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Nostalgic Filling Station: A fun roadside stop in Laurens, SC

Step back in time when you stop by Nostalgic Filling Station. The completely restored 1930’s gas station is a must top roadside attraction in Laurens, SC.

For more help planning your trip, check out all of our travel posts about the Old 96 District.

A restored gas station with the words "Nostalgic Filling Station" digitally written on top.

Were you ever driving, saw something, and then immediately said to your passenger, “Did you see that?” and turned around to see it again?

That was my mom and I when we saw the Nostalgic Filling Station in Laurens, SC for the first time.

We were driving on West Main Street, heading to downtown Laurens, when we passed the fully restored old time gas station, immediately did a U-turn, and went back to check out the station. We were hoping to take a photo or two for Instagram, then figured we would Google the station and find out what it was about.

​But lucky was on our side.

Owner Rich Kuhnel noticed us from the window of his home next door and he came out to give us the history of the station and a private tour of it and his collection of antiques.

Also, let me note, Rich had no idea that my mom and I are bloggers. He didn’t know this post was going to exist when he came out to show us around. And I didn’t know it was going to exist when I took that U-turn. He was just very gracious with his time and excited to show us the nostalgic station.

Four scenes from Greenwood, SC with the words "24 Hours In Greenwood, SC" digitally written over them.

The Nostalgic Filling Station is in the Old 96 District in South Carolina, an area made up of five countries. If you’re visiting the station, you’re definitely going to be looking for some other things to do. We suggest stopping by the nearby towns of Greenwood and Edgefield for some great outdoor adventures and fun eateries.

And, if you like ghosts, the nearby (and very haunted) Abbeville is for you.

Nostalgic Filling Station: A fun roadside stop in Laurens, SC

The story behind the Nostalgic Filling Station is as old as time. Boy likes cars. Boy drives cars for a living. Boy buys an old, falling apart gas station and turns it into an amazing roadside stop. Boy holds car shows and sells antiques. But not gas.

Okay fine. It’s not a tale as old as time. But it is the true story of how the Nostalgic Filling Station in Laurens, SC came to be.

Old motor oil cans in the Nostalgic Filling Station in Laurens, SC.

Rich Kuhnel, an experienced auto-mechanic, was a competitive drag racer back in the 1960s (racing in the Super Stock Nationals, amongst other races) — and he has the trophies to prove it. He hung up those car keys a while ago — and then fate intervened. Rich stumbled over an old Texaco station in need of some TLC. It was available for purchase, as was the house on the property next door.

​Honestly, is there anyone better to bring an old gas station back to its former glory besides a mechanic-slash-drag racer? Of course not. So Rich and his wife, Cindy Kuhnel, bought the properties and took almost a decade to painstakingly restore the filling station to the beauty that it is now.

And, wow, it is a beauty.

The station was originally built in 1930 and operated until 1954. And there is stood until about 20 years ago when Rich and Cindy took over. They replaced tile and wood, re-varnished the overhang and outdoor fan blades, and repainted to bring you back in time to a much simpler time.

There are a pair of gas pumps from 1948 in front, bookmarks to a restored oil rack.

A life-sized Elvis and Marilyn Monroe with a jukebox between them in the Nostalgic Filling Station in Laurens, SC.

There’s a retro sign out front boasting groceries, but the would-be convenience store is actually a house to Rich Kuhnel’s antiques. He has everything from Betty Boop figurines to a rotary pay phone (that still works!) to drag race rule books.

Some of it’s for sale; some of it’s for trade; some of it is for nostalgia.

Trophies next to a rat fink figurine in the Nostalgic Filling Station in Laurens, SC.

Nostalgic Station Monthly Classic Car Show

On the first Friday of each month, Nostalgic Filling Station hosts a monthly classic car cruise-in. They’ve been happening, rain or shine, since November 2010.

Newcomers are encouraged to join the regulars who attend every month to show off their classic cars. Hot coffee is always available during the meet ups (just please, don’t spill any on the vintage automobiles) and there’s often a door prize for one lucky attendee.

They happen from 6 pm to 10 pm (well, it “ends when the gab is done” according to the station’s Facebook page), even in cold, rainy weather (which was unfortunately the weather for the car show in March).

The Nostalgic Filling Station in Laurens, SC.

Nostalgic Filling Station: Frequently Asked Questions


1110 West Main St., Laurens, SC


(864) 984-0527

Can you take photos?

The Nostalgic Filling Station does allow photos. The owners are very gracious with their station and their time.

Regular photo shoots are free of charge, but there is a charge for wedding photos. Call the station to find out details.

A teapot shaped gas station in Zillah, Washington.

More Nostalgic Roadside Gas Stations:

Believe it or not, stumbling over nostalgic, roadside gas stations is sort of my thing.

Another I found was the Teapot Dome Service Station in Zillah, Washington. That is a former gas station shaped like a teapot. It was originally created to commemorate (or, perhaps commiserate) the Teapot Dome Scandal, which happened in Teapot, Wyoming.

The station was build in 1922 by Jack Ainsworth, next to his father’s grocery store. It was a working gas station, serving the Yakima Valley, for 84 years until it was shut down. Eventually, the entire thing — dome and pumps — were moved a few miles down the road to where it stands now.

​Although there are pumps there, it’s not a working station anymore, just like the Nostalgic Filling Station. Instead, it’s the Zillah Visitors Center.

Have you been to the Nostalgic Filling Station in Laurens County, South Carolina? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.