WHITE POST — Drivers approaching the narrow intersection of White Post and Berrys Ferry roads may sense they're in a time warp.
A gas station, one appearing to have been built in the early days of motoring, is just ahead. But if they stop to fill 'er up, they quickly realize they're out of luck.
"Sight glasses" on the old-style fuel pumps show no gas is inside them. Signs on the jelly jar-sized containers, attached to the hose connections, say they must be full of fuel in order for the pumps to work properly.
Also, signs posted directly on the pumps advise the gas supposedly in them contains lead. The federal government has banned the use of leaded gas in automobiles because of potential damage it can do to catalytic converters.
A large, round sign suspended from a tall metal pole near the crossroads reads "Sinclair."
Closer inspection reveals the pumps, the sign and even the paint on the building actually are fresh, despite their bygone appearances.
They're the result of the White Post Village Association refurbishing the property.
In recognition of the many hours of labor that went into the project, as well as the outcome, the Clarke County Historic Preservation Commission recently awarded the association one of its four "certificates of merit" for 2021.
The abandoned, 1930s-era filling station was gifted to the association in 2017. Members decided to restore the building to its original appearance, including its "pebbledash stucco" incorporating multicolored bits of glass from the Fenton Glass factory in West Virginia.
Shrubbery and small trees surround the building, which is painted dark green and white. Top portions of the building's front windows contain red and green stained glass, with clear glass in the center.
Various types of small lights adorn the edge of the roof.
Inside, the walls are white. The floor has a checkerboard pattern of green and white tiles surrounded by a burgundy border.
A warning to vandals: Don't even consider damaging the property. Security cameras are installed all around.
More than $40,000 raised by the village association covered the costs for refurbishing the building and adding the vintage pumps, signs and lighting.
"The project not only brought a unique structure back from near ruin, it also rallied White Post residents who worked together to create a point of pride for their village," said county architectural historian Maral Kalbian.
"I'm glad the community was able to get together ... to see the project through," said Billy Thompson IV, a representative of the village association.
Although the project officially is finished, the association hopes over time to add some "little knick-knack things" to the property, such as lights to illuminate the Sinclair sign at night, Thompson said.
Perhaps the grounds could be used for a small gathering, such as a community picnic, he said. But the building is small and "there's really not a lot of parking" space available, he pointed out, so it can't host a large activity.
"It just dresses up White Post a bit," said Thompson. Maybe it will encourage residents to spruce up their properties, he added.
The preservation commission awarded other certificates of merit for 2021 to:
• Frank Sumner Carey and Luanne T. Carey for the rehabilitation of 8 E. Main St. in Boyce.
Preservationists consider the circa 1900 frame house to be the town’s best example of Queen Anne style.
The Careys completed renovations to the house within a short time after buying it last year. The renovations were done meticulously, yet sensitively, to ensure the home's survival for years to come, Kalbian said.
• Patricia L. Corbat for the rehabilitation of 41 Lanham Lane near Bishop Meade Road and Old Chapel Episcopal Church.
Corbat bought the large, Victorian frame house in 2018. She brought it up to modern standards without affecting its historic integrity, Kalbian said.
The house is on land originally owned by Warner Washington and later David Sowers, who in the 1830s built the nearby Woodley estate. The land was subdivided in the 1880s, when the lot on which the house now stands was established. The lot initially was sold to Isham K. Briggs, who was postmaster of the newly-created Briggs railroad stop and is believed to have built the house, according to Kalbian.
• Dion Bernier for the rehabilitation of 27 Old Waterloo Road in Boyce.
Bernier bought the property on the town's southern edge, including the house that dates to the early 1900s, three years ago and then rehabbed it. Having been abandoned for several years, the house was on the preservation commission's list of historic properties threatened with "demolition by neglect," Kalbian said.
The rehabilitation illustrates how historic buildings often are well-built, in sound condition and should be restored rather than demolished, she said.
An event to honor the recipients is being planned for sometime in July.
“It is an honor to recognize the owners of these properties for their investments in preserving Clarke County's historic-built environment,” said commission Chairwoman Betsy Arnett. “We hope that by recognizing them, we encourage other property owners to preserve and rehabilitate their properties as well."
"Every building that is saved and brought back to useful life strengthens Clarke County’s historic character,” Arnett said.