Chris remembers his friend Alvin Frye

Christopher RobinOur Town Arts

Last month I bought two full sets of tires. The experience was fine. I got good service and four round, black tires for each vehicle. However, the experience made me harken back to just three years ago and my memories of dealing with the folks at Alvin Frye’s Fountain City Exxon station.

Mr. Alvin Frye was my mechanic and my friend. Alvin was a World War II and Korean War vet as a corpsman in the U.S. Navy. His service to our country included a nighttime landing on Iwo Jima and memories most of us would never wish to recall.

For many decades he served the people of Fountain City and North Knox County working seven days a week at Fountain City Exxon. Well into his 90s, he said he could not retire because his customers needed him.

For nearly 30 years I knew if my car was in Alvin’s care it would be properly fixed at a fair price. My daughters knew that if their car was making a funny noise, my answer would be, “Take it to Mr. Alvin and see what he says.”

Even if they did not trade there, anyone who traveled North Broadway knew the station across from the Fountain City Lake. The sign was legendary with the opposite side reading “63 YEARS OF SERVICE; NO LOTTERY, NOT A CASINO.”

In late 2016 Alvin had an unfortunate fall and his business soon closed. In its last days I photographed what may be the last true service station in Knox County. While Fountain City lost a servant of the people, Heaven gained a good man.

The image itself is contrary to my normal artistic style. With the reds and blues saturated to stand out, I then gave the image a painterly look. I hope my work brings a smile of remembrance to many North Knoxville friends.

Photographer Chris and painter Robin Rohwer each week strive to share a painting or photograph that captured their interest in hopes that it will also capture yours. They have a small studio and gallery in the Emporium Center in downtown Knoxville where you can stop and see their work. Check ahead to see when they will be there, as they may be off looking for more inspiration. Their website is Email them at [email protected]. If a particular piece interests you for your home or office, please contact them. All works are copyright protected.

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