"Watch the little gas station.... In our present gasoline service station you may see a crude beginning to such important advance decentralization; also see the beginning of the future humane establishment we are now calling the free city. Wherever service stations are located naturally these so often ugly and seemingly insignificant features will survive and expand. [The new city]... is all around us in the haphazard making, the apparent forces to the contrary notwithstanding. All about us and no plan. The old order is breaking up"
- Frank Lloyd Wright, 1930
The R.W. Lindholm Service Station in Cloquet, Minnesota was built in 1956. Its design is derived from the Broadacre Standardized Overhead Service Station which was designed as part of the Broadacre City project in the 1930s.
Broadacre City (the free city, or new city referred to above) was Frank Lloyd Wright's Utopian vision of the physical, economic, democratic, and of course architectural landscape of America. Wright proclaimed Broadacres as "the entire country, and predicated on the basis that every woman, man, and child in America is entitled to own an acre of ground as long as they live on it or use it, and every man at least owning his own car... This design presupposes that the city is going to the country, and assumes the country to be a charactaristic four square miles of some future American country where the hills come down to the plains and a river flows down and across the plain" (Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian Houses by John Sergeant). The plan was essentially totally de-centralized American urban landscape. The plan was never implemented anywhere, but it did foreshadow the decentralization that occured after World War II. Studding the landscape of Broadacre were Usonian houses, solitary skyscrapers, and a wide variety of buildings needed to service the community. Mr. Wright and his apprentices designed and included many of these in Broadacre City models that toured the country. This gas station turned out to be the only part of Frank Lloyd Wright's Broadacre designs that made it into the landscape of reality. In deviation from the original Broadacre design, the Lindholm Station has gas pumps on the ground instead of overhead fuel lines. Another feature of the original design is a second-story service waiting area over the attendant's area. This space is also found in the actual building, but is currently not used for this purpose.
This working Phillips 66 service station is open to the public, and is located at the corner of Route 45 and Route 33 in Cloquet, Minnesota (outside of Duluth). In the order of construction of Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings, it was constructed in 1956 after the pre-fab Usonian James B McBean house in Rochester, Minn, and before the Marin County Post Office in California, during a year that saw construction of 18 Wright buildings (the bulk of them Usonian houses), including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. The Lindholm family had previously had Wright design their home "Mäntylä" in 1952, also in Cloquet, Minnesota.