In the early 1920s, during the presidency of Harding, our country was subject to the Teapot Dome Scandal, which revolved around oil reserves that were leased without competitive bid. There were two oil fields involved, the Teapot Dome fields in Wyoming and the Elk Hills field in California. The leases were investigated by the Senate and criminal charges were filed. Fines were paid, jail time served and the phrase Teapot Dome became synonymous with political corruption.
Well, in 1922, in the middle of the scandal, Jack Ainsworth, constructed his Teapot Dome Gas Station as a nod to the scandal. It is considered a roadside attraction and is open for visiting on the weekend for limited hours. Originally it was situated on Highway 410 between Zillah and Granger; however in 1978 it was scheduled to be moved to make way for Highway 82. Five days before it was to be moved, a car plowed into this tiny structure. The building, which is now on the historic register, was reconstructed by hand and moved to its current location at 14691 Yakima Valley Highway. It has its own parking lot, a public restroom building and is next to a memorial for fallen firefighters.
I got there about five minutes before it closed (I didn’t even think it might be open!) and got the tour (about 2 minutes). The volunteers were delightful. I read that there is a movement to relocate the building once again to downtown Zillah and to have it function as a visitor’s center. I was glad to have a chance to see the quirky building, though the light made it difficult to capture the image.