A Gallon of History in King’s Canyon

Double-gravity gas pump Kings Canyon National Park CaliforniaFar away from anywhere, the snake-like road of King’s Canyon National Park in California offers few amenities for the curious explorer. Due to the unusual layout of the park, in order to travel from the western portion of the park to the eastern portion, drivers have to pass through Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument. In this non-national park designated part of the drive is the Kings Canyon Lodge, a sleepy cluster of buildings that don’t at all resemble the stereotypical lodge, which offers the only place to get gas in the area.

We pulled into the parking lot. We didn’t see another car. Two tall, tubular devises sat in the middle of the lot. A sign was taped to the device:

Ask for assistance / 6 Gallon Minimum / $24.00 / Motor bikes must fill up.

Another sign hanging on the wooden awning above the gas-pumping devices noted that these were the oldest double-gravity gas pumps in the world. They had been put into service in 1928 and had been pumping gasoline into vehicles for the last 81 years old.

The attendant unscrewed the gas cap and started the pump. We watched the golden liquid drop in the clear container from ten gallons to four. She let go off the gas pump handle. Money exchanged hands, and we hit the road again with a new piece of knowledge tucked into our memories.

Isn’t it funny how a person can run into such an interesting piece of history without even trying?

Note: Photo courtesy of my dad.

One Response to “A Gallon of History in King’s Canyon”

  1. Jill

    Some of the most memorable places are not found in a guidebook. And really, not everyone would find the same “quirky” places to be all that memorable. But this gas pump – very cool…I love odd “structures” – and an attendant to pump the gas! – that really is rare…we won’t talk about how that was a career for some back in my early days…

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