College Heights Service Station

The College Heights Service Station in State College is the oldest continuously operating service station in Centre County. The distinctive station was built by John N. and G. Dewey Krumrine on land that had been part of the Krumrine family farm in what is now the College Heights neighborhood.

The Krumrines, doing business as State Gas & Oil, first built a one-pump station on Old Boalsburg Road before moving to the North Atherton Street location in 1929. The current building, first called the College Heights Service Station, was constructed six years later and operated by Max Krumrine and John “Buffer” Krumrine.

The business went through multiple owners and multiple oil company affiliations, starting as a Shell station, then Humble, then Esso, and then Exxon. Gary Green leased the building from Uni-Mart in 1987, then bought it in 2000. Among previous operators of the station were John Gray, Kenny Lambert, and Bob Addleman.

The College Heights service station, built in 1935, in State College was designed to blend into the residential neighborhood around it. (Centre County Encyclopedia of History & Culture)

With its triple-peaked roof, stucco walls, red trim and red-and-white awnings, the station looks more like a private house than a commercial building. It was part of a trend. In the 1920s, according to the National Park Service, as car ownership and filling stations proliferated, people complained “about the intrusion of gas stations into residential areas.” The industry responded, with buildings designed to blend into their neighborhoods.

In 1987, Green moved the pumps from the front of the station to the rear and added red-and-white checkerboard pavers to the frontage along Atherton Street. At one time, the station sold bread, milk, candy and newspapers. Penn State football coach Joe Paterno used to walk to the station from his home in College Heights to buy his Sunday newspaper.

The College Heights service station still has its outside clock, its neon-lit trim and its awnings, and it still is operated as a full-service station, with its two service bays and attendants who pump gas, wash windshields, check fluids, and fill tires.

Service stations, according to the National Park Service, “are slowly being rediscovered for their historic significance. They have even been included on statewide endangered property lists. Once spurned as out of place incursions or eyesores, historic stations are increasingly appreciated for their contribution to the character of a neighborhood.”

In 2003, the service station was included in the College Heights Association’s Historic House Tour. It is the only commercial building among the 278 properties in the College Heights Historic District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

Russell Frank


Chesworth, Jo. “North Atherton Street: A Depression-Era Highway Brought a New Avenue of Progress to State College,” Town & Gown, June 2002, pp. 6-22.

Koffman, Nadine. “Back in Time: Gas Station Fuels Plenty of Memories.” Town & Gown, April 2010, p. 22.

Randl, Chad. ‘The Preservation and Reuse of Historic Gas Stations.” Preservation Briefs, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, (Accessed March 25, 2023).

“College Heights Historic District,” (Accessed March 25, 2023).

“Pennsylvania Gas Stations,”,  (Accessed March 25, 2023).

The Mullin-Kille and Centre Daily Times State College Pennsylvania Con Survey City Directory. Mullin–Kille of Pennsylvania and the Centre Daily Times, 1969.

First Published: March 25, 2023

Last Modified: April 28, 2024