Ghosts of Carson: Eighth Street Arco

There has been a gas station on the corner of Carson and Eighth Streets for at least 60 years. It started out as a Richfield station, then later became an Arco (the “R” stands for Richfield). There used to be many gas stations along Carson Street through the downtown core. Over the decades they have been dwindling away. This Arco was one of only a handful of survivors. But now it is closed too.

Let’s take a journey through its history, then look at the state of the building today.

This photo shows the Richfield Station at 720 S Carson Street in 1961.

This aerial photo from 1966 shows the gas station on the corner, before the Ormsby House was built one block to the north.

From 1986 comes this view of the gas station from a window in the Ormsby House. Note that the gas pumps and the canopy still seem to be close to Eighth Street here.

This photo dated 1988 shows major work being done on the underground tanks. I believe that as part of this work the pumps were moved from the corner to a spot in the middle of the block.

This 4th of July parade from 1988 shows the gas station in the background. In this picture the canopy and pumps look like they are more in the middle of the block.

This photo from 2003 shows the Arco station and some very attractive gas prices.

Another view from a window in the Ormsby House, this one from 2006.

Today the gas pumps are still overshadowed by the Ormsby House, but now both of them are closed and abandoned.

This station and the AM/PM mini mart were always pretty popular, being one of the only gas stations close to downtown. But in January 2019, they suddenly closed for business.

Rumors started flying about why it closed. One of the most persistent rumors was that the Ormsby House had been sold to new owners, and as part of the sale the Arco station had been closed to make way for whatever plans the new owners had for the land. Supposedly it was AM/PM employees spreading this rumor. Carson Now investigated this rumor and got denials from the city, and silence from the AM/PM owners. It’s been five months now since the closure, and there still hasn’t been any news about the Ormsby House or any explanation about why the gas station closed.

It does seem pretty sure that the convenience store building is scheduled to be demolished, though. Over the last couple of weeks there have been law enforcement and fire department training drills taking place in the building. This is usually the last step before demolition. As you can see below, they left the building in a bad state.

We don’t know what is in store next for this old Arco. There is a gas station on the north end of downtown that was boarded up for a while, and it was torn down but it is now being rebuilt. I have a feeling that’s not what’s in the works here. It still could happen, though. Or it could turn out to actually be related to the Ormsby House somehow, and the news is still being kept secret.

We’ll have to keep an eye on it to know exactly what is happening. Until then, let’s look at the property as it appears now, before demolition.


  1. Good evening, when you were talking about that gas station that was boarded up on the North side of town, may I ask if you were talking abou that old chevron Station on the Corner of Highway 395 and East William Street, if so, what is being built there now is going to be a Brand New Jacksons Just like the one On Roop Street down by Walmart, at least thats going to be another gas Station with hopefully LOWER gas prices than what they were when the Chevron Station used to be there, cause Chevron almost always had the highest prices of pretty much all of the gas stations around the city……

    • Yes that’s the one I’m talking about. The Chevron is being rebuilt into Jackson’s. Although the Jackson’s at Fifth and Saliman also sells Chevron gas, so I don’t think there’s any guarantee of lower prices there.

  2. Hey, you should cover the abandoned radio tower very close to this. It’s slotted behind the Ormsby House and is very strange indeed. My friends and I are urban explorers and, well, artists (only on abandoned buildings, of course) and we managed to get into the second story of the building. It’s quite a strange place, with a group of very strange people trying to protect it for VERY strange reasons. Been abandoned for decades and yet someone is desperate to make sure that no art sticks

  3. Scott— #Wow… You presented a great overview of this epic, long time Carson City gas station…
    What were the total sales and total customer numbers? Who knows? The totals, if we could figure them out, must be mind boggling…60 years…How many hundreds of thousands (including 500x repeat customers like myself) have fueled up here, the Arco customers mostly locals, but also tourists, headed out of town, travelling home, and some to never see Carson City again… How many millions and million of gallons of gasoline were sold here at this Arco in 60 years? …
    How many quarts of oil sold? How many thousands of somewhat greasy, yet totally filling, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, corndogs, and oh, those delightful rib sandwiches?
    How many people walked through those doors–on hot summer days, and icy cold winter nights? We even remember doing a photography job for Arco, when they added small Subway type sandwich shops…
    They made good sandwiches right here, to order, for about a year–around 1994 …I remember being weary of the chow at The Carson Station snack bar while watching a ball game, and walking to this Arco for a rib burger… Those were some great times!

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