Y Service Station and Café
The former Y Service Station and Café is located at 1733 Neptune
Dr. in Clinton, OK and is an automobile dealership accessible to
If it is true
that location is everything, then the Y Service Station and Café
along old Route 66 in Clinton had it all. Constructed in
1937, this roadside business was strategically located on a
triangular lot that formed the fork in a Y shaped intersection
on the southern outskirts of Clinton. Tenth Street, which
doubled as Route 66, splits at this point, with Route 66
continuing off to the west and U.S. Route 183 heading south.
Situated in the middle of this fork with gas pump islands
flanking both highways, the Y Service Station and Café
prospered. Typical of its era, this full service roadside
facility offered not only food, fuel, and auto repair, but
lodging as well. About 100 feet to the south of the
station and café on the same lot were the Y Modern Cabins, which
are no longer standing.
Aside from its golden location,
this business indirectly received an added boost from the New
Deal. Starting in 1936, the City of Clinton directed part of its
Federal Works Projects Administration funding toward developing
this southern suburb. WPA projects extended city water lines
into the area and constructed Neptune Park. Soon the “Y” found
itself in the middle of a busy commercial district.
Designed in the Southwestern Mission Revival style, the building
housing the service station and café has stucco finishing,
curvilinear parapets, and simulated red roof tiles. In its
original form, the pronounced height of the building’s northwest
corner parapet (now reduced in height) seemed to mimic a classic
mission bell tower. Yet the building also contains a strong hint
of a streamlined Moderne styling, which was also in vogue at
that time. The flat roof with coping around its perimeter and a
corner, metal window in the northeast second floor are typical
of this look. This eclectic approach to style and design
illustrates a simple but central point about business ownership
and roadside architecture in the age before corporate
standardization. Owners were free to build and design as they
pleased. Travelers along historic Route 66 are still enjoying
Traffic and profits continued until the
mid-1950s, but at that time, the Y Station learned a very hard
lesson about doing business along the Mother Road. In the words
of historian Michael Cassity, “what Route 66 had brought, it
could also take away.” By 1956, traffic on 10th Street was so
dense that the highway was realigned. The new alignment bypassed
the Y Service Station and Café.
Like many roadside
businesses bypassed by Route 66, the Y Service Station did not
die, but instead evolved. Today, the gas pump islands are gone,
the brick trim is painted blue, and blue metal awnings dominate.
The building is currently host to an automobile dealership.
Still, a large sign on its second floor reminds visitors that
the Y and Route 66 once were closely, and profitably, connected.
The station was listed in the National Register of Historic
Places in 2004.