A quaint little gas station called Teapot Dome sits along the freeway in eastern Washington. The tiny teapot station has always fascinated me! I can remember driving past it on trips with my family as a child and always wondered about it's history. Sometimes my dad would stop so we could look around, but in those days the gas station was in full operation, making exploring difficult. Abandoned in recent years, this tiny teapot still sits beside the roadway, adding interest and unusual scenery amongst pastures and fields of hops.
The teapot dome was built in 1922 by a man named Jack Ainsworth. He was making a political statement documenting the Teapot Dome scandals that rocked President Harding's administration in 1921 - 1923. At that time the U.S. Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall, had leased government oil reserves in Teapot Dome, Wyoming, and Elk Hills, California to private producers. His illegal choice was dealt with, resulting in a term in prison. It took awhile to rectify his dealings and bring the situation under control again.
The building has a circular frame with a conical roof, a sheet-metal 'handle' and a concrete 'spout'. Some consider this an example of roadside architectural follies built during the expansion of the national highway system in the 1920's and 1930's, although it's value as a historical point of interest was recognized in 1985 when it was placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Washington state has placed the building on their 'most endangered historic properties' list and efforts are being made to raise money to purchase the property and move it to a site nearby. A group called 'Friends of the Teapot' are actively involved in this endeavor.
Always interesting, I sometimes wonder if this, as one of my earliest memories, has anything to do with my love of 'afternoon tea'.