and white photo taken from due east. You can also follow the beams down through the observation deck and door frame in our photo.


Here's the hidden gem entry from our Clue Me! map.


This is the Wright Station


A gas station designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

Why It's Interesting

Frank Lloyd Wright's goal was to build a whole city! He would call it Broadacre City. Since Wright saw the automobile as a vital means to fulfillment, he designed his utopian city around the automobile and gave it state-of-the-art gas stations. Wright's dream city was never realized, and this is the only gas station Wright ever built - note the observation deck where gas attendants could comfortably wait for customers.

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