The former L.J. Shickluna Imperial Oil (Esso) gas station gracing King Street in Port Colborne has the distinction of being the only service station designated a National Historic Site of Canada. It is of course a successor to buildings such as stables and coach stops which we associate with a transport mode long gone. So this particular building has been saved to showcase an age when automobile traffic grew exponentially. It is estimated that between 1904 and 1916 automobile registration in Ontario rose by a factor of 100. The Shickluna station is not quite that old but dates to circa 1924. It was built by Louis Joseph Shickluna whose family were the shipyard tycoons of the Welland Canal. The gas station is built in a recognizable California Mission style one might see in old Hollywood movies.
When we think heritage building type, service stations providing gasoline for automobiles must surely be slow to come to mind. However building historians now are paying more attention to symbols of economic and industrial development, such as these icons of the automobile age, gas stations. The former Shickluna Service Station was designated of national significance in 1995 and is yet to receive a federal plaque.
As you pass by it is easy to miss this as a National Historic Site, is simply looks like another abandoned building, with graffiti on the walls and trash all around the outside. The beauty is in the architechure, which hopefully will be someday be restored. There is currently no access point to the interior.