Building Description Airplane Gas Station - Nickle Service Station, Knoxville Tennessee
Located at the crest of a hill along US Highway 25 W, the Clinton Highway, the circa 1930 Airplane Service station is a compact structure approximately fifty-eight feet long. At first called the "Aeroplane Gasoline Service Building," the wood frame of the structure is covered with metal strips currently painted white. The body of the airplane rests on a brick foundation. The airplane body is oriented on a southeast-northwest axis, which positions it parallel to the highway. The wings of the airplane are oriented northeast to southwest. The original plans describe the wings as forty-two feet long and twelve feet wide. The triangular shape of land where the station rests is well suited to its shape. At one time gas pumps were located beneath the wing, but today the gas pumps are gone and the building is not in use.
The wing that faces the highway covers the door to the service station office. It also originally provided cover for two of the gasoline pumps, which dispensed Texaco products when the station opened. The gas pumps and the lights that illuminated them, both of which were located under the north wing, are no longer part of the structure. The side of the building facing the highway contains three windows. The original windows were more vertical than the more horizontal, rectangle-like replacement windows that are now a part of the current building. There were steps at the door, which are no longer there, and the window closest to the door was a large picture or display window. The nose of the airplane originally featured an eight-foot propeller; however, this no longer exists. The tail of the plane body features an eleven-foot rudder. Plans show that propellers or rotors were designed for the top of the airplane, but these were never built.
A small rectangular extension was built below the wing on the southwest elevation. The original entrance to the women's restroom was located at the rear or southwest elevation of the airplane. The location was an attempt to isolate the women's facilities from the male work area of the filling station. The steps to this room are no longer intact and the door has been boarded over. The southwest side of the plane also contained three windows, which are now boarded over. The east section of the wing provided a covered parking area at the rear of the building. The original site plans show the plane body divided into six rooms. The main room was the office of the Airplane Service Station. The office is shown to be eleven feet by four feet and contained built-in shelves. The remaining rooms consist of two storage rooms, two restrooms, and a compressor room. The walls separating the interior have been removed, leaving one interior space. Within the last few years interior was modified with new paneling and new exterior paint was applied.