Monday, March 13, 2023

The Past and Future of a Hudson Building

The plans for 735 Columbia Street were presented to the Historic Preservation Commission on Friday, and the presentation by the project architects revealed important information about the building's origins. 

The building was originally constructed in 1935 as a Pure Oil gas station, designed by Carl August Peterson in the company's iconic "English cottage" style. The design was adopted to make gas stations fit better into the context of residential neighborhoods. 

The presentation to the HPC included these clippings from Hudson Daily Star for August 23, 1935, which announce the opening of the station.

The text that is outlined reads:
Clients will be taken on a tour of inspection of the station itself built in the English cottage style, with spacious offices, store, stock room, lubricating and cleaning facilities, and wash room. The cottage is of sparkling white brick with a heavy blue tile roof which greatly enhances the appearance of the old hotel site. [This was the site of the original St. Charles Hotel.] The grounds are partly landscaped and it is planned to install additional flower beds and rock gardens.
There are several other examples of surviving Pure Oil stations. The presentation included these photographs.

The Pure Oil station in Saratoga Springs, built in 1933, is individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 

Other examples of Pure Oil stations in New York can be found at

Notable among the plans for the restoration of what has once Hudson's Pure Oil station is the front door. At some point in time, a rectangular door replaced the original door to the store of the building. The plan is to replace it with a curved top door, either salvaged or replicated. This photograph of the Pure Oil station in Owego shows what the original door would have looked like.

The color scheme proposed for the building replicates the original blue and white of the Pure Oil station, with gradient painting on the doors and the side of the building to evoke the Lil' Deb's "brand."

Phil Forman, who chairs the HPC, declared, "This is going to be a fantastic addition to Hudson." HPC member Miranda Barry called the proposal "a good marriage of the Lil' Deb's brand."

The project is now before the Planning Board, which has scheduled a public hearing for tomorrow, Tuesday, March 14, at 6:00 p.m. The Planning Board meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.

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