Photo by Martin Cox, September 2006
The destruction has been a work in progress recently, but as of about noon today it's gone. The old deco gas station at 1901 Echo Park Avenue. The address as an entity may be gone, too, as the site is scheduled to host nine new dwellings. Today I arrived in time to see three sweating guys taking down the last pieces of the old kit station, which dated from the 1950s, when it replaced an older gas station that had burned down. The only thing left now is two poles that are set in cement. The metal pieces that looked like panels from an old airplane were stacked fairly neatly in piles. The good news is that these pieces will be rehabbed and reassembled by a San Diego Automotive Museum at SD's Balboa Park. But even in disrepair I would have preferred to see them here. The station was like a sculpture and landmark, and it gave us a bit of open space, a bit of thought space. Call it a pocket park, L.A. style. It gave us a live connection to the past, including the not-so-distant past when gang members hung out there behind chain link curtains. The lot, of course, looks much smaller without its tiny little defunct gas station. And the metal gate that is propped against the poles -- well, that's a gate to nowhere.