138 N. Churton at the right backround - 1939 (H. Lee Waters / State Archives)
This service station was owned and operated by Chandler Cates.
It was the headquarters and mailing address of the Orange Rural Fire Department beginning from June 1968 until circa 1976.
Constructed as a gas station and garage, this low, one-story building is dominated by the projecting, front-gabled structure that originally sheltered pumps. The front-gabled concrete-block building is six bays wide and six bays deep with a brick pier foundation with brick curtain wall, a metal roof, and brick veneer on the façade. A c. 1950 parapet-roofed concrete-block wing projects from the on the right (south) elevation, flush with the facade. Storefront windows are modern replacements with a single panel above each fixed window. There is a nine-light-over-two-panel door with transom near the left (north) end of the façade and a one-light- over-one-panel door near the center. It has fiber-cement siding and one-over-one windows on the side and rear elevations with industrial metal windows at the basement level. There is an overhead garage door and a single pedestrian door at the basement level of the rear (east) elevation. The projecting front-gabled canopy is supported by full-height brick piers with recessed panels. The parapet-roofed wing is three bays wide and single-pile with a hipped metal pent roof across the façade that shelters the modern storefront windows and entrance. According to Bellinger, the building was constructed in 1924. The addition was completed after 1943.
The nomination doesn't mention that the service station originally had a 'false' facade giving the gable roofed front a squared appearance. And although this building is (correctly) deemed a contributing structure to the National Register district, it points to the fallacy of (and inconsistency in) deeming buildings non-contributing due to superficial facade changes. This building has had its entire original facade removed, but it is still contributing - is that because of its relative attractiveness without the original facade, or because the nominator didn't know that this building had had its facade removed. Either way, it's all pretty arbitrary, and yet consequential re: a building's eligibility for tax credits.
08.08.2016 (G. Kueber)