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Paul Verizzo | profile | all galleries >> Kerouac Gas Station in Longmont, CO tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Kerouac Gas Station in Longmont, CO

"By the time he left me off in Longmont, Colorado, I was feeling normal again and had even started telling him about the state of my own travels. He wished me luck.

It was beautiful in Longmont. Under a tremendous old tree was a bed of green lawn-grass belonging to a gas station. I asked the attendant if I could sleep there, and he said sure; so I stretched out a wool shirt, laid my face flat on it, with an elbow out, and with one eye cocked at the snowy Rockies in the hot sun for just a moment. I fell asleep for two delicious hours, the only discomfort being an occasional Colorado ant. And here I am in Colorado! I kept thinking gleefully. Damn! damn! damn! I'm making it! And after a refreshing sleep filled with cobwebby dreams of my past life in the East I got up, washed in the station men's room, and strode off, fit and slick as a fiddle, and got me a rich thick milkshake at the roadhouse to put some freeze in my hot, tormented stomach.

Incidentally, a very beautiful Colorado gal shook me that cream; she was all smiles, too; I was grateful, it made up for last night. I said to myself, Wow! What'll Denver be like!

(Jack catches a fast ride down 287 to Denver.)

He let me off at Larimer Street. I stumbled along with the most wicked grin of joy in the world, among the old bums and beat cowboys of Larimer Street."

Jack Kerouac, On The Road, Ch. 5
Recounting events that probably took place in 1947. He had just hitched down from Cheyenne on 287, it may be reasonably presumed. Longmont was a tiny farm town then, mostly ending on the north side where 9th Avenue is, and a few blocks south of Main Street, about a half mile. The gas stations would have been few, and maybe only the old Johnson's Corner just south of town would have sported grass, as it still sort of does today. It would also enable the view of the Rockies, the trees in town prohibit that line of sight. Where and what was the roadhouse?

There are a few items on the net from the Boulder Weekly and Camera on the gas station. I got these pictures not long before it was to be razed, then it was saved by people who cared. I understand that it is located only a mile or two south of its origin on 287. I should get up there and add some photos.

http://www.boulderweekly.com/archive/053002/newsspin.html (About 1/2 way down.)
http://www.thedailycamera.com/news/talbott/2002/0314ltalb.html

I had, and then lost, a great B&W image of this station when it was relatively new. As a historical quirk, I worked at a different Johnson's Corner near Longmont, Colorado in 1973 during the "gas crisis." http://www.johnsonscorner.com/ Old Joe Johnson was still overseeing the operation. Little did I know.....

A brief Associated Press item about the move: http://listserv.acsu.buffalo.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0307&L=poetics&D=1&O=A&P=1019

If you haven't already done so, please visit my other Beat photo sites:
Denver Beat Tour: http://www.pbase.com/pzo/beat_tour
Neal Cassady Sr. Gravesite: http://www.pbase.com/pzo/ncgravesite
Kerouac's Last House in St. Pete, FL: http://www.pbase.com/pzo/jacks_house

NEW! Check out my Beat Tour using Google Earth or Google maps: http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/showthreaded.php/Cat/0/Number/696545/an/0/page/0#696545
From North.jpg
From North.jpg
From South.jpg
From South.jpg
Rear.jpg
Rear.jpg
Inside looking South.jpg
Inside looking South.jpg
Inside looking North.jpg
Inside looking North.jpg
Inside out to 287.jpg
Inside out to 287.jpg
The Door that Jack walked through.jpg
The Door that Jack walked through.jpg
Johnson also had a truck stop on 285, now I-25.
Johnson also had a truck stop on 285, now I-25.