Dino off duty during Perry Oil Co. improvement work

Workers with Harland Concrete in Perry worked Thursday pouring concrete at the Perry Oil Co. at 1223 Willis Ave.

An original porcelain Sinclair HC Gasoline sign will be mounted on a pole next week.

Dino the Sinclair Oil dinosaur is on a brief hiatus from the old Perry Oil Co. station at the corner of Third and Willis while owner Joe Unger of Perry prepares to raise an original porcelain Sinclair HC sign on the property.

Unger enlisted Harland Concrete of Perry to do some prep work for the sign and wanted to spare Dino any unnecessary anxiety in light of the recent news that some 1 million species will soon join him in extinction. In the interim, Dino’s base of loose stones with pavers has been replaced with a solid concrete pad.

“I needed a base poured to mount the sign pole on,” Unger said, “and since they were going to be pouring concrete, I had them also do a few other areas to clean up the front area and make it easier to keep maintained.”

He said the new sign “will probably be put up next weekend. I need to let the concrete cure for a bit. Dino will be back out front in a day or two.”

Unger has been lovingly and painstakingly restoring the old gas station at 1223 Willis Ave. to its post-war appearance, circa 1945-1960. The business originally opened in 1925 in Perry and closed in 1966, although it served as an auto service center until about 1972 for the Montgomery Ward store next door.

Unger acquired the property in 2017 in order to “pay tribute to the station’s long-forgotten history and save a piece of small town Iowa,” he said, noting that the 87th anniversary of the oil company’s opening on May 21, 1932 — at the Third and Willis location — is just around the corner, so the improvements also mark that milestone.

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