BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — With its retro gas pumps, nostalgic signage and clean lines, the TrioTech headquarters garners plenty of admirers from the 5,500 motorists who drive down Providence Street in Whitehouse each day.
Now, the redesigned 1930s gas station is receiving national attention, said TrioTech owner Jon Marshall. Last month, the Association of Licensed Architects awarded Toledo architect Matt Pastula with the ALA Award of Merit “in recognition of superior achievement and professional design excellence” for adaptive re-use.
The ALA selected 16 award winners out of 85 submissions this year, and most of the winners were projects in the $30 million and up range, mainly in university settings, Pastula said.
The ALA judges praised Pastula for his adaptive re-use, retaining the historical look and elevation renderings.
“I think the historical aspect helped a lot, and how it’s on a prominent corner downtown,” Pastula said of the project.
He credits Marshall and his wife, Babs, for coming up with the idea to take the old Ted’s Marathon and transform it into a retro-looking gas station on the outside and functional office inside.
“This was a chance to do something big on a topic that I like. I’m into old cars, gas and oil. It’s like collecting but on a larger sale – and it serves a purpose,” Marshall said.
In 2019, the village of Whitehouse purchased the property for $21,000, with the goal of finding an investor to retain at least a portion of the building in a way that would enhance the downtown, said administrator Jordan Daugherty. After choosing Marshall’s proposal, the village sold the property to him at the same price.
The Marshalls worked with Pastula to come up with a look that paid homage to the gas station, and then got to work demolishing and preparing the building for construction by the Dotson Company.
In the process of demolition, the Marshalls found some closed-up doors, old newspapers and a 2-foot non-usable space between the service bay and office.
Digging into an old building always brings an element of intrigue, said Pastula, explaining that retail buildings are often constructed quickly and adapted with each tenant over the decades.
He is currently working on repurposing a Perrysburg 7,500-square-foot machine shop into commercial space and a dojo and has done other adaptive re-uses before.
Two of the biggest challenges in renovating the 1,340-square-foot gas station were matching a tight soffit height with the overhang and creating the correct open office scale in the tall bay area, which houses three work stations and a conference area facing Providence Street, Pastula said.
The renovated space was complete in September 2021 and the public welcomed in for an open house the next month.
According to a photo belonging to Whitehouse Motors’ Bud Bauman, the station was built in 1930 and operated by Carl Yawberg, who reportedly did some bootlegging in the basement of his house behind the station. By the time Chester “Chet” Bauman began operating the station in 1935, prohibition was over. In 1950, John Kos and Robert “Butch” Ziefke operated the station.
It was Ted Lewis who bought the station in 1964 and it was known as Ted’s Marathon for decades, even after his son, Chris, took over.