Deal to save winged canopy

August 11, 2009
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Downtown gas stationA compromise between an historic preservation group and a local business owner will save an iconic "bat-wing" canopy outside a downtown gas station. The owners of the Tista Oil station at the southwest corner of Michigan and Alabama streets, built in 1965, plan to install modern pumps that take credit cards and rebrand the station as a Sunoco. Owner Ali Mohamed also had planned to remove the existing canopy and replace it with a flat canopy that would cover all three gas pumps. The building is not considered historically "contributing" under the Chatham-Arch Massachusetts Avenue Plan, but the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission figured the mid-century modernist feature was worth saving. They suggested alternative solutions and the owner settled on one that adds two new, self-supporting canopies on either side of the existing canopy.
  • I love that gas station and am glad to see the canopy saved. Too bad it has to be surrounded by the new canopies, but seems like a fair compromise.
  • Looks like the rendering shows them removing the old pumps that have been stored alongside the building for years. Progress. Hope they include a bike'd be nice for cultural trail users riding by to be able to stop and grab a drink or snack.
  • This is great news, no more getting gas from the Citgo on Ohio St. Take that Chavez!
  • Am I missing something, or is this a bit much of oversight? I mean, who would notice this as being significantly different from any other canopy?
  • There are probably more-important Mid-Century-Modern structures to save in this city. With the cobbling-on of additional canopies the visual importance of the old one will be greatly diminished anyway.

    Next think you know, we'll be fighting to preserve those gawd-awful (but Iconic) Roselyn Bakery signs for Dunkin Donuts, prepaid cellular stores, and check cashing joints.



    We do that now.
  • I drove by the station the other day and it is a pretty cool canopy. To bad the owner wouldn't retro out the building and play on the cool features, like the canopy. Granted, its not the most architecturally significant building downtown BUT it does have a MCM element to it. Just my 2 cents.
  • sound old and cranky enough to be considered Mid-Century-Modern yourself...

    The reason that people pushed to save the Roselyn signs was because there's very little else around here worth holding on to. And most of the rest of it get bulldozed anyway...
  • Out of all the historic preservation issues they worked on this?!
    Mid-century-modern worth preservation is like the CCB or Federal building, but this?!
    Is this a joke?!
  • Mark, the Roselyn bakery is in the middle of tons of historic buildings way more important.
    Heck, a few buildings down is an 1850's store in need of restoration.
  • socrates, I'm well aware of the properties in the area. In the downtown area alone, there are dozens of structures that are worthy of adaptation and reuse.
    And, I assure you that the IHPC didn't spend too much time consulting on this, don't worry so much about that....
  • Much ado about not much.

    Thank God, for canopy-lite.

    I'm guessing the comment about Chavez is related to the Venezuelan president? Pumping petro from the Middle East? Now THERE'S a bastion of democracy!
  • Eric,

    Trust me, a lot of people would notice the difference. Mid century gas stations like mid century diners, motels and and cars were designed with a very distinctive style. A style that our more utilitarian generation has forgotten or ignored. Compare this station with its utilitarian cousin on New York and East, the Citgo. While the building has brick which is a nice feature, the canopies are the flat boring kind you can see on any interstate ramp or suburb in any town. As far as adding two more similarly designed canopies, many stations of the 50's and 60's had the triple desing and this will compliment, not detract from the style. It would be nice in the future for the rest of the building to be restored to its mid century look.

    Likewise saving the old Roselyn signs when possible are good for the city. Again, mid century iconic design, as opposed to the more utilitarian flat signs that again will pop up in any suburb or off ramp. The impact of Roselyns on the City cannot be overstated as well. Generations of citizens remeber getting their Zebra Squares, Canasta Cakes and discount zoo (the old Washington Park Zoo) tickets. And what kid was not fascinated by the old machine that automatically tied the boxes treats right before your eyes? Just because you may not appreciate the style of these old gas stations, there are many who do and will appreciate its retention for years to come.
  • I don't think I've ever noticed this bat-wing canopy during my 9-year dtown tenure.

    I'm all for suggestive preservation but not via bullying. It SOUNDS like this was a civil suggestion/compromise which is great considering human beings were involved.

    While we're preserving that mid-cenury modernist element why not compliment it with a mid-century modernist Sunoco sign? The NASCAR garbage on the sign has to go.
  • If you still want to see the old Roselyn string machine thingys, go to the Entenmann's Outlet off of Binford.........they a couple of them in the store now.
  • I agree. The improvements are positive, but the naxcar crap should be gone, gone, gone!
  • Berwickguy- Finally something we agree wholeheartedly on!

    I'm getting all warm and fuzzy inside. :)
  • Who cares. What I love about preservationists is that anything created before now is wholly worth saving, however banal it might be. At least this is better than most of the below average hunks of detail that forever frozen us all in a museum of the average past.
  • Click on feed me, drink me. I am normally not a fan or have any use for bloggers , foodies or whatever they call themselves, unless they are successful owners/operators in the actual restaurant business. People whose lives depend on full dining rooms and attentive staff members. T

    Not wine experts ,Not cookbook authors ,Not professional restaurant
    critics or bloggers. Not TV cooking show personalities.

    Critics opinions are, of course, subjective. That is why it is all such BS. Now, if something is too salty, underdone, or if the Host referred to you as ***hole then I can see a ding (and a few smart-ass comments) in a review. But if you like a chocolate sauce with your shellfish and I find that absolutely horrid, who's right/wrong? Everyone's palate lies to them.

    That being said, she has a pretty damn good blog and is a straight shooter.

    The only way you will learn about food is to go to as many places as you can, be curious and ask questions about things you've never had and ask yourself one question

    Did I (me!) like it or not?
  • IHPC might be losing it. They totally missed the boat. It would look better to have a flat roof and ditch that rainbow sh*t.
  • I am guessing the NASCAR stuff and the rainbow graphics are company required elements. Having worked with Gas Station construction, branding is huge. Corporate is very particular about the look and the image must be consistent across the board. Occasional variances are allowed, but overall the branding is consistent. I would like to see mid 50's Sunoco signage for the facility, I think it would draw more attention than the more modern signage, but I am sure that was a non starter for Sunoco Corporate.
  • Josh:

    If you don't recall or know what the downtown Marsh (formerly O'Malia's Grocery looked like before it was rehabbed, you might take back some of what you just said. The facing that was placed on the original building was horrid.

    Average Joe:

    Are you in the wrong territory here or what???


    There's always hope, you know. The more we communicate, the more we find we have in common. The differences usually lie in our perceived solutions to the issues.
  • P! O! S!
    Bulldoze it!
  • Sorry Folks, Average Joe was in the wrong damn place... Too much Red, Red Wine........
  • Mark, I am old enough that a bunch of my life was spent in MCM schools, banks, doctor offices, and workspaces. Most importantly, I can tell the good from the bad MCM, and the butcher jobs like this.

    And to those who wanted the retro signage...that big yellow sign with the arrow through it is very close to the 60's Sunoco sign.

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  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.