On a lonely stretch of HWY 69 in Hunt County, sits the small rural town of Celeste, Texas. It sits north of Greenville and is just south of Leonard. All that’s left of original buildings or a handful of row buildings on each side of the highway. Sitting by the bank is a small red mom-and-pop gas station. I call it the Old Service Station in Celeste, Texas
Old Service Station in Celeste, Texas
This old service station was painted red sometime in the past ten years and is currently owned by the bank next door. From the “I Was Raised in Celeste, Texas” Facebook Group this may be the only original gas station left in town. The station isn’t being used as a station but it still stands. At one time the station was a Mobile station. The service station has been owned by several people over years one that was mentioned the most was Mr. Floyd Hayes.
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“As a child, I remember Mr. Hayes’ station most of all. The bank owns his building now and the bank has had it painted a beautiful red. It was handy to come from west of town, pull in from and off South Third, probably pull in on a fume. Mr. Hayes put in the dollar’s worth of gas, checked under the hood, the air in the tires, and wiped off the windshield. Most times, he gave away four pieces of penny candy. Tressie was usually inside at the cash register. We didn’t usually get out of the car, but like monkeys, we’d hang out heads out to look around. Mother would remind us of the thank-you when Mr. Hayes pressed the hard candy into our four extended palms. Sometimes Mother would buy us an iced cold drink. This was usually when we were working in the fields. Inside the little station, would be that drink machine with bottles hanging from their necks. Invariably, we’d decide on a drink back behind and we’d have to figure out the maze. An R – oh – C was usually our choice since it had a longer neck! Mr. Hayes never lost patience with us and sometimes helped with the sale, if we got all-bottled up in working our choice to the end. Sometimes there were peanuts to drop into the icy, slushy sweet liquid. Everything seemed to have a thin coating of oil—the walls, floors, bathroom. Nothing kept our eyes from the calendars. Pretty girls in curls . . . that was about it . . . short skirts and skimpy ruffled blouses. Once in awhile, the picture would include a navy cap and salute, possibly a flag. We must have been there during July. In December, the girls on paper in calendars kept themselves warm with hands in white furry muffs. As I said, I was young and Mother really didn’t want me goggling at Mr. Hayes’ calendars.
About the Old Service Station in Celeste, Texas
I used my Sony a6000 and my Sony SELP18105G E PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS lens. The image was then edited with Adobe Lightroom CC, Topaz Labs Denoise AI and Topaz Labs Sharpen AI, Aurora HDR, and Luminar AI to clean up the image.