Local history flows with impressive collection of old gas pumps

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – The Sanford family in Gaines proudly displays a collection of gas pumps and other gas station artifacts that were amassed by Roland and Elma Sanford on Gaines Basin Road.

GAINES – Julie and Scott Sanford will be working in their yard or out in the barn when the cars pull up by the side of the road. Folks come out with cameras, questions and sometimes a sense of awe.

“People stop all the time,” Julie Sanford told me earlier this evening, when I came over to do a story on her son Allen. He is working on his Eagle Scout project. (I’ll have an article on that a little later.)

The Sanfords have about a dozens old gas pumps sprinkled around their property. One still shows the price of a gallon of gas: 35.5 cents.

There are oil cans and other gas station artifacts from about a half century ago.

Scott’s father Roland and his late mother Elma collected the gas pumps. Once they retired from teaching, they went for drives in the country – on a mission. They found many of the old pumps in fields and ditches. They rescued them, cleaned them up and proudly displayed them on their Gaines Basin Road property.

“They’re all original,” Julie said.

She said there is a growing number of gas pump aficionados. Many want to buy the old pumps, but the Sanfords won’t sell them. Each one represents a story, and an adventure for Roland and Elma.

“They would love to talk and meet with people,” Julie said.

Brad Sanford poses with an old gas pump rescued and preserved by his grandparents, Roland and the late Elma Sanford.

Replicas of the old pumps are popular, she said. Books are written about the original gas pumps, and the different styles and companies.

Roland’s son Scott has followed suit with his father’s obsession. He is working to restore one in the barn.

Roland and Elma also saved a number of other local automobile-related artifacts, including old signs for Routes 31, 63 and 98. The family hobby has rubbed off on Allen, the Boy Scout. A musician, he named his band, “Route 98.”

Allen Sanford holds an old Route 98 sign that his grandparents saved.