Wednesday, July 24, 2013

North Branford

Once when I was 18 some random dude on the street in New York asked me where I'd been all his life. I have the same question for North Branford.

I thought the town would be just like Branford, which it is north of, or Durham, which it is south of. And it is a little like those places. But it has its own unique North Branford-y thing happening. And it's not one of those towns people talk about. I would never have thought it could be an untapped vein of strangeness, or a sudden source of happiness, like finding $20 in your other coat.

Oh, and in case you wondering what the heck that thing in the picture is, I will tell you. It's North Branford's first gas station. The website of the Totoket Historical Society, which maintains this and more of the town's historic buildings, says: "It dates back to the 1920s...It is a small, hexagonal shaped building with windows on an angle so that the attendant could look up and down the road for customers while seated inside."

It does not say that this is the oldest gas station in Connecticut or the oldest preserved gas station in Connecticut or the only surviving gas station in Connecticut of this type. But I can find no other structure claiming to be any of these things, so...this might be it.

And now that I've written that I will start seeing hexagonal pre-1920s gas stations in their original condition everywhere I go.

(By the way the lovely barn behind the gas station is a museum.)

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