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Teapot Dome, Zillah, USA

Can you imagine my astonishment when I found out that it was nothing else but gas station? But I've already designed it in my mind as a kitchen utensils shop.
Built in the shape of a large teapot it is an impressive example of novelty architecture. The Teapot Dome Service Center located in Zillah, Washington, and in 1985 listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Many such novelties were constructed as roadside attractions as the national highway system in the United States expanded during the 1920s and 1930s. The 4.5 m high Teapot was handcrafted by Jack Ainsworth in 1922. He built it inspired by the Harding Administration Teapot Dome corruption Scandal involving President Warren G. Harding and a federal petroleum reserve in Wyoming. The scandal rocked the presidency of Harding and sent Interior Secretary Albert Fall to prison for his role in leasing government oil reserves, including the Teapot Dome Reserve.

The building has a circular frame with a conical roof, sheet metal "handle", and a concrete "spout". The Teapot has become an icon for Zillah because of its historical roots and longevity. The unique building continued operation as a full service gas station for some years. In 1978 the Teapot was hit by a car and it was caved in. It had to be reconstructed which was no easy job because it was all hand-crafted. Fortunately, the building was reconstructed and then moved with the help of the State Dept. of Transportation some 2km to its current site at 14691 Yakima Valley Highway. In 2007, the town of Zillah purchased the station, and is attempting to raise money to keep it operational. Friends of the Teapot Association think it would be beneficial to the building itself as well as to the City to place the Teapot in a downtown location that it would be visible and accessible to the public. There, the Teapot could be watched and cared for in a way that respects the history and artistry for which it represents. It's hoped that this funny looking gas station will lure tourists into the town where they can get information on nearby attractions. Visitors also will be able to read about the Teapot's history- one of the few tangible, present day reminders of the 90-year-old corruption scandal.

By Lilit Khalatyan,