Vickers Service Station

The old Vickers service station on north Main. The hyperbolic paraboloid design of these stations (also known as "batwing") was developed in 1954 by Wichita’s own Vickers Petroleum. The design of this building was supposed to hold up to a tornado and proved true in 1999. As of 2005 this is just one of two remaining of the original 50 built.The building is now owned by the city as used as an office. In January 2009 4 restored gas pumps were added. The pumps, originally from the old Coopers Corner station, were donated to the city and restored.

An excerpt from a 1960 Virgina Record which I believe was some sort of architectural publication…

Something new in filling station design has proved to be a drawing card for motorists at Haysville, Kansas. The soaring lines of the roof are of shell concrete in the form of a hyperbolic paraboloid.

Vickers Service Station Ad.
Above scan courtesy of Cathy Hurley.

Vickers gas station
Vickers after the 1999 tornado. Photo courtesy Russel Pinkston.

3 thoughts on “Vickers Service Station

  1. I am the oldest daughter of John M. Hickman (Architects Associated, Wichita, KS) who was the architect for the parabaloid-style roof of the Vickers gas stations. Where ever I find a reference to this structure, my father is never mentioned. It is usually said that it was developed by the company. I would like my father (deceased) to get the recognition he deserves.

    1. It is my understanding that the roof design was part of a contest that the Vickers Petroleum Company held. Four Friends College students won the contest and split the prize money of $400.00

  2. My dad, who passed away last month, worked for the Vickers Pertoleum Company back in the 50’s and sold many of these stations to service station owners.

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