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This is a contributing entry for Arthurdale Heritage Center and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.

This Esso Station was created as a part of the co-operative ventures established by the Arthurdale homestead community in the 1930s. Cars, tractors, and other vehicles were repaired and maintained here, including government-owned vehicles that were used during transportation for the homestead community. While most homesteaders did not have automobiles when they moved into the community, they still believed this to be an important venture in creating wealth and making Arthurdale a stop along the new Route 92 that cut through the town.

  • the Esso Station today
  • Paul Davis who operated the Esso Station in the 1940s-1950s
  • interior of Esso
  • Esso interior in the 1980s before preservation

The Esso station at Arthurdale was an important asset to the changing modes of travel, particularly via automobile. It, like the Rural Electrification Act which brought electricity into the 165 homes at Arthurdale, was an effort in modernization by the federal government and the homesteaders who lived in the community. The Esso Station was one of twelve co-operative ventures at Arthurdale. This means that the businesses collectively owned by the co-op, in this case the Arthurdale Association, were managed, owned, and used by the community as a whole. This kind of business would ideally keep prices down for members while ensuring local involvement remained high.

Initial stock sold in the Esso in 1941 and at this point, visitors and homesteaders alike could use the station to fill their vehicles with gas, buy candy or tobacco, and get repairs done on their automobiles. Mostly, visitors and government officials would use the station, but as the economy stabilized, more homesteaders were able to purchase vehicles or tractors themselves and use the Esso more frequently. At the end of World War II, the Esso station was sold to various private owners including original homesteader families the Browns and Weavers.

In the late 1980s, the Esso station was purchased by Arthurdale Heritage, Inc., the non-profit organization that preserves, protects, and interprets its history for visitors from all over the world.

Arthurdale Heritage, Inc., oral history from Randy Weaver.

Account of Arthurdale, object 2020.19.4., AHI, New Deal Homestead Community Museum, Arthurdale, WV.

Ross, Peggy. "We Need to Get Together: 100 Years of the Brown Reunion". Goldenseal. Summer 1996, 17 - 23.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Arthurdale Heritage, Inc.

Arthurdale Heritage, Inc.

Arthurdale Heritage, Inc.

Arthurdale Heritage, Inc.