The whole of Lamoille County is now a pump-your-own zone.
The pumps and tanks are now gone from the county’s only full-service gas station, the Sunoco in the center of Morrisville village, in service for nearly half a century.
Workers from Global Montello Corp., which owns the parcel, located at 26 Congress St., worked through the month of December tearing up the concrete and pulling out the pumps and tanks, and then smoothing it all over again.
Town zoning administrator Todd Thomas said the fuel tank removal allows the discontinuation of the property’s use as a gas station.
Thomas said he has received a lot of calls from people curious about the property, but all he knows is the current owner — a gas company based in Waltham, Mass. — is hoping to sell the property.
Numerous attempts to reach the owners went unanswered.
According to property information from the Morristown offices, the gas station was built in 1974. Global purchased the property in September 2018.
In a social media post in the waning days of December, Thomas said the gas station property is not large enough to hold a more modern gas station with a convenience store. He said this week the property is located in Morrisville’s Central Business Zone, which allows for many uses. Morristown zoning does not allow for any more gas stations to be built anywhere in town.
“I obviously don’t have any idea as to what might end up on the Sunoco property until there is a new property owner in place,” Thomas wrote in an email Monday. “What the new property owner wants to do with the property will drive the development process.”
Betty Whitcavitch, 77, lives in North Hyde Park, but used to make a fill-up from Sunoco part of her routine. When she was interviewed shortly after Thanksgiving for her thoughts on receiving Meals on Wheels, Whitcavitch bemoaned the fact that there is no longer a full-service station in the county.
But, she said, the folks at her nearby River Valley Store on Route 100C have been willing to come out and help when she needs it.
Elliot Adams, an employee at the Maplefields gas station on the south side of Morrisville, near the southern terminus to the Route 100 truck route, said anyone who is handicapped or otherwise unable to pump their own gas can ask for an attendant to do it for them.
Elliot said most pumps have a call button that can summon help, if needed. He said some people have been using the oft-unknown service.
“A few, but not a lot,” he said. “Technically, any gas station will do it for you if you ask.”
Judi Womack, who lives on Silver Ridge Road, said she also used to make regular trips to the Sunoco as part of her spin through town.
“It was very handy for me, because I’d go to the post office, the gas station, and maybe get something from Thompson’s Flour Shop,” she said. “I really appreciated that, especially on sub-zero degree days, although I always felt bad for them for being all bundled up like that.”
She said her 92-year-old friend — Womack declined to share her own age but said she is “quite a bit younger” than 92 — pumps her own gas, so she’s inspired Womack to do the same.
While Womack now pumps her own gas, usually at the Mac’s Citgo at the bottom of her road, she’ll usually plan around the weather.
“When we had our really cold snap, I waited for the temperatures to go back up,” she said.
One other perk many Sunoco frequenters enjoyed was the station’s partnership with Price Chopper, where customers could save money per gallon based on receipts from the grocery store.
Those points have not gone away, Womack reports, but rather can be used in different ways. She recently used 2,300 of her points to get $23 off a recent shopping trip.
Joanne Leonard, from Hyde Park, said her husband Andy’s first job as a child was pumping gas in Cambridge during the summer vacation. His last job, she said, was pumping gas at the Morrisville Sunoco.
“Funny how things come full circle,” Leonard posted online shortly after the gas station closed last month. “We are going to miss all of you. Best wishes and thanks for the memories.”
Womack hopes the employees landed on their feet — an attempt to reach one of them went unanswered — and said it was a rough time for them to lose their jobs during the holidays.
“There were a couple of them who would say to me, ‘Do you want your usual?’ ” she said, noting that included filling up the tank and cleaning her windows. “I think we all got spoiled having them over there.”