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Highway 37 Revisited

What unites Bob Dylan, Greyhound Bus Line and architect Frank Lloyd Wright in a 1966 Chevrolet Impala, which ended up with Per Svensson in Bergshamra in Norrtälje area? Not much, perhaps, but still a lot if you want. by Anders Dahlgren

The US has shrunk. After visiting forty-four states and bought over four hundred cars where the country does not feel big anymore.
A place mentioned on the news or in other contexts today is often known since I visited or passed through the resort in search of a car for a customer here at home in Sweden.

Hibbing in northern Minnesota is such a remote location that appears in different contexts. There is no car is too far away to buy or transport to Sweden, but two hundred mil to the harbor on the east coast Hibbing is a city you might not get to first on a US holiday.

In any case, if you do not have family or a specific case there. But the city is worth a visit anyway, not least for the way there. Or if you want a 1966 Impala. One that got there is Bob Dylan. He was born in Duluth, Minnesota, but grew up in Hibbing. Bob’s classic album and song “Highway 61 Revisited” is inspired by Highway 61. It started in Duluth and took Bob to the American South. Blues from start to finish. During the trip to Hibbing it is easy to assimilate what inspired Bob Dylan and many others to sing American roads. From Minneapolis, the motorway and not much to see from the road, but further north the road goes over in the older wiring and old roadside, abandoned gas stations and shops pass by regularly. Vägromantik 2.0.

In Hibbing was also formed America’s famous bus company Greyhound Bus Line by Swedish immigrant Eric Wickman from Dalarna.

In these parts, many Swedish surname. If you ask those who are younger, they are often a little unsure of its origin because they have amerikaniserats with age and origin have diminished in importance.

For older people, it is different and Sweden still makes itself reminded in many ways in Minnesota through place names, as Falun and Mora, and Swedish name on billboards.

Bergquist Imports is one such place. They have a large wooden horse as a focal point for road and sell at Dala horses, but also Swedish mailboxes crafts and other Scandinavian souvenirs. Above the large wooden horse sways the Swedish and American flags next to each other.

Although the United States does not feel so much longer distances still enormous.
It strikes me almost more in big cities like Chicago and Los Angeles, where a case can take a day to do.
Along the roads will be different, where it is sometimes only funny if there is a long way to the target.
To get to Hibbing joined the flight to Minneapolis and from there went on the trip by car up to Hibbing. It is a drive of over three hours, well worth the trip.

The reason for the visit in Hibbing was a 1966 Chevrolet Impala Carl Eubel, a tyskättad gentleman of the old school, was selling.

Carl had no computer or mobile phone. He told me that his grandmother only spoke German, but he never learned the language itself.

Communication about the purchase of the car went in English, sometimes by his daughter and an agent who advertised the car for Carl in the absence of the computer.

Older sellers usually involve well-maintained cars. It was also Carl’s Impala. There are many ways to engage automotive circles, some want a vehicle to maintain life, others like to renovate them and some want to buy some concern privileges sunny days. Carl’s philosophy was to buy a nice car to potter around with it and use it for a few years and then sell it and buy another car.

Impala were fully consistent with the description, a well-maintained car in original condition.

It was sold new in Minnesota and has passed the northern climate very well. Carl had the original purchase contract and other documentation from when the car was sold new.

The Impala is now fraktad to Per Svensson in Bergshamra, Norrtälje, first south on Minnesota 33, and finally north on E18

Per has had a 1966 Impala SS and some other Americans before. The newly imported Impala is now registering inspected in Sweden without worries.

With newly purchased ekernavkapslar rolls on Swedish roads to car shows and nostalgia stations. Carl stuck to his philosophy and bought the Crown Victoria, he decided to buy as soon as the Impala was sold.

Frank Lloyd Wright then? Where does he fit in?

Wright is known for many beautiful buildings. The Guggenheim Museum in New York is one of the more well known. He also designed a gas station, R.W Lindholm Service Station in Cloquet, MN.

It was built in 1958 and is still in operation at the St. Louis River. In Cloquet enters the highway from Minneapolis in the city street by society, as in the old days. Lindholm Service Station is a landmark when crossing the bridge over the river.

Lindholm was in the oil business and Wright had previously designed a residential building for him and persuaded Lindholm also be tasked to create a modernist gas station.

The gas station was part of the Broadacre Plan, a larger plan that Wright had to build a utopian suburb society for Americans, where the petrol stations would be a central meeting place in the community.

Starting from the petrol station’s form and function would the rest of society developed in the same spirit for the needs that existed in the fifties and Wright’s vision of the future society. In order to facilitate such meetings built a small lounge on top of the pump station roof.

There are also toilets located. It’s open today, but hardly used as a meeting place. But you have a nice view of the station yard and see when the car is fully fueled and service done. Initially wanted Wright to place the tanks in the pump roof, but it was not approved for fire safety.

The station is still running and unlike most contemporary stations offer full service for the car, but no chips or sausages.

Motor oil, the other hand on the shelf in the little cash venue which is designed as a wedge to provide staff with a good view of the station yard.

Phillips 66 logo adorned the long gas station, but not anymore. The building was an architectural masterpiece and is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), which is a building worth preserving for the future. There are voices who argue that it would be better to give up the workshop with operations conducted in the building today and renovate the gas station to its original state.

It’s fun to still be able to refuel in such a place.

The staff told us that the station was “World Famous” and that even the busloads of Chinese tourists to look at the building. Wright’s utopian vision of the American suburban community was never full. One reason perhaps was that Lindholm’s gas station cost more than four times as much to build as compared to other contemporary stations. The characteristic pump roof was used in all cases as a model for the Phillips 66 stations elsewhere and can still be seen in many places in the United States.

In Cloquet is also Gordy’s Hi-Hat Restaurant founded in 1960 by Gordy and Marilyn Lundquist.

It is located across the river to the north viewed from Lindholm Service Station and still is a local meeting place. On Sunday afternoons gathered locals there for lunch or dinner.

So did I on the way back from Hibbing after stopping for a cup of coffee in the morning.

As much as the United States, Gordy’s Hi-Hat is “Famous for our hamburgers since 1960” and worth the journey with.

Frank Lloyd Wright passed away 1959th
Lindholm Service Station in operation, attracting visitors from all over the world.
Wickman Greyhound Bus Line still rolling.
Gordy’s burgers will always be “famous” in Cloquet.
Carl Uebel bought a Ford Crown Victoria as soon as he sold the Impala.
Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” is still played on the radio.
Per Svensson is pleased with his Impala and visit car shows in Norrtälje area and elsewhere in Sweden.

Anders Dahlgren continued to cross the United States in search of old cars.

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