Fry's Spring Service Station: some forgotten history
Unlike most restaurant openings, the opening of Fry's Spring Station in the old Fry's Springs Service Station involves the preservation of one of Charlottesville architectural treasures. As the old service station–- which was closed and sold last year after a 70-year run servicing cars–- gets a make-over on its way to becoming a gourmet pizza restaurant, one nearby resident noticed a missing historical entry in our coverage.
“The Houchens family wasn’t the sole owners of the station,” says Piedmont Avenue resident Catharine Settle Anas, speaking of the previous owners who operated the station for more than 40 years. “ In the late 1930s and 1940s, my father, Haynes L. Settle, owned and operated the station.”
Mr. Settle, who went on to found Settle Tire and Supply Company, operated Charlottesville’s first tire recapping machine during World War II “when rubber was scarce,” says Anas, who mentions that her father also operated a moving van business out of the station for a time.
“As young children, my sister and I walked to the station almost daily for a soda and a treat,” she says.
“That old station is a part of our history in this amazing town,” says Anas’s daughter, Suzannah Fischer, who owns the boutique O’Suzannah. “My grandfather, grandmother and parents had a huge hand in the making of this city I call home.”
Anas says she walks down Maury Avenue with her grandson to watch what’s happening at the old station and the new Jefferson Scholars complex, which replaced the Eugene Bradbury-designed residence and fraternity house known as Beta House, a demolition that razed the hackles of local preservationists and led to the strengthening of city preservation zoning.
“Although my grandson is excited about all the great digging and construction equipment we see, he is only two and too young to understand my interest in the buildings themselves,” says Anas. “ I have enjoyed watching the nice changes being made to the old station.”
Fry's Spring Station restaurant is scheduled to open in March.