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Vickers Station, designed by Century II architect, added to Kansas historic register

Vickers Petroleum Service Station at 140 N. Main in Haysville is under consideration for the National Register of Historic Places.
Vickers Petroleum Service Station at 140 N. Main in Haysville is under consideration for the National Register of Historic Places. City of Haysville staff

An iconic gas station in Haysville that survived a tornado and was designed by the same architect as Wichita’s performing arts center has been added to the register of historic buildings in the state.

Vickers Station, 140 N. Main, has been placed on the Register of Kansas Historic Places and is being considered for the National Register of Historic Places, Haysville officials said Monday in a news release.

The gas station was built in 1954 with a design developed by John M. Hickman, who apprenticed under Frank Lloyd Wright. Hickman was one of the architects of Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center in Wichita. He also designed Ablah Library at Wichita State University and Rea Woodman Elementary School, at Pawnee and Glenn.

Vickers Petroleum Service Station was the first gas station in the country with the futuristic “batwing” design, the news release states.

“The feeling evoked by the property reflects its period of significance,” city officials said in the release. “With its bold geometric form, the service station easily embodies the character of Post-War Modernism. Having two historic gas islands in front of the station, the property is easily distinguishable as a service station.”

The building had sat vacant for years before a deadly F4 tornado struck Haysville in 1999. City officials said the original exterior masonry of the gas station was one of the few structures in that area of town left intact. Six people were killed amid the devastating damage in the town, the National Weather Service said.

Vickers Station was remodeled in 2007 and now houses the offices of the Haysville Chamber of Commerce. The city expects to know within the next two months whether the site will be added to the national list of historic places.

A look back at Century II over its nearly half-century existence, as seen by Eagle photographers. (Matt Riedl/The Wichita Eagle)

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