The Gas Station operated very well even when the roads were not built
2000 Feature - The O'Hara family gas station
is 75 years old this year - the oldest
one and the only one in town!!!
O'Hara gas station is
unique not only because it's the only one in the whole town of
Prattsville but also because it has seventy-five years of history
behind it and has beaten all five competitors in the town!
The gas station was O�Hara�s
family business. It was built by Tom�s grandfather in 1925. It was
very brave of them to start a business like a gas station, as in those
times the roads were not built yet, and of course not many people had
cars. And, or course, they could operate the gas station only in the summers, as
it was so hard to start the cars in the cold winter weather, so they
didn�t have any customers. Later when Tom�s father took over the
business the station was open the whole year.
family is one of the oldest families in the Catskills. Also known for
their old and pretty house as well as their business in the town. (The
historic house will be the subject of another "2000
History Feature" in the next few months !)
O'Hara, whose grandchildren are running the gas station today, was
born in 1928, in Ohio. His family is originally from Catskills; they
lived in Ohio just for a couple years. O'Hara family moved back to
Prattsville when Tom was three.
The station grew over the years, and it changed gas brands ... see
below. One small problem - being so close to the Schoharie Creek
... it gets flooded once every few years.
O'Hara's service station in the 1979 major flood
Dad used to call it The Elm Tree Service Station because of the huge elm
tree that was right next to the station.
People used to stop there for picnics. It was a three-hundred-year- old tree, the biggest roadside tree in the whole
of New York
The "biggest roadside elm tree" in New York State.
And though perhaps only a legend, the story persists that
a local treaty was signed beneath the shade of this tree during
The Prattsville Elm Tree was inspected, found
hollow and officially removed in September of 1955.
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The O'Hara service station
Gasoline was the brand that Tom O'Hara's grandfather started the gas
station with, in 1925.
|Tom was a child when
his dad ran the station and changed it to the Tydol brand.
was a teenager when when the Gasoline brand was changed to
Texaco. He helped his father in the gas station, sweeping the floors,
keeping the place clean.
26-year-old Tom working for Esso. He took over the business
after coming back from the Navy in December 1947. Also at this time, he married Betty,
who helped run the business for many years.
1957, they switched the brand to Calso.
operating five years, CALSO changed its name to Chevron, which it is
O'Hara keeps collection of old trucks and gas station memorabillia.
and Betty retired from the day-to-day running of the business.
starting from 1996-97 Kip and Kory O'Hara,
Tom and Betty's grandsons,
started fully operating the gas station, which changed, in 1999, to
the Coastal brand.
O'Hara station as CALSO
Tom took over the station. The gas station was doing very well, though
it had five competitors in the town. Tom and Betty ran the station for
many years. Apart from selling gas and a variety of items, it
also became a favorite gathering place for local people - to meet and
And today, this is the only gas
station that exists. Now
it�s operated by Tom and Betty O�Hara�s grandsons.
I guess the
story is going to repeat again and again!
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Our teenage website correspondent, Sona Grigoryan,
a 1999-2000 exchange with
the Cernikovsky family. Sona, from
Yerevan, Armenia, attends high school and
lives in New York City and
Here she is interviewing Tom O'Hara at his home, in The Spring of 2000.
Sona is writing a series of
articles based on interviews with old-time residents,
glimpses of life in Prattsville in the 20th century.
family�s house story is coming up soon
in this series of "2000