Academic journal article Southeastern Geographer

Gasoline Station Morphology on Virginia's Eastern Shore

Academic journal article Southeastern Geographer

Gasoline Station Morphology on Virginia's Eastern Shore

Article excerpt

Gasoline stations are a ubiquitous component of the modern built environment. Gasoline stations are largely included within people's daily spatial routines given the nature of modern transportation, particularly in mobile societies like the United States, and represent a material infrastructure that underlies and facilitates daily economic activities. As such, gasoline stations are generally relegated to the background of contemporary cultural landscapes because the action of obtaining gasoline for one's vehicle has become such a routine and mundane activity that it is hardly given any forethought. Yet, the changing form and function of gasoline stations (hence the term "morphology") along with changing technologies in transportation and transportation infrastructure has rendered many gasoline stations obsolete. Utilizing nearest neighbor analysis, this paper identifies and documents changing spatial patterns and functions of gasoline station locations throughout Virginia's Eastern Shore by decade and documents changing cultural and economic uses of recycled gasoline stations.

KEY WORDS: Retail location, gasoline stations, vernacular landscapes, Virginia, Virginia Eastern Shore

Las estaciones de gasolina son un componente ubicuo del medio ambiente moderno construido. Las estaciones de gasolina estan en gran parte incluidas en las rutinas diarias espaciales de las personas, dada la naturaleza de los medias de transporte modernos, sobre todo en los sociedades moviles, como los Estudos Unidos, y representan una infraestructura material que sirve de base y facilita las actividades economicas diarias. Por lo tanto, las estaciones de gasolina estan generalmente relegadas a un segundo plano en los paisajes culturales contemporaneos porque la accion de obtener gasolina para nuestros vehiculos se ha convertido en una actividad rutinaria y mundana que casi nunca se toma en consideracion. Sin embargo, el cambio de forma y funcion de las estaciones de gasolina (de ahi el termino "morfologia") junto con los cambios tecnologicos en el transporte y la infraestructura de transporte ban hecho obsoletas muchas estaciones de gasolina. Utilizando analisis de cercania de vecindario, este trabajo identifica y documenta el cambio de patrones espaciales y funciones de la ubicacion de las estaciones de gasolina en toda la costa este de Virginia, pot decadas, y documenta los cambios de usos culturales y economicos de las estaciones recicladas de gasolina.

PALABRAS CLAVE: localizacion de venta al detal, estaciones de gasolina, paisajes vernaculares, Virginia, costa este de Virginia

INTRODUCTION

Located on the southern end of the nearly 6,000 square mile (15,540 [km.sup.2]) Delmarva Peninsula, the Eastern Shore of Virginia is geographically isolated from the remainder of the state (Figure 1). Comprised of two counties, Accomack to the north and Northampton to the south, the Eastern Shore is physically separated from the Virginia mainland by the Chesapeake Bay, which is less than 14 miles (22 km) at its narrowest point between Northampton County to the east and Mathews County to the west, and more than 30 miles (48 km) at its widest between Accomack County to the east and Northumberland County to the west. Consequently, spatial interaction between Virginia's Eastern Shore and the Virginia mainland was mostly limited to water traffic until the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, spanning 17.6 miles (28.3 km) across the mouth of the bay and linking the City of Norfolk with the southern tip of the Delmarva Peninsula, opened in 1964. Before then, ferries shuttled passengers and vehicles between Norfolk and the town of Cape Charles, located at the southwestern end of Delmarva. In 1884, a rail line was completed that ran from Philadelphia, PA, to Cape Charles. Barges and ferries linked the railroad at Cape Charles with the rail yards in Norfolk. Despite the railroad and completion of the bridge-tunnel eighty years later, spatial interaction between Virginia's Eastern Shore and the Virginia mainland remains relatively cumbersome and limited. …

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