The Last Shell Oil Clamshell Station

Although Winston-Salem, NC., is known for tobacco more than oil, it’s home to the last Shell Oil clamshell station in the United States. Located on the quiet corner of Sprague and Peachtree Streets, the station sits abandoned, it’s two tall pumps now nothing more than curiosities. In the 1930s, a local distributor of Shell called Quality Oil built 7 stations in Winston-Salem and one in the nearby town of Kernersville. The clamshell stations represented the transformation of a brand into a building, a symbol into a real thing. It wasn’t easy to make shell-shaped gas stations. The office and bathroom area were boxed in, surrounded by a bent wood and wire frame, and then covered in stucco. This last station remained open until the 1950s and housed a lawn mower repair business in the 1970s. In 1976, it became the first individual station in America to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Preservation North Carolina still holds protective covenants on the property, so the clamshell will be preserved in perpetuity.